Archives for category: Edible Perennials

Tulips! Edible! A wonderful piece on the beautiful blog The Botanical Kitchen. Includes an excerpt from a book about eating and hunger in wartime Holland, to keep it real, and lots of lovely culinary inspiration, to keep it magical…

The Botanical Kitchen

Have you noticed that tulips are everywhere at the moment?  I’ve been about and about today and noticed all sorts of different varieties.  They are about the only plants that have come up at my allotment too.

Copyright Urvashi Roe_amsterdam-22Beautiful tulips blooming everywhere this Spring in London

TulipsHundreds of varieties at the flower markets

The first thought that has come to mind has been to wonder if they are an edible variety. Many varieties are edible.  There’s a great list in this article by a fellow Great British Bake Off Alumni, Lucy Bellamy.

Leaves or bulbs? 

Well the truth is they are both edible BUT you need to have the right variety and prepare them in the right way.  Otherwise you could get serious food poisoning!

The bulbs were a staple for the Dutch during the second world war as there were so many and Office for Food Supply  pronounced them fit for consumption and…

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A medieval garden – from British Library MS Royal 6 E IX f. 15v

The Healing Power of a Garden – A Medieval View.  Came across this article this morning and felt a surge of springtime joy, reading about Henry of Huntingdon’s Anglicanus Ortus, a Verse Herbal of the Twelfth Century.

“This is no ordinary herbal: the work is staged first as a discussion between a master and a student walking around a garden, inspecting the plants in their separate beds, and then as an awkward performance by the same master before Apollo and a critical audience, seated in a theatre at the garden’s centre. Beyond its didactic and performative aspects, the entire work is framed as a prayer to God’s generative capacity and the rational order of nature.” –http://pims.ca/pdf/st180.pdf 

Check out this link for enticing excerpts pertaining to oregano, strawberry, dill, horseradish, and more.  Am a bit sad it’s a $175 book — doesn’t it feel like historical cultural production like this should somehow exist in the commons, for all of us to learn from and enjoy? Maybe this is a book Google might buy and put up on the web…

 

Enjoy the Guardian podcast above with Jane Perrone, Anni Kelsey and Martin Crawford   Thanks to Anni for her wonderful blog where I first saw this.  Inspiring and eas(ier) gardening, climate friendly and cheaper, plus interesting, tasty things to eat.

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The Nettle Sorrel Soup was so delicious, I considered it a gateway to Schav, a purer use of sorrel that by never having sampled had become a little mythic. You eat it cold.  And yes, that’s the true colour in the photo above, what we might have thought of as pea-green, a little dreary, a little khaki. I resisted the photoshop urge because I want to speak the truth about Schav.  I placed the spoon in this position so you too could imagine picking it up and experiencing a spoon-full.

It’s what the real old-timers ate, the ones who gesticulated with their hands and ate intense, heavy food like … Liver and Egg Salad, or Chopped Liver in moulded, perhaps grotesque shapes, maybe with strawberries, maybe with pineapple.  Or at least such recipes appear in my all time favourite Jewish cookbook Love and Knishes, along with loads of dishes with schmaltz and lima beans and kasha– these kind of ingredients.  So the book was a natural first place to look for an “authentic” recipe for Schav.

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Love and Knishes is a charming book. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sweet Nettle and Sorrel Custard Rough Puff Tartlets — what a mouthful for these novel, mouthful- size morsels, made from all good things… Inspired by Penelope Casas.

Crema De Espinacas en Canutillos:

“At the beginning of the [20th] century, this most unusual dessert of custard and spinach was popular in Bilbao; it continues to be featured at some of the city’s finest restaurants, either in a tart shell or as a filling for pastry horns,  It is said to be a vestige of the medieval custom of sweetening just about every kind of food imaginable….”

So wrote Penelope Casas in her truly exciting collection of regional Spanish recipes Delicioso!

Nettles are everywhere now, growing taller before our very eyes. The wonderfullest of weeds, the most delicious, nutritious and ubiquitous –why aren’t they the national food of Britain, as Frank Cook asks in this video.  Am just determined to use them as frequently and creatively as I can.

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Another quick must-share, yesterday’s Nettle Sorrel Green Soup, an easy and good Sunday supper and dish to discuss in my new anti-recipe, pro-technique zeal.

And I’m now polyamorous, sharing my passion for Nettles with Sorrel, because that lemony zing on the side of the tongue is a wild and captivating sensation. Read the rest of this entry »

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This is almost so obvious I’m not sure it’s worth a blog post; but it’s so good, it’s worth a blog post!  I’ve made this every day for several days, and we find ourselves snacking on it cold.  Eating (local, seasonal) greens plentifully can only be a good thing.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Roasted.

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Good fortune lured me to a wonderful Forest Gardening/ Edible Perennial website, where I happened upon the Scottish Forest Garden blog on the Yellow Nutsedge –the edible bits thereof also known as Ground Almond — Earth Almond –Earth Chestnut– Tigernut — Chuffa — and botanical name Cyperus esculentus.  And it’s a tuber, not a nut!

Here’s the entry from the Plants for a Future Database . And ya gotta love all the good folk who help to make Wikipedia so enriching–this is an especially good encyclopedia entry in which we learn how important this plant was in ancient Egypt — and that Tigernut Milk can be fermented.  Really worth a read .  And I like this little description of planting and preparing from a gardener in Connecticut.

A very strong and growing interest for me is thinking how to creatively apply historic and global culinary practice to the unusual foods we may need to begin growing and eating  as our climate gets crazier and we need to diversify. There’s lots of information about so many wonderful and delicious edibles, particularly coming from Permaculture resources– and as a creative cook I want to eat interesting, nutritious and delicious foods and to be there responsively to anything that can and will be grown.  And share what I learn with you!

So when I read about the Tigernut, as above, I recognised the name as that mysterious thing from which was made the delicious drink I’d enjoyed in Barcelona. Here you can see the website of the orxateria where I was so enamored of  this yummy creamy sweet comforting drink called Horchata– and a little promotional video with a song that brings laughter and a little dance — and another bit of Armchair Travel:

If I had these “nuts” I would make Horchata with a recipe like this one.  Yes, I’d experiment with using less sugar… The Latin American versions are centred on ingredients like almonds, rice, cinnamon– and I’m sure are most delicious as well.

Really I am very concerned indeed about our agricultural future, for lots of interlocking reasons.  Imagining what to make with what we could grow gives me a kind of hope– or at least, a potential project.

PS 18 April 2014  Here’s a fascinating piece on a brilliant blog about the History of the Nutsedge in Ancient Egypt.

PPS 9 April 2015 Here’s a very informative article from a Paleo perspective, and others.

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