Once a year, we have a garden party in the courtyard.

Some of you may know that I live in a kind of courtyard community: The house that hosts my apartment belongs to a complex of buildings which are arranged around a courtyard and served as a coaching inn in ancient times. Now the houses are departed into several housing units and hired out. There are 13 or 14 apartments now (some have been put together recently, so I am not absolutely sure) and about 30 people who live here, me included. The age range goes from 11 months to over 70 years, and the community consists of families with children, students, young working adults, and elder ladies and gentlemen.

The annual garden party starts in the afternoon with harvesting the grapes from the vine that grows along the main building. The vine is an old variety that cannot be used for making wine, but my neighbors have a big juice extractor and make grape juice from it. This year, we had a very warm spring (and a cold and wet summer), and there were so many grapes that we got more than 60 liters of grape juice from them although we did not even harvest them all.

~ and you can also eat the grapes just right away ~

In the evening, we put up tables and benches and enjoy food and talking together.

Everybody brings something to eat or drink, so we have a nice variety of dishes and differents kinds of white and red wine.

One of my neighbors had set up his barbecue and grilled sausages for everybody and also some chicken for me.

And while my chicken was getting ready, I sneaked around and pictured some of the delicacies for you that the others had brought.

~ the neighbors’ son had baked countless trays of pizza ~

~ this one had tomatoes, mushrooms, capers, and mozzarella ~

~ roasted oregano tomatoes with feta ~

~ zucchini and feta skewers (so pretty!) ~

~ yoghurt and cucumber dipping sauce ~

~ fresh bread ~

~ mixed salad with marigold blossoms (I loved that) ~

I was happy about that wonderful salad and quite dug into it. Because all other things were centered around wheat and dairy, I had brought the chicken for me and also made a bowl of salad.

~ my plate: roasted chicken and salad (duh ) ~

The cucumber salad on the right side of my plate is the one I had brought. Instead of making my usual tomato salad with parsley or basil, I wanted for something fancier and a more unusual combination of ingredients this time, so I added in bell peppers, plums, and Thai basil, and made a lemony dressing to go with it.


6 servings

Salad Ingredients

2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 red bell peppers, cut into small cubes
6 plums, pitted and cut into slices
2 handfuls of Thai basil, chopped (retain a few leaves for decoration)

Dressing Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp lemon cest (optional)


Mix the cucumber and plum slices, bell pepper cubes, and chopped Thai basil in a large bowl.

If you use freshly made lemon juice for the dressing, scrape off the lemon cest with a cest cutter before you juice the lemon.

Mix all dressing ingredients and pour the dressing over the salad. Let the salad sit in the fridge for about half an hour before serving so all the flavors can combine nicely. Add some Thai basil leaves for decoration, then serve and enjoy.

What do you like to bring when you attend a barbecue or a garden party?

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