Category Archives: Perennial vegetables

Naturalised Allium victorialis in Hardanger, Norway

In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations).  It’s found in a damp wood (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven. Please refer to my book Around the World in 80 plants for more information about this fantastic onion!! This onion can grow both in shady and full sun localities:

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In a local garden

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Forced blanched Udo Baccalao

Inspired by my visit in the spring to Tokyo’s underground blanching of Udo (Aralia cordata), see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=8299, I dug up a couple of roots in the autumn for indoors forcing.  I kept them cold in the cellar until about a month ago and then progressively moving  them first to a cool room at about 10C and then the living room at about 18C when I’m at home  (about the same temperature as down the Udo underground forcing caverns!)
I used them both in salads and also in a mixed vegetable baccalao dish. Baccalao is a Norwegian / Portuguese stew based on dried and salted cod.

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Roots dug up in the autumn and planted in a large bucket which was put in my cold cellar for 4 months

 

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Shoots appearing in my living room with another bucket over the top to keep light out! Note the thin white shoots appearing around the edges…this reminds me of the video from Mountain Gardens telling that Udo spreads by rhizomes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNzCpfSQWks&feature=youtu.be
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Tasty blanched Udo was used to decorate the salad I made for Credo Restaurant in Trondheim during the Kosmorama festival!
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Blanched Udo at the back!

 

 

 

 

 

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I didn’t use all the shoots and I let two continue to grow and was used this week in a Baccalao dish

 

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Ingredients in the Udo Baccalao dish including odds and ends left in the cellar, forced dandelion (top right), Jerusalem artichokes, Udo, chicories, turnips, Tragopogon, burdock, leeks and carrots

 

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Forced blanched dandelions with flower buds

 

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Assembling the baccalao with Udo on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extreme winter record salad

 

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Proof one more time that north is best for growing a diversity of tasty salad greens ;)  Presenting (and claiming) my new world winter salad diversity record, a salad with over 140 ingredients all harvested locally without using any additional energy than is available in my house and cellar (no greenhouse; no freezer; no fermenting involved and only dried fruit and seed used apart from fresh vegetables!). Despite the snow cover I was able to harvest some 20-30 edibles outside. More on how this can be done will be the subject of a separate post!

The salad was presented and eagerly devoured by those who had bought tickets for the Gourmet Cinema event on 9th March 2017 as part of the Trondheim Kosmorama Film Festival! It went so quickly, I didn’t even get a taste myself!

The film was followed by a Food talk with a panel including the film’s director Michael Schwarz, the head chef at Credo Heidi Bjerkan, myself and Carl Erik Nielsen Østlund, the owner of the biodynamic organic farm that supplies much of the food to Credo, moderated by Yoshi!

http://kosmorama.no/en/2016/12/gourmet-cinema-in-defense-of-food

As Michael Pollan concludes in the film:
Eat Food, Not too much and (as many as possible) mostly vegetables!

The day before, I had prepared a 105 ingredient salad for the festival dinner at Credo restaurant (http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10184). While preparing that salad, I made a second salad with the same 105 ingredients…and then added almost 40 additional ingredients that I hadn’t had time to harvest the day before!

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Kosmorama/ Credo diversity dinner #1

Last night (8th March 2017) was the first of two events I had been asked to take part in celebrating the diversity of vegetables that our area has on offer (or could have on offer) even in winter! The Trondheim Kosmorama international film festival are showing two films related to food. Last night, the film “NOMA: My perfect storm” was shown and around 40 people also bought tickets to a fantastic 10-15 course, 4 hour meal (I lost count) at Trondheim’s NOMA: Credo!
I supplied a number of vegetables for the dinner and these are shown here, several being served for the first time in Norway :)
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All the veggies including Primula elatior (oxlip / hagenøkleblom flowers)
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Blanched dandelions (løvetann)
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Oca, ulluco, Hablitzia shoots (stjernemelde) and Chicago onio
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Blanched horseradish (top left) with blanched wild dandelion, Aleksandra garlic bulbil sprouts, Chicago onion (Allium cernuum), different types of Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) and Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus – green tubers)
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Sweet cicely / spansk kjørvel seed sprouts at the top with blanched horseradish shoots at bottom and blanched wild dandelion on the right

The perennial self-fertilising vegetable gardens of Langeland

Having completed my course at Naturplanteskolen and guided walk at Grennessminde in August 2016, I was “rewarded” by being taken on a botanical excursion to the island Langeland. These pictures were taken at the north tip of the island which had a luxurious seaweed fertilised vegetation of some familiar perennial vegetables! Thanks to Aiah Noack of Naturplanteskolen :)

 

Directions for the culture of sea kale from 1799!

In my book, I wrote the following in my account about Sea Kale (Crambe maritima):
“Domestication of sea kale (in the UK) seems largely to have been due to the efforts of the botanist William Curtis, who was Praefectus Horti at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London in the 1770s. It is still grown there (see photo 7). He wrote a pamphlet, ‘Directions for the culture of the Crambe maritima or Sea Kale, for the use of the Table’ in 1799 to bolster his efforts in introducing it as a market vegetable”

I’ve now finally managed to get a copy of it thanks to a coincidental meeting with Sheila John of the Curtis museum in Alton, Hampshire who attended a talk I gave at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in May 2015 (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=1281). We kept in touch and I will actually be giving a talk at the Curtis Museum on 27th April!  The museum kindly purchased a copy of the pamphlet on Sea Kale from the Natural History Museum in London and sent me the pdf copy which you can download below!

A great little historical docment, here are a few quotes which I found interesting:

“Brassica dobrica: kale found at Dover (Dover Cole)”

 “…….in some grounds a troublesome weed” !

 “Authors describe a variety with jagged leaves, such we have not seen….”

 “As an article of food, Crambe maritima appears to be better known here than in any other part of Europe.

”..on many parts of the sea-coast, especially of Devonshire, Dorsetshire and Sussex, the inhabitants for time immemorial, have been in the practice of procuring it for their tables, preferring it to all other greens”

“The more curious, desirous of having it  near at hand…..have now in many of the maritime counties introduced it to their gardens, and in Devonshire particularly, almost every gentleman has a plantation of it….we have been informed it has for many years been cultivated for sale in the neighbourhood of Bath”

“My friend Mr. Wm.Jones of Chelsea tells me he saw bundles of it in a cultivated state exposed for sale in Chichester market, in the year 1753”

 

Download (PDF, 4.89MB)