I'd just like to know then what the Khuzdul produce for food. What species, what are these species like etc.
Ah, now I understand. Okay, this is me extemporaneously pulling stuff out of my butt...
First and foremost, I make the assumption that Khuzdul have a significantly slower metabolism than humans, and have commensurately smaller dietary intake requirements. I haven't really quantified how much smaller this requirement is, but long-lived organisms tend to have slower metabolisms than short-lived organisms. Given that dwarves life-spans are so long, it seemed natural to me that their metabolisms would be somewhat slower than that of humans.
So, on to feeding Azadmere.
To start with, I assume that some portion of the Jarin population of the city of Azadmere (or its nearby surroundings) is engaged in the shepherding of hardy mountain goats (much like the bighorn sheep of the American Rockies or the moutain goats of the Himalayas). These creatures are hardy, sure-footed, and can graze areas that other animals are usually unable to reach, areas that require no cultivation. They eat low-lying needleleaf scrub, grazing at higher altitudes during the summer and lower altitudes during the winter. In this way, terrain that might otherwise be considered as "waste" becomes productive. These animals provide meat, milk, cheese, wool, and hides.
At slightly lower altitudes in the valley, Highland cattle are herded as well. These animals are typically smaller than "normal" cattle, but are possessed of very long hair which helps them weather the harsher mountain winters. Subsisting primarily on grasses, the highland cattle are kept predominantly to alpine meadows. Like the mountain goats, these animals also provide meat, milk, cheese, and hides, and their long, coarse hair is used to make rope and cordage.
Herding either of these creatures is not terribly labor intensive, though the spring shearing is probably a major undertaking. In some areas, the animals are left to roam more or less freely, though shepherds must be on constant vigilance that the herd does not wander too far from settled areas and become a temptation to Gargun.
But the true measure of the Khuzan diet comes not above but from below. Within the mountain, there are numerous traditional Khuzan food sources:
Khuzan subterranean agriculture differs greatly from what humans are used to. These operations are feats of engineering and technical achievement that require very little in the way of manpower to maintain. Masters of masonry, Khuzan engineers long ago learned how to design sewer systems and running water to carry waste away from living areas. This waste is passed through a series of rough-walled, stepped, inverted conical cisterns. Once a cistern is full, grated drains in the floor allow the liquid to be removed and the cistern is left to dry for a season. After the waste dries, the cistern is seeded with mushroom caps (more on varieties later), and in a short time the stepped surface is covered with mushrooms. Once mature, they are harvested and the cistern is seeded again. Every three "seasons," clean water is diverted to the cistern and it is washed with lime, whereupon the process of filling it with waste begins again. Due to the sophisticated engineering of the drains and sewers, filling, emptying, seeding, and cleaning each cistern is as easy as opening or closing a valve and dumping buckets of mushroom caps or lime as appropriate through a covering in the ceiling of the cistern.
As for the varieties of mushroom harvested in this way, there are several. Muhlel is a short, round, grey-capped mushroom found in cool, damp caves. Small quantities of fresh water are allowed to seep into cisterns growing this type of mushroom. It is used primarily in stews and stuffings.
Kharvot is a tall, skinny, woody, white-stalked mushroom with dark green caps. It grows best in warmer, drier conditions, and cisterns used to grow this variety of mushroom are typically those near sources of mild geothermal heat. Kharvot is quite often served pickled in brine.
In addition to the cistern systems, there are chambers where wood is sawn into planks, brought into damp caves and left to sit. Akhulal is a variety of lichen that growns on these timbers. Each "season," the timbers are scraped and the lichen pulp dried in kilns. It is then ground in mills and used to make Khuzlem, a variety of somewhat bland bread. Its greyish color doesn't seem to bother the Khuzdul, but human guests liken it to consuming bread made from ash.
Growing "wild" in various caves and passages, Dhuleth is a variety of fast-growing slime mold that is found in places where the calcite rock is damp from downward-seeping groundwater. Tannins and other dissolved bio-matter from decomposing needleleaf scrub on the mountain's surface percolate down through the rock carried on groundwater. The mold subsists on this biomatter, growing in layers that are scraped from the rock, dried, powdered, seasoned, and made into a sort of pudding that is a unique treat of the Khuzan diet. The mold comes in two varieties, a reddish mold that is somewhat nutty tasting and a rarer gray-black mold that has an extremely bitter flavor. It is considered a delicacy amongst the Khuzdul and largely unpalatable by the human inhabitants of the city.
In areas where tunnels have reached near the surface, Hakkut are harvested. Hakkut are the young taproot shoots of evergreen trees. Care must be taken not to prune them back too far lest it kill the tree above. Careful yearly management, however, will keep the trees healthy and productive. Hakkut are typically served raw and thinly sliced.
Additionally Hakkut-Mulkh are small grubs that occasionally infest the roots. When found, these grubs are harvested assiduously to ensure the health of the trees. They are then baked and used a garnish. They are nutty both in flavor and consistency, and once baked are difficult to identify. More than one visitor to the city has praised the taste of Hakkut-Mulkh only to become ill upon learning what they truly are.
In addition to agriculture, the Khuzdul also practice aquaculture. In areas where there are significant underground streams, shallow pools and silt-pans are built. These shallow pools play host to Keppie, which are a variety of blind, subterranean smelt. The silt-pans are host to Hukhash, a nearly translucent subterranean crawfish. Both Keppie and Hukhash subsist on thermo-synthetic phyto-plankton, who in turn subsist on dissolved organic matter brought into the caves by groundwater.
Some portion of the Keppie catch is in turn fed to Agashval, a completely eyeless subterranean eel, kept in larger ponds.
The rarest of Khuzan aquatic delicacies, however, is the common salmon, some of which make their spawning runs far up subterranean rivers and streams. Great care is taken to protect this resource from overfishing, but during the yearly salmon run significant stocks of fish are laid in and packed in salt to last the rest of the year.
In order to aid in the fertility of many of their agricultural or aquacultural endeavors, the Khuzdul long ago discovered the utility of bat guano, which is used as a fertilizer in a number of applications. In addition to bat guano, many Khuzan cities maintain rookeries, as ravens and crows are often kept as pets. These rookeries are another source of rich fertilizer, though more limited in scope. When not simply allowed to come and go as they please, the corvids are often fed table scraps as carrion.
A note on seasonings: Khuzan cooks make use of all manner of mountainous surface dwelling herbs to season their food, as well as a few rare, subterranean mosses or lichens as well. Thyme, juniper, mint, and dandelion (in season) are used to bring a wider variety of flavors to the repast. Additionally, small quantites of rock-salt and even calcite talc are sometimes sprinkled over the food. This may be the source of the myths that the Khuzdul subsist by eating stone.