Monday, April 26, 2010

Two Perfect Green Courtyards and a Lemongrass Marinade

We do not have this kind of garden, but one domestic fantasy I have had is to live in a two or three up one across kind of house, with a little potted brick walled back garden.  To me, in Australia, this means a Victorian terrace, in the US a brownstone like the ones in New York, and in London, this means those Georgian houses which sit in a neat white row. 

So here are two divine examples, for sale in my area:

These little sheltered green boxes are perfect for edible gardens, and the best example I have seen of that lately is Nigel Slater's garden, which he depicts with love in Vol 1 of his opus 'Tender'.

These shots show his garden in each season.  It is hard for me to imagine gardening in the snow. 

This is a book to treasure with photos so exquisite I found myself having to stretch out a trembling finger to touch them.  It is a celebration of garden to table cooking, written with the verve and enthusiasm of a convert to something quite life changing.    (As it happens Nigel Slater could write a summary of the current Australian tax legislation including recent ATO guidance notes and still be interesting.  He is some writer, as I pointed out here). 

A vegetable garden is on my to do list this year, once I find the spot.   In the meantime here is my completely accidental lemongrass bush which I planted expecting it to die (as you do). Instead it has flourished.  I was so ignorant about lemongrass I didn't even know how it would grow, and whether the lemony roots would be entirely underground or visible. It turns out they stick up and out, and for a long time they looked like a weed.    I was tempted to yank them all out weeks ago but my mother cautioned me to wait until they were stronger and fully 'ripe'.

Today, a lemongrass and mint marinade, for lamb chops:

This requires bashing of the lemongrass with lots of mint, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper.  Marinate for a few hours, then grill quickly.   A perfect Australian recipe. 

First I have to find some lamb chops, which may not be easy given it is a public holiday today and all the shops are closed.   

Here's to those brave ANZAC soldiers.

(Images: (1) and (2) Kay and Burton (3) (4)-(9) Jane (10)


Paul C said...

What beautiful gardens to stimulate the senses.

Kerry said...

Thanks so much for the book 'heads up' will have to go on my wishlist. I'm lucky enough to have a courtyard garden, though alas not quite as big or beautiful as those pictured..but it is a joy and just goes to show what you can grow in a small space. I had a fantastic crop of tomatoes, basil and spinach in this my first year in this house. Can't wait until next year when I know what I'm doing!!

brismod said...

Jane, I probably would have yanked out the lemongrass too thinking it was overtaken by a weed! Lucky you didn't - the marinade sounds terrific.

Erica Cook said...

fantastic post and images... oh to have such a magnificent garden! xo

Ann said...

I'd have to second your comments on Nigel Slater - he is a compelling read... I've had Appetite for years - and still love tracing the seasons month by month with him. Thanks for the recipe - I do love them... enjoy the holiday. In NZ they didn't opt for an extra day off - there were a few comments today about how soft Australians are - I just put my head down and try and cut a low profile.! A x

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Dear Jane,
I LOVE Nigel Slater. His cookery programmes, here in England, are the best. He isn't cheffy at all, and cooks simple but delicious food.
His house is wonderful. I could definitely live there... and, he has made the most of his garden. It's perfect.
.... and your lemon grass is a triumph. It's very satisfying when you grow something and then cook with it, isn't it ?.... and so important to remember those who went to war for us.
Hope you are O.K. Jane. XXXX

Julie@beingRUBY said...

HI Jane
Thanks for popping over for the Anzac post.. you know Tom is probably a British soldier if he fought in the war with my grandfather [bad aussie I am] .. but never the less... a boy in the war ...I've been trying to work out the surname and grandfathers words on the back of the card... i should pursue it as you say...

Well.. you know I think I would love to have a terrace.. as long as no noise from neighbouring walls I'd be happy with a medium sized garden... plus definitely this pool.. fabulous... I had to laugh about the ATO guidelines comment... you know I work in Superannuation so am quite used to trying interprete their meaning[less].. Hilarious... Looks like a lovely book.. and certainly more interesting than ATO guidelines..

Oh... sorry i've been missing lately and just read your previous post.. How funny... personally I thought you quite brave... Love some of those comments you have listed... #10 a beauty.. and #15 quite funny... Ok... hope you are having a wonderful holiday Monday and that things are improving down your way.. xxx Julie

Mise said...

It's such an impressive culinary garden - orderly and thought through and not requiring a large space. I love Nigel Slater's books - his cooking diary (I think it's called The Culinary Year) is so calming and returns longlost timeliness and seasonal rhythm to our use of food. And as you say, he writes wonderfully.

karen said...

I love the beautiful gardens for sale in your neighborhood...I put dibs on the one with the small pool/jacuzzi.
Your lemon grass is doing pretty good. Hope you'll let us know how the lamb turned out. I'm off meat for a time...I watched Food Inc. and not sure I can ever look at an animal again. :(
Happy Monday Jane!

Laura said...

Oh I've been dreaming of those gardens of Nigel's ever since I got that book! They have a vaguely french look to me with those very precise hedges...perhaps we ought to go storm his townhouse in London one sunny afternoon to peek at his veggie garden?

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

I can't imagine gardening in snow either, but his little potager looks so gorgeous! Love the sound of that marinade - hope you found some wee lamb chops to have with it.

So pleased you can find the strength to laugh at the AT comments. I so agree with Millie - I'd bet none of them have a home even remotely as gorgeous as yours. Most of them were just downright mean and quite unnecessary. A trusted friend would hopefully be a bit softer in her delivery - if you did ask for her advice that is!
Wondering how you are doing? xx

Anonymous said...

How funny - I occasionally look at your (lovely) blog, but had never come across this particular blog before - my friends bought the house with the first courtyard you pictured. Yes - it is a very beautiful garden, and a very beautiful house.

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