GROW FOOD slow food Have your garden and eat it too. A practical guide to organic gardening in the sub-tropics with step-by-step instructions and delicious seasonal recipes. Come with me too on some of my travels in Australia, Europe, Asia and beyond.
My neighbours’ garden
Wonderful use of the climber Pyrostegia venusta Flame Vine

I have lovely neighbours with a lovely garden and I was going to cook for them on Friday night.  JUST SLIGHT PRESSURE – she is Belinda Jeffery the cook book writer, chef and television food presenter. I shouldn’t really worry because she and Clive are all round lovelies and she always tells me she would be happy if someone made her a boiled egg.

We had decided on a Middle Eastern theme and I had tried a wonderful recipe for lamb shanks with figs so decided on that as the main course.  I just had the entree to sort out.  We were doing that sensible thing of sharing the load so Belinda was doing the vegies and desert.  I have been sharing meals like this with friends for years.  It was a particularly good idea when we had three small children and found it difficult to get out and expensive to keep paying for a babysitter.  I remember some wonderful dinners, shared with friends, and the added delight of trying other people’s cooking.

Continuing on with the roast red pepper theme of a couple of weeks ago, I came across this Middle Eastern dip recipe.  It’s wonderful sweet nuttiness with a little kick from the pomegranate and chilli is positively addictive.  I have tried to find out its origin and variously seen it referred to as Syrian, Moroccan, Turkish and Palestinian – cuisine from the Levant seems to cover all of those – anyway, it sounds romantic.  It was a big hit and everyone who has tried it wants the recipe – always a good sign.

2 large roasted red capsicum or 4 small (see previous post on how to cook and prepare these)
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup stale sourdough breadcrumbs
1 large clove very fresh garlic, crushed
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
sea salt to taste
Blend all the ingredients to a coarse paste.  Adjust seasoning.
Best served with flatbread or a Turkish style bread

NOTE:  As with all simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients reflects on the end result.  Only use the freshest and the best.

Byron Bay
Well, I was wrong about the weather.  Our normally wet Easter didn’t eventuate and this is what we had instead.  Four days of stunning weather; clear blue skies, no howling winds, perfect temperature (about 28oC), clear night skies with a full moon and top body surfing waves – to be savoured as it doesn’t happen very often.  Happy days!