The Permaculture Project Inspiration

This is the story of how it all started. I went across the world to the Nevada desert to meet a guy named John who lived one suburb away from my home. We bonded over a game of Giant Jenga at Burning Man and upon our return back to Brisbane I had the opportunity to head out to his permaculture farm for a party beneath the misty peak of Mt. Warning.

I decided to stay an extra night and recover from the party and he asked if I’d assist in shelling a garbage bag full of pigeon pea. He had harvested them from a couple of plants he’d had growing with the aim to use the seed to scatter over his 100 acres and thus increase the amount of nitrogen fixing vegetation available to his dirt.


I naturally said yes and we began the tedious process of emancipating thousands of little brown peas from their pods while chatting away and staring off into the beautiful surroundings.

Saving Pigeon Pea Seeds
After a couple of hours we had a bowl full of the pigeon pea when I mentioned that they look somewhat familiar. John said “You might know them as Toor Dahl”. I took a millisecond to digest the info before countering with a “Seeing as you actually grew this, why aren’t we eating some? ”

Bowl of Pigeon Peas aka Toor Dahl
Next thing we had taken out a cup full and started getting excited about the ensuing food project. I mentioned that a basic dhal needed turmeric powder which we didn’t have. John then takes off running into the yard and starts digging out a plant, returning with a fresh turmeric root as well as a galangal root (which we used in lieu of ginger).

Galangal rhizome (root).

Feasting off self produced items on a whim is basically what got me excited about setting up a permaculture setup at my inner city property. Especially after seeing the mini permaculture setup John had done with his city residence.

The ingredients most of which was just pulled from the garden.  (Red Chilli / Onion / Curry Leaf / Galangal /Garlic / Turmeric)

Frying the curry leaf in oil.

Adding the onions and chilli

Once the onions are translucent and a few browning add the rest of the flavourings.

Fry on low heat till the flavours start to meld.

Cooking Garden Harvest of Pigeon Pea aka Toor Dahl

Add the pigeon pea.

Cooking Garden Harvest of Pigeon Pea aka Toor Dahl

These had a lot of rainwater in the bowl as they had been washed to remove any dust from the shelling process.

Cooking Garden Harvest of Pigeon Pea aka Toor Dahl

Scrape any sticky bits of the bottom.

Garden Harvest of Pigeon Pea aka Toor Dahl

Added a couple of cups of rainwater in to begin cooking the pigeon pea.

Garden Harvest of Pigeon Pea aka Toor Dahl

In the meantime I made up some fried garlic and onion rice.

Fried Garlic and Onion Rice

We cooked a butterflied leg of lamb on the Chiminea that you can see in the background of the photo up top of John separating peas from pods. We shoveled hot coals from the fire pit into the Chiminea with a grill we’d rigged up between the top and bottom sections.

Garlic Infused Butterflied Lamb cooked on Coals in the Chiminea
The assembled meal.

Garlic Infused Butterflied Lamb cooked on Coals in the Chiminea

Close up of the cooked pigeon pea and rice.

Feasting On Pigeon Pea

Of course red wine was needed to accompany the meal.

Lentils, Rice and Lamb Dinner


The End. But also the beginning of something new and what a way to start!