Monday, November 07, 2011

watermelon salad and the summer of love

My golden rule for cookbook buying these days is that I have to actually cook from it in the first week or two of ownership. Otherwise after that initial flick through it tends to be cast aside, relegated to mere food porn. I guess like the real thing, being a spectator’s one thing but it’s a heck of a lot more fun to participate.

In New Zealand I made an impulse purchase of Heidi Swanson’s lovely new cookbook. The current generous exchange rate always makes me feel so rich whenever I go home and was happy to spend some it in a local, independent bookstore.

As a longtime fan of 101 Cookbooks I knew it wouldn’t be hard to find something to cook within the critical timeframe. With eat.drink.picnic promising a stellar 30c day, the watermelon salad was a no brainer.

Did I take photos? No, in the rush to head off to the gardens I forgot. But it’s a simple dish – watermelon balls (note to self: must improve balling technique), toasted pistachios, slivered dates, a squeeze of lime and a dash of rosewater. Next time round I’ll throw caution to the wind and add more lime and roses and toss in some fresh mint.

The picnic was one of the best I’ve been to for ages. Perfect weather, a great mix of people (old and new acquaintances, all delightful), pétanque, vegan desserts (oh how I love to be able to eat a dairy-free dessert) and a delightful location. With the annual Village event next door providing some enjoyable music, by 5 pm our little pocket of Edinburgh Gardens was covered with so many blissed out park goers that it looked like The Summer of Love.

Thanks so much to everyone who turned up (and sorry if any shy souls arrived and couldn’t find us, like a blind date I should have been wearing a pink carnation in my lapel). I really want to make Michael’s vegan caeser with Black Ruby’s stunning GF bread, Carla’s I can’t believe it’s not pate and Johanna’s vegan nutella fudge*. The Significant Eater is determined to buy me an ice cream maker to recreate Kristy’s balsamic strawberry ice cream.

Notable mention also goes to Claire’s wonderful prawns and Ed’s proseco. Not that I’m picking favourites, just two days after a 5 hour feast this is the best my mind could muster. Surely a good sign that it was an excellent day,

Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen

P.S. Some random thoughts while writing this post

Independent stores – books, locally made clothes, food…are awesome. If you have to buy things for Christmas, it’s nice to support the little guys.

We must have more picnics! There’s talk of a bloggers end of year “break up” at Barefoot Bowls. (Though Christmas may be loosely translated to early in the New Year).

We need to make all food related gatherings, whether it be friends, family or food lovers, as inclusive as possible. That doesn’t mean 100% gleegan but it’d be nice is half of it is. Everything was delicious.

Summer of Love? Yes please.

I really don’t watch porn (or not in the past two decades at least!)

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Blogger Cindy said...

It is really great to be sharing hot days, watermelon and the company of like-minded bloggers!

'Twas also lovely to finally meet the Significant Eater, after all this time.

5:26 pm  
Anonymous Lucy said...


now, at the risk of sounding very silly, what is a gleegan? a very happy vegan?

picnic weather...bring it on.

5:28 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Cindy and he loved meeting you guys and finally putting faces to names.

Lucy a GLuten-free vEGAN :) And she was a happy vegan at that. Looking forward to another picnic with you at your place this summer (she says presumptively).

5:33 pm  
Blogger leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I don't usually buy cookbooks but I got several as a present recently and I really do need to try a few recipes soon. I like your golden rule! The watermelon salad sounds lovely and refreshing - so appropriate for our recent warm weather! Good to know you all had a good time.

7:36 pm  
Blogger K said...

Thanks for organising and I loved the salad. On sunday I actually flicked through the book and discovered that recipe. Perfect summer dish!

Lucy, I'm the gleegan :-)

P.S: you should get an ice cream maker!

8:56 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Hi Leaf and welcome. I've raved before about how I buy very few cookbooks. Despite being strict on myself a couple creep in each year. The cooking from them soon rule really works. Give it a go.

K - it was a pleasure. Hope you won't be so shy of us omnis (and semi-omnis) now :)

9:57 pm  
Blogger Johanna GGG said...

There is always something I regret not tasting after a food bloggers picnic and this was it from sunday - I almost did and then was being proper about waiting until dessert and trying to watch sylvia - it looked delicious and the flavours sound great - maybe will need to try it myself

btw my fudge was a vegan adaption of - will post about it soon

Thanks again for organising the picnic - it was just so lovely to sit in the gardens on a fine spring day with good food and good company

11:50 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

It was lovely to see you. Looking forward to hearing about vegan nutella. Wow :)

7:54 am  
Anonymous Lucy said...

well, that makes PERfect sense! gleegan has a certain sort of musical ring to it. (hi K!)

presume away, my lovely. i think a little (large?) do in my gigantic yard is in order.

8:45 am  
Blogger Kari said...

Your picnic sounds great - ditto the watermelon salad. Although I suspect watermelon balls made be me would have to be christened watermelon blobs...

Thanks for stopping by my blog too :)

5:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


was a super fun day thansk for organising

7:50 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

It was a delight to meet you Carla. Am up for more grazing in the sun in the inner north. Get in touch!

8:03 am  

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