Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Edible Balcony - potato crop

Daryl the building concierge has been looking after the balcony while we have been away (aren't I lucky?)
And I've come home to a fabulous crop of potatoes, beetroot and runner beans.

The beans are a heirloom mix of purple, striped and green

My two potato bags yielded about 4 kgs of desiree, symphonia, banana and royal blue. I roasted them up with some sea salt, rosemary and a little duck fat (it was a celebration afterall).
Easily the most delicious spuds I've tasted and definitely the freshest.
Given how easy they were to grow with no pest problems and the high yield, I'll be putting in several bags again next year.

All the other balcony tenants are faring well with the recent rain and summer burst.

It's a little late but I'm putting in some tomatoes and basil tomorrow. They should be ready to harvest at the end of January.

The nasturtiums are loving the sun...

And some lemon fruit are appearing..

The garlic should be ready in time for Christmas dinner.
As I sit back in my deckchair sipping a G&T, and munching on a crispy roast potato I realise an edible balcony certainly has its rewards.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New York - Eataly

You know how I love a good food emporium.... well Eataly on Fifth Avenue in New York left me gasping 
O. M. G !!! ...

It opened in October this year and is the brainchild of US super chefs Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, her son and Mario's restaurant partner Joe Bastianich - and Oscar Farinetti who started the original Eataly in Turin Italy.

This is a mega food temple without peer..

4,500 square metres of the best local and imported Italian produce.

Some of the produce is direct from Brooklyn Grange a rooftop farm in Queens.

There is a vegetable bar - ' The Vegetable Butcher - that will peel and prepare your produce for you. Think pesky artichokes or the peel on pumpkins...

The variety of citrus is incredible including Buddha Fingers

While it is largely an Italian-focussed complex the emphasis is on local produce grown organically

...and yes given this is Manhattan Fifth Avenue everything is styled Hollywood - 'Mr de Mille I'm ready for my close-up'

ga -ga blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano

fresh, salty, crumbling shards

a salumi counter...

And ten different eateries all featuring the produce

La Brea Bakery breads and focaccias wood-fired on site.

home-made pasta..

.. that can be made to order..

An indulgent supply of fresh black and white truffles...

milk in old-fashioned bottles with cream on the top

A pasticceria run by Italian pastry chef Luca Montersino

Saucy is too overwhelmed. I've been wondering around mouth agape for two hours now. I may have to make a pit stop here to recover...

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

New York - Central Park in Fall

We've made a dash to New York for work and a little play....

A glorious burst of fall weather has to be enjoyed with a stroll through Central Park.

... and maybe a little row

... a riot of autumnal colour...

...on patrol

picture perfect...

..this bridge dates back to the 1890s...

Central Park covers about 3 1/2 square kilometres...

Now that crime in the park has dropped dramatically, 27 million joggers, skateboarders, families and visitors use the park each year.

 On weekends and after 7pm during the week the park is closed to traffic..

Its about the only place in New York to escape the humdrum..

The Park's resident squirrels are like nimble rats able to bouce from trees to benches in seconds if they spy a feed

Most of the squirrel are Eastern-grey squirrels which are native to North America

Now this is my sort of garden

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Video of first beans

Well folks a technological achievement to rival man's first walk on the moon; I've just uploaded the first video onto Saucy Onion with directing inspiration from James Cameron.

These are my first beans... heirloom long purple snake beans. The vines have taken a battering from the spring electrical storms but have still managed to flower and fruit on their climbing poles. No doubt my yields will be down. I've moved them into a more sheltered position on the balcony to hopefully encourage more fruiting

Monday, October 25, 2010

Edible Balcony - Spring deluge

What about all this rain? The rain storms were so heavy on the weekend in Sydney that most of the normally protected plants on the balcony were soaked and I didn't need to water.

The rain combined with the burst of warm weather last week has been a boon for gardeners. I think my plants think they're on a Club Med resort. Pina Colada anyone?

They've lushed up very nicely.

I've put in some beans against the west facing wall

The sorrel, feverfew, warrigal greens, Vietnamese mint, kale and a little spanish sage are jumping back into life on the vertical wall

My four varieties of potatoes are really starting to sprawl now. The potatoes should be ready to harvest in three weeks.

And the garlic will be ready when most of the leaves start to yellow - in about 4 weeks' time

All in all the Edible Balcony tenants are very happy little chappies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sydney - Berta Restaurant

This place is too cool for skool. berta restaurant is simply sizzling with hotness. As the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide's best new restaurant of the year it's no surprise by 6.30pm on a Friday night it's already heaving at the seams.

This tiny industrial space overlooks a rough alley and a razor-wired carpark..... the sort of edgy chic you usually only find in Melbourne - or Beirut.

The blackboard menu has dishes pared down to their three essential ingredients.

We start with the clams, mussels and fennel

This is done in a light tomato broth with spinach and flecks of garlic. Very morish, robust flavours.

Dishes are designed to share. Next to come out on a wooden serving board are crunchy cubes of polenta topped with a chilli salsa verde and pickled fennel.

Ocean trout, radish and pickled jerusalem artichoke

Next are kipler potatoes with garlic and rosemary.

Crunchy skins and fluffy insides..

preparing the way for the piece de resistance.... roast suckling pig and white beans 

my arteries are hardening in anticipation

deceptively simple food with big flavour

Our biggest gripe is the noise level. Animation and buzz are one thing in a happening eatery on a busy night but deafening cacophony is not a good accompaniement to great food. A little more noise reduction panelling and we'll be coming back more often.