Food & Travel // Summer Blogging Escape To Tennessee

By Lean Timms

My husband and I quite often find ourselves in the mountains. It's become a lot like a second home. Sometimes Tennessee, other times North Carolina, most times we will be camping and quite often rock climbing is involved. We are, as it would seem, nature people. The woods provide a certain placidity vital to our souls. For him it is the challenge and the rocky surfaces, for me it is the green and the solitude I find there.  Often, it is just more simple. And we like that. 

The canopy of the woods in the mountains in late August provide an escape from the heat that lays still on the flat Floridian ground, where we live. It's nice to find that escape. Even still, late summer in Tennessee isn't always all that forgiving. And although the foliage provides the shade, the sweat still drips, the mosquitoes still bite and the breeze quietly tends to snuff out. However, the feeling of being among that, as the season intended and without the air conditioning, somehow becomes cleansing. The uncultivated surrounds and the leaving behind of any sort of normal routine make my body relish the simplicity. I feel happier, healthier and more rested.  

At one of our most frequented spots, there is a trail that leads down a rocky path to the river where a swinging bridge hangs. The river flows from the waterfall and like nothing else, we swim. The water is cold. Icy even. The late afternoon heat is perfect for that. It's also perfect for a simple sandwich snack for his tattered climbing hands to hold and my hungry hiking tummy to fill up on. 

I would happily spend any day by a tree lined swimming hole. No matter how icy the water or how hot the air. It leaves us refreshed of the heat and refreshed of complexities. We revive our sense of wonder at the world, and the best bit, we relish in the simplicity of summer life. 

Heirloom Tomato Relish

  • 550 gm heirloom tomatoes (about 4), coarsely chopped
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) white wine vinegar
  • 100 gm (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 apple, coarsely chopped
  • 125 gm currants
  • 25 gm fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • finely grated rind of 2 unwaxed lemons

Some people like to peel their tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water and peeling them once they are cool. But if you don't mind a more textured relish, skins and all, don't worry about it. Just throw them in, as is.
Process ingredients in a food processor to a coarse paste. Transfer to a large saucepan, bring to a gentle boil over high heat, stiring to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar has disolved, reduce heat to medium low and stir occasionally until thick (about 1 hour). Set aside to cool. Place in Jar, refrigerate and use within 2 weeks. 

 A Simple Summer Sandwich

  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • rocket (arugula)
  • heirloom tomato relish
  • sourdough baguette 

Combine slices of cheddar, a hand full of rocket and a good spread of relish onto a sourdough baguette. Cut into individual size pieces. Wrap in brown baking parchment, tie up with string and bundle together in a piece of square fabric or a bento bag. Enjoy.

Lean Timms is an Australian photographer living in Jacksonvile, Florida. You can find her documenting her food, travel and photography journey at Lean & Meadow.