Monday, May 27, 2013

Not quite an eighth wonder! The Grounds of Alexandria...

Whilst waiting for brunch!
It was a wonders of the world type of weekend. Not quite the Hanging Gardens of Babylon at the Vivid Festival or the Great Library of Alexandria but the Groundsof Alexandria!

Ms Tagalong and Mr Ideasman were exploring Sydney oohing and aahing at the spectacularly bright harbour and Opera House. Amazing lightshows aside, the cafe called the Grounds of Alexandria was just up their street so to speak!

It was busy. Very busy. So be prepared for at least an hour's wait and the arranged brunch just squeaked in before they stopped serving and changed to a lunch menu.

It's a great space; appealing to the young with a cute Kevin Bacon, although Ms Tagalong is not sure the owners of the grubbly little hands extended to pat him realised that one day he would end up on their morning BLT!
The young Kevin Bacon!

Fresh produce, free range eggs, surely not laid by the token chickens in their run, they would have had to lay non-stop to fulfil the breakfast and brunch demands of possibly 800 people. Jodi at the desk was not sure how many they had served. She rifled through the crossed out names. 'Well it's 9 pages of 20 groups per page,' she said, not confidently it must be added.

And of course there were another 800 milling around for lunch! Whilst waiting you can wander around the garden, purchase coffees, lemonade, pastries, donuts and barbequed beef. Some groups decided this was best and gave up on the waiting for a table lark and chowed down partly hidden in the green alcoves. Verdant herbs are used for the kitchen but Ms Tagalong feels that this is a more a nod to self-sufficiency than a real attempt for sustainability.

That apart, the atmosphere is buzzing, the food good and the service brusque and efficient.

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Not a Facebook party!

Keeping warm!

It wasn't a real Facebook party. You know, one of those that when you announce it on Facebook it goes viral. We didn't need beefy, sunglassed security at the gate asking ,'Do you know these people?' or 'What's your relationship to Ms Mova?'

In fact it was a quiet affair of about 20 people. Wait, did Ms Tagalong say 'quiet?' Quiet it wasn't. The
The choirmaster up to his old tricks!
ukeleles were strumming, the people singing and what better song to begin with for the departing local choirmaster and his lovely voice companion but the old Abba classic,Thank you for the Music.

Miss Smiles had been round the day before rehearsing with Mr Ideasman.
'The chorus is great,' she said, 'but you don't want to know about the rest of the song.' She mentioned something about dumb blondes or words to that effect so Ms Tagalong had to agree the chorus would probably be best.

In fact it might have been better to have just kept to this song for when Ms Mova's brother lent his baritone? to his favourite song, Blue Moon, the audience laughed wildly.

The pizza oven was ablazing. The 44 gallon drum was ablazing too to keep all warm on this cold Autumn night. Red read out a poem she had penned for the occasion to oohs and aahs and tears in the eye. George ate a whole pizza base when no-one was looking. Not a gluttonous invitee but an attending labrador! 

Conversation never ceased between the old and the new, the remaining and the departing.

'I'm sure someone replaces our young chickens with old ones,' Ms Mova confided. A conspiracy theory ensued.

'Not a velvet underground, but a feathered one,' quipped Ms Tagalong.

'I think it's a cocktail one. Remember the cockerel with the chopped tail dropped over the fence last year? Just so we didn't notice he was an interloper. I think the crowing at four am was a bit of a giveaway!'
Our youngest gardener!

All giggled, laughed and drank champagne. Anyone would think we were glad to say goodbye to these dear friends and stalwart gardeners who have turned up through thick and thin. Even if the lovely companion couldn't remember whether she had come on her bicycle or not! We thank them again for all their support and wish them well in community gardens new down Melbourne way.

All the gardeners are sorry to lose you both but it was a great excuse for a garden party, just not a Facebook party!

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Glean, gleaner and gleaning

Midgimberries and cherry guava
'Gleaner, Gleaner,' the skinny barefoot boys would call as they dodged the cars at the traffic lights. Another world, another time and they weren't shouting at Ms Tagalong for celebrating the joys of gleaning produce but selling The Gleaner the daily Jamaican newspaper. So what's the difference, gleaning bits of news or bits of fruit and produce?

So who goes gleaning? And what does it really mean? The Oxford dictionary states that the historical meaning is to gather (leftover grain) after a harvest:(as noun gleaning)the conditions of farm workers in the 1890s made gleaning essential. Ms Tagalong feels that the conditions of people in the 21st century may make it a necessity again.

So much food, so much wastage. Where do we start? Look around your neighbourhood. There's a macadamia tree dropping its little packages of protein right under your feet. There's a citrus tree and over there a mulberry tree. And is that an olive tree littering the street with olives ready for curing?

Up the mid-North coast there was bush tucker everywhere, midgimberries, cherry guavas, native grapes to name a few that Ms Tagalong spotted, popped into a bag and sampled later. Speckled midgimberries with their slightly aniseed taste were great fresh on her bowl of muesli. Cherry guavas, halved and scooped out with a spoon were a great morning snack.

Davidson plums with their smoky bloom don't taste so good straight off the tree but try stewing them with brown sugar for a wonderful tart taste. Perhaps even use Kylie Kwong's recipe and serve them with duck (not locally caught on Throsby Creek!) 

So Ms Tagalong thinks perhaps we need a tree register of our neighbourhood, a plan of fruit and nuts which usually go begging, mouldering or smashing. Supplement the lovely fresh herbs and plants you get from your community garden with some of these little wonders! 
Salad courtesy of Northbank Community Garden

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.