Category Archives: BBQ

Berkeley, California – Michael Pollan’s Backyard BBQ

Chez Panisse, the Berkeley restaurant run by Alice Waters which popularised the farm to the plate movement –  turned 40 in August.
Among the dozens of birthday fund-raising celebrations held in California to raise money for Alice’s Edible Schoolyard programme, was a backyard BBQ at the Berkeley home of Michael Pollan and his wife Judith Belzer
Michael Pollan is famous for his books on food and gardening. He’s doing a 22 hour roast pig for 50 guests who’ve come here from all over the US – and Sydney! It’s crackling away under this makeshift igloo- shaped oven.
Michael’s converted his lawn into an edible forest using raised beds.
These boxed beds allow him to grow dozens of herbs and vegetables organically….
… tomatoes…

…. yummmm…..

… and monster beans

….. gargantuan!
guests mill about in the front and on the lovely back deck overlooking the valley
fresh fruit bellinis are being prepared
The Pollan’s wonderful homey kitchen is the nerve centre for the Great Pig Rosti Dinner

Produce has been supplied by Devil’s Gulch Ranch, Dirty Girl produce, Riverdog farm and Blossom Bluff Orchards.
Then it’s the moment of the big reveal…… will it be cooked to perfection?
Vegos look away now…. the covers and foil are removed to reveal a beast fit for a king.
Michael and his assistant chef carry the crispy carcass to the table for serving
Michael seems genuinely in awe of how to break it down…
yes…. let’s just get stuck into it…
The juicy flesh falls away from the bone and the crackling breaks into noisy shards of pig skin
ooohhh… well worth the trip from Oz.
The hungry hoards grab a spot on the terrace or garden and the night is quiet and still as we all hoe in.
Michael then gives a speech thanking everyone for their support and helping to make the BBQ such a memorable occasion.
Alice’s Edible Schoolyard Programme is teaching school children – many from disadvantaged backgrounds – how to grow, cook and eat. Michael is a big supporter and an advocate of the importance of knowing where your food has come from.
Then it’s on to dessert for … pie. Three different types of pie – apple and rhubarb, apple and plum and just plain apple. All with a thin, crispy, sugary crust.
No-one does pie better than Americans.
And a beautiful hand-churned vanilla ice-cream tops off the bliss.
This pie was almost as memorable as the pig. Almost.
Then it was talking late into the night about food, and farming, and that pie recipe!
The Pollan BBQ was one of the most memorable experiences of my many foodie adventures.
Michael and his wife Judith were really lovely people as well. I got to meet one of my gurus and sit down and enjoy a meal he had cooked for me. Not many people can say that.
Oh, and by the way, Michael now has a copy of my book The Edible Balcony which was inspired by his writings!

Edible Balcony – Weber Baby Q100 BBQ

Very Compact – the Weber Baby Q100 on its trolley unit
Space is getting tight on my Edible Balcony. With plants now slowly encroaching on all the balcony’s entertaining area my extremely patient husband has finally put his foot down. ‘Very soon we won’t have any view at all!’ he said exasperatedly the other morning. It was a timely wake-up call. As all you obsessive gardeners out there know we would happily sacrifice living space to see our plants grow and thrive! Could plants and humans co-habit happily on my balcony?
A month ago our old, faulty 4 burner gas BBQ was taken to the tip to make room for a green wall planting system that’s being installed in a few weeks time. It’s an ingenius system developed here in Sydney from recycled plastic by Ecovert. With the system I’ll be able to grow up to 20 more herbs and greens without taking up any more floor space. Great solution for balcony gardeners.
It also means our replacement BBQ needed to be compact but still give a good result. I always consult consumer advocacy group choice
for independent reliable consumer advice. The Weber Baby Q100 topped their scientific testing for best cooking results and ease of use so we got one. Its stand rated low on stability tests so we bought a small kitchen trolley from Howard Storage for it to sit on. And last night we cooked some marinated pork spare ribs to see if choice was right.
the Baby Q100 is only 70cm long
the grill plate and hood are large enough to cook a small leg of lamb or roast chicken
I bought the ribs from the David Jones FoodHall in Market St pre-marinated in a spicy paprika tomato sauce
the BabyQ needs about 10 minutes to heat up….
a regular visitor pops in to have a steaky beak
None for you. Rainbow Lorikeets should only eat Grevillea flowers. Maybe I should plant one?…
The ribs were cooked to perfection. Still juicy and tender but with a lovely caramelised crust.
I think BabyQ is going to be a very welcome addition to the Edible Balcony…. I can just picture it now…. roasted tomatoes fresh off the bush, chargrilled red peppers, eggplant babaganoush…..
Have a great New Years’s Eve wherever you are in the world. Thanks for following Saucy so loyally in her inaugural year. Here’s to 2010 – a year filled with wonderful food and gardening adventures and many friends to share your bounty with.
Happy New Year everyone!