Falafels and cellar veggie wholegrain pizza!

Great to be home again to nutritious vegetarian food! Presenting this week’s two dishes, each lasting two days: dried broad bean falafels (with golpar spice) and a mixed cellar veggie wholegrain sourdough pizza with masses of forced dandelions and perennial kale shoots!

Wasabi shop, the Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge and the Kawazu Seven Falls

Last week, I blogged about a fantastic visit to a wasabi farm on the Izu peninsular in Japan during spring 2016, see

A visit to a Wasabi farm on the Izu peninsular in Japan

This was close to one of the world’s most amazing road bridges, the Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge,  a double spiral bridge finished 37 years ago in 1982, see https://www.dangerousroads.org/asia/japan/895-kawazu-nanadaru-loop-bridge-japan.html

Here’s a short video driving the loops:

Nearby was a shop selling a myriad of wasabi products! Let me know if you can translate any of the signs in the album! At the bottom are a few pictures from a popular nearby walk, the Kawazu Seven Falls.

We did a small hike along the Kawazu Seven Falls trail:

Wisley Gardens March 2019

An album of pictures from my visit to RHS Wisley Gardens on 11th March 2019  just outside of London, one of my favourite gardens for edimental spotting which I’ve visited many times over the years. I’ve added comments of edibility to most pictures!



Cobham and Chobham

My second talk in the UK was in Cobham in Surrey for Plant Heritage, an organisation that administers 620 national plant collections (https://www.nccpg.com) including Jackie Currie’s national Allium collection. She is the reason I was asked to give this talk as I visited her a year ago! For the fourth time I gave a talk in a church (St. Andrew’s) as there was a double booking in the church hall (I talked in the church at Todmorden a few years ago and twice in churches in Ottawa!). A well attended evening with a knowledgeable group and several said they would be trying Hosta this spring :)
Thanks to board member Wendy Bentall who picked me up at Wisley and put me up for the night in, naturally, the Priest House flat in her garden which is in another village, Chobham, only 20 minutes away from Cobham!

A visit to a Wasabi farm on the Izu peninsular in Japan

On 3rd April 2016 I was on an amazing study tour in Japan to witness first hand the cultivation of perennial vegetables. These are wild native species which were previously wild foraged in Japan but are now cultivated to meet demands for what is collectively known as sansai (mountain veggies).  There’s a whole section of supermarkets devoted to sansai. The one we are most familiar with in the west is wasabi, but for most of us it is in name only as it is almost always horseradish, mustard and food colouring which are the ingredients of wasabi sauce offered in sushi bars, rather than genuine wasabi (Wasabia japonica).

The farm we visited was on the Izu peninsula, a popular tourist area.  It was one of the most beautiful and naturalistic farms that I’ve witnessed anywhere and could be categorised as a permaculture forest garden with shade-loving wasabi growing in running water diverted from a river into an intricate series of neatly set out beds and intercropped with trees like loquat and other fruit. Most of the work seems to be done manually.

First, a few videos from the farm and below can be found an album of pictures of wasabi and other plants we saw, including at a shrine and associated vegetable garden adjacent to the farm! Wasabi has very narrower ecological requirements to produce well, including shade and running cool mountain spring water.

17th March 2019:  I’m adding three pictures at the bottom of a group of “wild” wasabi plants growing in quite a dry shady environment in the hills near to Toyota in Japan!


I’m adding below three pictures of a group of wasabi plants growing in quite a dry shady environment in the hills near to Toyota in Japan:

…and a flowering plant in the Kyoto Botanical Gardens:

February barl-emm-otto

A multispecies barlemmotto for dinner last night. Barlemmotto? Think risotto made instead with wholegrain BARley and EMMer wheat grains :)  The ingredients are shown with the pictures!


Enokitake=Velvet Shank=Vintersopp

One of the hardiest fungi appears often midwinter in mild winters.  It is the velvet shank (vintersopp in Norwegian, meaning winter fungus; Flammulina velutipes). The recent mild weather has brought on a flush of this edible species  with many reports on Norwegian fungi groups, and I too found a small group in my garden the other day. It’s difficult to believe that this is the same fungi as Enokitake or Enoki, sometimes offered in supermarkets and one of the most popular cultivated fungi in the Far East (see the last picture below). The cultivated fungi are long and white as they are grown in the dark in an enriched CO2 environment which gives longer stalks .

Edibles & ornamental plants

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