Presenting the 14 permaveggies used in tonight’s Indian dal!
Here are the ingredients: Around the outside: Blanched sea kale / strandkål (Crambe maritima) Stinging nettle / brennesle (Urtica dioica) Top left and anti-clockwise: Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde (Hablitzia tamnoides) Hedge garlic / løkurt (Alliaria petiolata) Cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) Day lily / daglije (Hemerocallis shoots) Common wintercress / vinterkarse (Barbarea vulgaris) Giant bellflower / storklokke (Campanula latifolia) Blanched lovage / løpstikke (Levisticum officinale) Ground elder / skvallerkål (Aegopodium podograria) Victory onion / seiersløk from the Lofoten Islands in Norway (Allium victorialis) In the middle: Great waterleaf (Hydrophyllum appendiculatum) grows well in my garden and self-sows. It’s natural habitat is damp calcareous woodlands in Eastern North America. Patience dock / hagesyre (Rumex patientia) Afterthought: Moss-leaved dandelion / mosebladet løvetann (Taraxacum sublaciniosum “Delikatess”) – one entire leaf rosette with dandichokes and top of the roots)
This is the title of an 11 page article on my garden in a new Austrian book on edible forest gardens and agroforestry systems by permaculturist Bernhard Gruber. I wish I could read German! I briefly met Bernhard who attended my talk in Graz, Austria in January 2020.
Following on from my visit to Joe Hollis at Mountain Gardens and on the back of a successful talk at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in September 2019, I’ve been invited back in my capacity as “Extreme Salad Man, global expert on ornamental edibles, inventor of the term edimentals, author of Around the World in 80 Plants and (plant) leader of the Norwegian Seed Saver organization”……………..
Announcing that I’ll be one of the speakers along with Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter at the on-line Southeastern Plant Symposium organised by the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University and Juniper Level Botanic Garden in Raleigh NC.
North Pole? Yesterday I worked for the first time this year at the Væres Venner Community Garden where KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and I are involved. When I arrived there was a pair of white wagtails (linerle) at the North Pole of the World Garden (I’ve planted mainly perennial vegetables geographically on a 12m diameter garden with the centre representing the north pole, marked by a pile of rocks) :)
Otherwise, honey bees were active on a group of dwarf daffodils (påskeliljer), significantly earlier than other Narcissus:
First serious dig of the year preparing an area for potatoes, removing the last of the couch grass (kveke) roots (I hope) and planted about 30 Sarpo potatoes (Sarpo Mira and Sarpo Tominia). Also sowed broad beans, planted onion sets and caraway root (karve). Overwintering of the 100+ fruit, berry and nut trees seems to be very good!
We occasionally eat wild fish and are particularly fond of baccalao (dried salted cod from Lofoten). These were yesterday’s ingredients (list at the bottom):
Top left and clockwise: Dandichokes / løveskokker (the white blanched part which is under the soil surface and hence blanched) plus masses of green leaves; Scorzonera / scorsonnerot (Scorzonera hispanica) blanched shoots from the cellar; Victory onion / seiersløk (Allium victorialis); 7 varieties of heriloom Norwegian potatoes; Ramsons / ramsløk (Allium ursinum) at the top right; Cirsium canum tubers; Scorzonera / scorsonnerot (Scorzonera hispanica) roots; Sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel (Myrrhis odorata); blanched lovage / løpstikke (Levisticum officinale); stinging nettle / brennesle (Urtica dioica); Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde (Hablitzia tamnoides) and garlic / hvitløk and golpar spice (ground seeds of Heracleum spp.) The greens are added at the end so as not to overcook.
A wonderful birthday dinner again this week! As is the tradition since I left home, my birthday dinner has been Macaroni Cheese with rhubarb crumble for dessert. Mac Cheese was the first veggie dish I ate back in the 60s – Mum took us to Edwin Jones in Southampton (the superstore of the time) where they served it in the restaurant, sadly no more as Debenhams that took over closed for good last year during the first COVID lockdown… We loved it and it became a tradition for Mum to make this every Tuesday! Nowadays, we use whole grain spelt macaroni with masses of greens…Hablitzia or Caucasian spinach ( stjernemelde) and others (see this year’s list below). Dedicating this once again to my dear Mum…it’s after all her 66th birth day too!
Yesterday was my birthday and the best presents were all unintended as birthday presents: 1. Allium victorialis from a large stand that has naturalised from a farm garden in Nordland county, Norway to be offered to various members of KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) when I get time (From Inger Elvebakk, who also took the picture):
2. A new sea kale / strandkål (Crambe maritima) accession from a KVANN member, from a wild population
3. Decorah Posten took over a month to get here, but it arrived too on my birthday (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decorah_Posten); more about this another time!
The annual large flocks of gulls are now here resting in the bay after feeding following farmers’ ploughs all day. They are mostly common gulls (fiskemåke) and black-headed gulls (hettemåke). The field below the house was ploughed today as you can see in the film below. Other things to notice are the goat willows (selje), Salix caprea, now in flower at the beginning and I zoom in briefly towards a diver/loon (lom) in the bay.
During a webinar recently somebody asked me recently whether udo (Aralia cordata) resprouts in the same season if one cuts it. I said I would give photographic evidence that it does. The first picture is the blanched udo ready to eat. It was cut right down on 1st April. It reacted quickly by sending up two new shoots, one of which I ate and the second picture is what it looks like on 24th April (it was kept inside). So, the answer is yes that udo certainly responds quickly to us harvesting it.
The favourite food of an average Englishman of my generation is Indian and I’m no exception. Yesterday I was inspired to make perennial veggie aloo saag and stuffed blue congo whole grain paratha. It’s fun realising that it’s highly improbable that anyone has made this before! First, here are the vegetables:
Next, potatoes were steamed on the wood stove and sliced into small pieces. The onions were fried with several cloves of garlic and then all the finely sliced greens were added and cooked gently adding the potatoes and assorted Indian spices (coriander, cumin, home grown golpar – ground seed of Heracleum – chili, salt and pepper with a piece of cinnamon stick and a few cloves). The greens release water so that no water is needed. This is the perennial veggie saag (there are many different saags made with different vegetables in India; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saag
I chose to make the parathas using a 100% coarse wholegrain spelt flour which are difficult to make perfectly as they tend to fall apart, but I don’t care as they are tastier in my opinion! For the filling I used cooked and mashed blue congo potato with various spices and chili mixed in. Put a blob of the filling on the rolled out paratha, fold the dough over the filling and roll out carefully trying not to let the filling show through (it did).
You then dry fry both sides on medium heat, then melt ghee on the top, turn over and fry in the ghee for a minute and one more minute on the other side again and dinner’s served (Hope there are no Indians watching as I’ve probably broken all the rules, but the important thing it tasted fantastic:
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden