Why buy it?
For Indira Naidoo, enlightenment came through the sweet pop of a nubile heirloom tomato at her local farmers' market. With all her culinary habits unravelled by the swift seduction of that one pure taste, Naidoo set about her self-professed "re-education" to grow as much of her own food as she could. Having just a city balcony and a Triffid-fearing husband to work with, she began to formulate her plan. This plan is laid out in The Edible Balcony for all spatially challenged city-dwellers to follow. We know Naidoo from her appearance in our living rooms as a gracious news anchor and, in this book, we get to know her as a warm and passionate gardener who, charmingly, frets over untended plants and waxes lyrically over basil’s "erotic" nuances. Naidoo’s words are as helpful as they are thoroughly entertaining and from the first few pages we start to feel that we, too, can extricate ourselves from the sticky web of a convenience-driven food industry and turn our few square metres into a fertile garden. From how to organise your space, to what to grow and things to avoid, such as cheap potting mix, The Edible Garden is stuffed with the sort of thorough information one might expect from a newsreader. What you may not expect, though, is the delicious and entirely achievable recipes Naidoo has included for you to cook with the goodies from your soon-to-be blossoming micro farms. This gardening cookbook is one you’ll be referring back to all year-round.
This book will set you on the path to homegrown goodness with Naidoo’s practical tips and usable information. The recipes are not technically driven or fancy but, like the joy of rearing your own plants, the beauty is in their simplicity.
Stephanie’s pavlova with fresh cream and borage flowers. These small, purple-hued edible flowers look so pretty atop the crispy pavlova peaks. Plus, the flowers attract bees and when you’re gardening in the city, you need all the bees you can get!
Most surprising dish
Warrigal greens with walnut crumbs and parmesan crisps. Warrigal greens aren’t always readily available, yet it’s our native spinach and it’s great to see it appearing on the menu and in recipes.
It makes good environment, economical and just plain common sense to grow what you can of your own food. A big part of what makes a meal delicious is simply knowing where the ingredients have come from. If you can manage to grow even the smallest ingredient from a dish, the satisfaction is enormous.
Anyone with a balcony or a windowsill and a desire to cultivate it into a miniature vegetable patch.
Recipes and images from The Edible Balcony by Indira Naidoo, published by Penguin Lantern, rrp $39.95.