Category Archives: Food

Pizza Hemerocallis

Tonight’s pizza ingredients found on a random forage in the garden: 3 different day lily species flower buds, including the first yellow Hemerocallis altissima, H. citrina (in the middle) with Malva moschata and M. alcea, second flush nettles, Campanula trachelium (new leaves after cutting down), Sonchus oleraceus (common sow thistle) and broad beans, with shallots, garlic, chili, oregano and topped with the year’s first poppy seed!

Veggie wholegrain pizza with New Zealand Spinach

My daughter asked if we’d like to come and join her and her friend in Napolitana (the village pizza restaurant). We were actually just about to eat pizza with new zealand spinach (NZ spinat), broad beans (bondebønner), Johannes shallots (Sankthans-sjalott), patience dock (hagesyre), sea kale (strandkål) and steinsopp (cep / porcini) topping with Hartington Silver thyme (timian) in the tomato sauce with chili….on a sourdough pizza made with 100% wholegrain barley (bygg), svedjerug (Svedje rye), spelt and emmer wheat.
We ate at home!

Saskatoons and salad

At the weekend at the Permalin Farm summer festival I met an English-German couple Johnny and Anna who were on a long campervan holiday in Norway, doing some wwoofing along the way. They had heard about the festival when they were in Balestrand (Sognefjord) and were recommended that they should try to visit me. They found my web site and discovered I was giving a course at the weekend and signed up!
They asked on Sunday if they could come and see my garden yesterday and said they were happy to help a bit too. We were planning to pick berries, so after the garden tour, we picked saskatoons / søtmispel (Amelanchier spp.).
The berries are now being dried!
For lunch we made an multispecies salad with Linbakst bread (100% linseed bread from the farm where we had the course). More pictures at the bottom.

…and the salad

Happy trails, guys!

Sonchus and Basil Pesto

Common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) is now in season in my garden another plant categorised by most as a weed, but for me one of the most important vegetables in my garden from now until autumn. It even saves me work as the only thing I have to do is NOT weed it!! It is at its best when the leaves are shiny:

I made a sow thistle basil pesto last night together with basil grown in my office at the botanical gardens! I’m an office basil grower of over 40 years, having started when I was a student in 1978 (see  http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=5221, where I made pesto and Allium wallichii, the Sherpa or Nepal onion)
Last night I used garlic and more Johannes’ shallots (Allium x cornutum; see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=22601)

Shungiku Soba

I have a special fascination for vegetables that are superstars in one part of the world but hardly known in others and one of those is garland chrysanthemum or crown daisy (Glebionis coronaria / Chrysanthemum coronarium) a wild and extremely common herb of early spring in Mediterranean countries, often growing in large quantities, and commonly available in supermarkets in Japan where it’s known as  shungiku. It had started to become available in Europe in vegetable catalogues in the 1970s and became known as chopsuey greens. I started growing it in the 1980s, not very successfully as it went quickly to seed in our long northern summer days, better in the years when I had a greenhouse in which I could sow in March.

This year, I started seed very early indoors and plants have for the first time been quite productive. Last night I made a soba (buckwheat pasta dish) with stir fried chopsuey greens and garlic scapes (with white wine, ginger, chili and soy sauce as flavourings). Chopsuey greens have a similar “aromatic” taste common to many other Asteraceae, including perennials like Aster scaber, Aster tripolium and Ligularia fischeri.  Try substituting these perennials  in chopsuey greens recipes.

I wrote an article about shungiku in the Norwegian herb magazine Grobladet, see

Shungiku article

At the time, I couldn’t find much evidence of this plant having been used traditionally in the Mediterranean countries. However, thanks to the many ethnobotanical studies over recent years to document the Mediterranean diet, it has now been registered as eaten both raw and cooked  both in Spain, Italy (including Sicily) , in a number of studies in Turkey as well as Palestine and Morocco. It is also sometimes cultivated.
More specifically, leaves and young shoots are used in the Mediterranean countries in salad (both raw and cooked), in pies, as a cooked vegetable,  in a Turkish dish unlama (flour, garlic and lemon juice) and in Moroccan bakoula salad, usually made with mallow leaves, but spinach and /or kale are substituted for them (see, for example, http://www.mymoroccanfood.com/home/bakoula-with-spinach-and-kale)

Garlic Barley Weedotto!

The last two nights,  Barley Garlic Weedotto (or Garlic Weed Barlotto) was on the meny at the Edible Garden!
I have a relaxed approach to weeds and weeding and don’t mulch my beds like no dig gardeners do as I consider the weeds to be an important edible resource which increases the yield rather than decreasing as most people think!  If weeding becomes harvesting, it becomes less of a chore!
The greens in the barlotto were mostly weeds harvested when weeding my garlic which has grown well despite the ground cover of weeds (the garlic roots are deeper than the weed roots).

NB! Barlotto (Barley risotto) is a local and more nutritious and healthy food as we can’t grow rice !

Garlic with ground cover of “weeds” ready to harvest
Allium oleraceum (wild onion / villøk), Allium scorodoprasum (sand leek / bendelløk), Stellaria media (chickweed), Urtica dioica (nettle / nesle), Taraxacum officinale (dandelion / løvetann), Urtica urens (annual nettle / smånesle), Scandix pecten-veneris (shepherd’s needle / Venuskam; an endangered annual edible weed of grain fields in the UK, in the carrot family, deliberately introduced as a weed in my garden and encouraged by letting some plants self-sow), Sonchus oleraceus (common sow thistle / haredylle; see my book for more on my most productive and most used “weed”) and Chenopodium album (fat hen / meldestokk)!
Barley Weedotto!
Scandix pecten-veneris (shepherd’s needle / Venuskam) in parsnip / pastinakk
Flowering Scandix pecten-veneris (shepherd’s needle / Venuskam) in a reconstruction of a traditional wheat field in Utrecht Botanical Garden
The characteristic seed heads of Scandix pecten-veneris (shepherd’s needle / Venuskam)