Archives for posts with tag: Forest Gardening

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I just happened upon this wonderful illustrated history of Johnny Appleseed.  Enjoy!

And here’s something that makes an interesting (and convincing) contention: Johnny Appleseed and the Golden Days of Hard Cider.

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I had a dream the other night
When everything was still
I dreamed I saw Susannah dear
A-coming down the hill.

The buckwheat cake was in her mouth
The tear was in her eye
Says I, “I’m coming from the south,
Susannah, don’t you cry.

I adore the Be Good Tanyas, and in the spirit of blogging to songs I love, have been wondering about Buckwheat Cakes.

Well, wonder no further than My Kitchen Witch‘s delving into Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery, an amazing anthropological / cultural / technical / social history of bread on this Island.  Debi makes Buckwheat  Griddle Cakes, or Bockings, and they are what I would place squarely in the mouth of Susannah, Coming Down the Hill.  I plan to make them this weekend — maybe with a little sourdough starter instead of yeast, or kefir or buttermilk in place of the milk– but looking forward indeed.

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Spring feels kind of possible even if the winter wasn’t quite winter with its climate-weirding mildness and perpetual rain. Looking at the raised beds –an accomplishment of last summer and purchased as affordable flat-pack type kits from Cwm Harry in Newtown–  I  noticed, on this seasonal cusp,  all that Perpetual Spinach I sowed last spring.   These leaves had somehow never happened last year but had arisen, however scraggly and slug-eaten, and constituted before my eyes a Bed Of Chard.   (That’s what “perpetual spinach” really is, she says with disappointment).

Chard is my least favourite green, I admit.  I just don’t have enthusiasm for it, though Rainbow Chard is so prismatically beautiful and the smaller leaves in the raised bed will be nice in a salad.  And yet, chard is something I’ve managed, as a lazy gardener, to grow prolifically.

I did remember, maybe a decade ago, making a traditional tart from the south of France, recipe for which I found in Jane Sigal’s wonderful book Backroad Bistros: Farmhouse Fare: A French Country Cookbook from 1994.  This is a book that maybe somehow has gotten lost among a fray of great books, but I love it, and could cook and bake my way through relaxed French food with it– wonderful stories, impeccable recipes — a classic in its way.  I recommend it.  And would put it beside the also wonderful When French Women Cook by Madeleine Kamman in a library of my favourite cookery books.

(Backroad Bistros also has a few really enchanting pages on snail farming in Burgundy — this inspired me years back to giving a go to growing snails as a kind of Permaculture operation, since there in Oxford where we lived there were so many, a pestilence really.   I wouldn’t say I succeeded, though was a comical episode– maybe more on this another time.  But if this is something you are interested in, there’s lots of information one could usefully cull from this small chapter.)

I’ve also set myself the challenge to explore the use of vegetables in sweet situations, as I wrote about here in Three Sisters last autumn.  Since then I’ve discovered a wonderful and inspiring blog Veggie Desserts full of creative and beautiful recipes to enjoy.

Here is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls recipe for Tourte de Blettes.  It’s not dissimilar from the one Jane Sigal collected from a market woman in Provence, though it includes lemon zest and has slightly different proportions– and Sigal’s recipe encouraged me to fold the excess dough of the bottom layer up over the top layer, so I got to have something that looked different from my usual style, which I liked.

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And forgive below what is an unappealing photo (food photography is hard!!!!) of a very nice Apple Pie with a layer of chard, removed behind my back by my children off their plates, but hey-ho!  In a few weeks time, they’ll be questioning the nettle tops  and goosegrass I am going to be picking all around the Waysides of Spring and putting in all sorts of imaginings– including, I say, a pastry like this one.

Oh– I saved the apple peelings and cores, added honey and water, and have a new, small batch of wild apple vinegar on the go!

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First, should you be experiencing this Deep-Winter Blue-Mood, here’s a little pep-talk of a dance number.  You are a star! Everybody is one!

Second:  I have a habit of accumulating internet links to explore further, but they are beginning to want to break free of my private files. So, though eventually I may revisit them, I’m just going to post them here, now, for readers’ scintillation.

A piece called Spice Tile on the BRILLIANT blog Edible Geographies about an art exhibition at the Victoria and Albert in London until the 21st of April– hope I can get there to see it.

A Love Letter to Nigella Sativa, what I know as Black Onion Seeds.

And creative ways to use Chia Seeds.

And third in this Seed Triumvirate, a recipe for Crackers with Dock Seed, in celebration of the undercelibrated Dock.

Trends in Home-Prepared Pet Food — and How to Make Your Own Cat Food.

A Great List of UK Seed Companies

From Mother’s Gut to Milk, a very informative article on the microbiology of breast milk on the ever-fascinating blog Hella Delicious

and on the subject of breast milk, here’s an artist’s project making cheese from human breast milk in order to raise questions about food systems and ethics…

An inspiring article about Growing Saffron in Utah.

Asian Pear Trees for your garden (a fruit I adore)

A great how-to for sprouting beautiful sprouts.

A piece I love from Permaculture Magazine about traditional methods of drying chestnuts.  (I LOVE chestnuts, so more coming on baking with chestnut flour definitely!)   And another on Reusing Coffee Grounds.

An interesting article called Why Skipping is a Necessary Evil  (though I’d never use the word “evil”) that puts people’s personal hunger in a broad political context.

Remembering the Morecombe Cockle Pickers and their families.

What I thought was a good Real Food Plan for the Broke — the author aiming for each healthful meal to be $.95 per person per meal;  you can compare and contrast Jack Monroe’s approach to budgeting

A book on Home Aquaponics (combination aquaculture [growing fish] and hydroponics {veg grown in water not soil] ) which interests me very much but I haven’t got a kindle…

On Wasabi in Britain in a Forest Garden way; and this, a company, celebrating Wasabi as a Brassica 

An interesting, short documentary on The People’s Kitchen — “a place in which people can come to eat, as well as express themselves, find themselves in society.”

and a blatant plug for my friend Sharon Kane’s Gluten -Free bread assundries website and business. She’s a woman who reclaimed her own health and is on an amazing mission to share everything she’s learned!  She is based in Massachusetts, for American readers keen to do some mail-order.

And, lastly for today,  an important plea for seed diversity in the face of this thing we call Climate Change.

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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(Thank you Wikipedia Commons for letting me share this illustration.  Am so into THE COMMONS in concept and application…)

Skirrets!  A vegetable of yore– one I am most interested to try someday. Caraway Root as well.  I wonder if these are roots that have that inulin thing going on?  Do follow the link to “The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies,” a marvelous blog. 

Am posting this fascinating historical recipe for my Permaculture friends, who in their edible landscapes and forest gardens seeks to recreate a practical Eden.  And– as rain and sun and heat and seasons all become increasingly unpredictable, as they will, we need to diversify what we grow in all our climes.  So skirrets will be one to try!  Anyone eaten them, or even know what they are?

Here they are on the Plants for a Future Database.

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