Bring the Swinging 60s to Your Garden with a Flower-Powered BBQ
Granny G-Nome is as old as the hills and as young as the day. She is a character in a children’s book I wrote. Over the years, Granny G, as I fondly call her now, has become a great friend.
I help her devise new recipes for her website. We both want to encourage young mums to cook from scratch for their children, fostering a love of healthy food in them. Our recipes are easy to follow and obviously very tasty!
The other day the tables turned when she inspired this article for Sixty and Me. We were reminiscing about the swinging 60s.
I look back at the swinging 60s with great fondness. My husband and I had our first date in 1966. We were 14 and had missed much of the ‘flower power’ era.
The nearest we got to being hippies was later, on one summer holiday, when we bought ourselves a cow bell each and some beads, then walked hand in hand by the river – we felt really daft and never did it again!
After Granny G and I had finished giggling about it I had a light bulb moment – why not design a Flower-Powered BBQ?
I have to admit that I do love a themed party – especially if it involves dressing up. I know many of you will throw up their hands in horror at the very thought. But it’s not that bad. You can still join in the fun: wear a flower in your hair or on a lapel. The rest of us can make fools of ourselves in kaftans, cowbells and flares.
Food does not have the capacity to feel foolish, we can dress it up as much as we like.
So Granny and I set about planning the menu. You can find all the recipes on Granny’s website.
The main course consisted of two choices: lamb and rosemary burgers with mint and marigold yoghurt, and pork, apple and sage burgers with sage flower mustard. We added a side of apple and lemon verbena sauce.
Our salads included avocado and rocket salad with rocket and viola flowers, beetroot and nasturtium salad, tomato and basil salad with basil flowers and cucumber slices marinated in white wine vinegar with chopped mint leaves and mint flowers.
For our H’ordeuvres we had crusty brown rolls, nasturtium and viola butter and/or tarragon and parsley butter, new roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic and courgette and pine nut rice with courgette flowers.
Dessert had a few choices to it as well: chunky lavender and apple cake; fruit salad with any edible flowers of your choice; ice cream with sugared violas, filo pastry flowers filled with rose petal custard and strawberries, and lavender biscuits.
Ice cubes with frozen flowers look magical in all cold drinks – they look fabulous in a lovely jug of Pimms.
After the meal, we offer a steaming cup of herb tisane: mint, lemon balm, jasmine etc. – with a scrumptious lavender biscuit.
What a feast!
Easy to Prepare with Careful Planning
Another great thing about this BBQ is that almost all of it can be prepared in advance. In fact, accompaniments like sauces, butters and salad dressing are better made a few days before, so the flavours can blend and deepen. Even the rosemary roast potatoes can be made in advance.
The burgers can be prepared a while before if you are happy to freeze the raw article, or the night before and stay in the fridge. These are traditionally cooked by the man of the house – who then thinks he’s prepared the whole BBQ!!
Fruit salad can also be put together the night before, but the flowers need to be added at the last minute or they will wilt.
The cake and biscuits can also be made well in advance and frozen. You can prepare and bake the filo pastry flowers a couple of weeks before and freeze them. The rose petal custard can be made the day before as well.
I have to admit that the filo flowers are time consuming, but so worth it when all your friends admire both their look and flavour. However, if you haven’t the time, then make two large oblongs with the filo pastry, sandwich them with the rose custard, sprinkle with icing sugar and fresh rose petals.
Of course, you could use rose water in the custard to flavour it, but where’s the fun in that? I haven’t tried it that way so cannot comment on flavour.
Lights, Music, Action
The menu we came up with is just a suggestion – you can try some of the recipes and add some of your own. Just a couple of the above flower meal recipes would fulfil the theme – garnish to your heart’s content!
In my last article, I mentioned quite a few edible flowers and how you can garnish your dishes with them. Of course, there are many more, but it would be wise to look up any other flower you wish to cook with – just in case.
Then, all that’s left to do is decorate the table with flowers, (dress up) put on some 60s party music, and have fun.
Have you ever thrown a themed summer BBQ? What are your special summer recipes? Please share them in the comments below!
Jayne Avery is a strong advocate of healthy eating. Her children’s book TG and the Rainbow Warriors draws on personal experience as a science teacher and nutrition consultant. As a lifelong crafting butterfly, she dwells in the space between disciplines where she finds fun, humour and novelty – sharing it whenever she can. Please visit her website here.