Finally, after a week of cleaning and recovery, and also a week of far too much uni work, I have managed to pluck up the energy to write this post. The first ever Balcony Garden Sunday Roast was held over a week ago. It was held in lieu of another balcony garden dinner party, because the usual suspects couldn't find a single weekend evening free in common! Instead it turned into a Sunday roast, beef, yorkshire puddings (just like I used to make when I worked in the kitchens of English pubs) and all the trimmings, plus entree and dessert, all using at least one element from the balcony garden. While the balcony is big enough to host many plants, it is not an ersatz dairy and as such the cattle portion had to be obtained from the Vic markets. So too the cheese for the cheese platter was obtained at the markest, as unlike Gavin at The Greening of Gavin who seems to be a homemade cheesemaker extraordinaire, I am not quite set up to make my own cheese (but boy oh boy would I love to.) Indeed it is probably best to start the post with a look at the cheese platter. Normally something to end a dinner party this time it took the place of pre-dinner/lunch nibbles.
The garden element was multi-coloured carrot sticks taken from the pile pictured later in this post (the other half went into the salad.) So too a little sprig of indoor-grown basil added to the plate. This was to have homemade gluten free crakcers with it, which I lovingly cooked earlier in the week, adapting a recipe from here.
Probably in part due to my makeshirt wine bottle rolling pin, and the substitution of a gluten free flour to the mix difficulties arose. Alas the crackers were liable to break a tooth they were so hard, and provided a novelty factor for the day but served no real nutritional purpose. (note they were made with potato flour and the balcony garden element was rosemary)
The entree was a duo of soups. One was a potato, leek and bacon soup utlising leeks from the garden.
The other was a sweet potato, coriander, chilli and coconut cream number, which took chillis from the garden (the coriander, though also grown of the balcony garden, was taken from my cousin's garden as she had a ridiculous surplus!) It was all served with a steaming hot, homemade foccacia, same recipe as this one, just minus the leeks and bacon.
Both soups were tasty and some members of the dinner party with less dietary restrictions decided to sample a bowl of each. Then came the main course of roast beef, yorkshire puddings, roasted potatoes (four varieties), jerusalem artichokes and mushrooms, steamed snow peas, broccoli, beet leaves and silverbeet and a salad of greens, tomatoes and carrots. All steamed greens and salad elements were balcony garden grown.
The final piece-de-resistance alas comes with no photos of the final product. I blame wine induced forgetfulness. It was a deconstruction of a lemon meringue pie. I made meringue casings, and in them placed homemade lemon curd icecream (which used lemons from the balcony garden) on top of which was to be placed a nut crumble. I burned the nut crumbled in my view so declined from serving it, however most disagreed and ate it straight from the cooking dish! Raspberry sauce I got at christmas topped this little number off and it was enjoyed by all.
All in all it was a magical day. Somehow the intended afternoon meal went well into the night, with most guests staying until 9pm!!! I suspect the 12 bottles of wine and apple wine and coffee cocktail I crazily made helped in this regard. Thanks to everyone who came, and particular thanks to those who helped with the dishes, it made the hungover Monday cleanup that much easier! I will definitely have another balcony garden function once the next harvest comes in. Until then I am enjoying the remaining greens and carrots all by myself!
first day of spring
12 hours ago