On Saturday, we donned our raincoats and wellies and headed down to the Old Print Works in Balsall Heath to celebrate Gaia’s Harvest in the rain!
Over the past six months or so, the community garden has been transformed from a neglected courtyard to a blossoming garden bursting with an abundance of fruit, veggies and useful plants, planted and nurtured by an amazing team of dedicated volunteers since it’s opening back in May.
Despite the *very* wet weather on Saturday (it wouldn’t be England if it didn’t chuck it down, would it?!) we had an awesome day celebrating the changing seasons and everything that the team have achieved in the garden, using the home grown produce to create an incredible community feast.
On the menu of tasty treats rustled up on the day were pudina pickle potatoes, pea and parsley soup, lentil and marrow bake, vegan pesto pasta bake, and cheese, chive and sweetcorn and muffins, to name just a few, and all washed down with our homemade raspberry and rhubarb squash – yum!
If you fancy having a go at the delicious dishes we made on Saturday, check out the recipes we followed below!
Pudina Pickle Potatoes. – This pickle is a great way to use loads of mint, which grows like wildfire in Gaia’s Garden, and is really great for your digestion. You can use it as a curry paste and cook up meat or fish in it, although we went for some home grown potatoes. To tone down the flavour if it’s too strong for you, add a tin of coconut milk when simmering the curry down. Delicious!
Pea and Parsley Soup – A classic bit of Nigel Slater! Just remember not to let the soup boil – if you heat it more gently you’ll preserve more of the nutrients. Parlsey is high in vitamins A, C and K, and it’s really easy to grow, so get some in your diet!
Lentil and Marrow Bake – We made a veggie version of this, but you can see why bacon would really complement the mild flavour of marrow.
Cheese, Chive and sweetcorn muffins – Using Gaia’s Garden homegrown sweetcorn and chives, these are a yummy savoury breakfast treat, and really easy to make.
Amongst the other dishes served up, we threw together a really simple vegan pesto, with rocket and sorrel from the garden, along with olive oil, cashew nuts, salt, pepper and some lemon juice to loosen it up. We combined this with tomatoes, sweetcorn and runner beans, all from the harvest, along with some penne pasta.
And to wash it all down, we also made raspberry and rhubarb squash, simply by simmering loads of these fruits up with sugar to taste, then straining it. Just add water, ice and a cheeky slice of lemon and you are good to go! So refreshing!
A huge thank you to everyone who came along to visit us on the day, Tessa Lowe for the tea runs, Ria Moeyens for all of the delicious breads and energy bars, and Elaine Ring for the chocolate cornflake cakes! AND, of course, thank you to all of the volunteers who have popped along over the last six months to get your fingers green in Gaia’s Garden! Whether you came by just once or twice or got involved every week – we couldn’t have transformed the garden in to the beautiful, blossoming space without you all!