Category Archives: Food

More Fast Slow Food

Fast Slow Food: From garden to table in 20 minutes or less…
As related in my book and my talks over the years, some of the best food is in this category and one common way of using wild and garden veggies in the Mediterranean countries is simply to gather a selection of greens, boil and fry in olive oil with garlic and chili, mix with scrambled eggs. Two of the wild foraged species mentioned at the beginning of the Mediterranean chapter are
a) Clematis vitalba (Old man’s beard / Tyskklematis)….must be boiled to detoxify as it’s related to buttercups (smørblomst)
b) Anchusa azurea (large blue alkanet): quote from the book “Anchusa azurea is a perfect perennial edimental with superb azure-blue flowers in summer. Young leaves and flowering shoots of this species and others in the same family have been gathered from the wild in most Mediterranean countries. In Cyprus, for example, they were boiled alone, boiled with beans or fried. Like its annual cousin borage, Borago officinalis, the flowers are an attractive addition to salads or just freeze them in ice-cubes.”

Belated happy birthday to me

The first veggie food I ate was macaroni cheese and chips at Edwin Jones (now Debenhams) in Southampton, a treat when we Mum took us shopping back in the 60s…

Most years since I’ve followed this tradition on or near my birthday, no chips this year as the potatoes have run out and nowadays the macaroni cheese is mixed with masses of green stuff both from the garden and, yesterday, fiddleheads harvested on the Homla walk. This is more or less the only time in the year I have dessert and the only time I eat sugar…in rhubarb crumble, also with family roots back to the 60s :)

rhubarb crumble, also with family roots back to the 60s :)

 

Karvekaalsuppe

One of the joys of spring is traditional Norwegian Karvekaalsuppe (caraway green soup), last night’s dinner. This was one of the first wild plants I domesticated in my garden for the soup, leaving some for seed later (used on bread, in curry spice mixes, ferments etc.). I simply collected a large bowl full of leaves with the top of the roots attached. I then made a butter and wholegrain Svedjerug (old Norwegian rye flour) roux with garlic, water and caraway greens, adding a hard boiled egg to the soup…
Learn much more about this great multipurpose vegetable in my book Around the World in 80 plants!

Heavy ground elder bread

I’ve never seen real bread for sale, you can tell from the weight. The loaves I made yesterday weighted in at over 1.5kg! This sourdough was made from a selection of whole grain organic flours (yesterday’s pizza dough was taken from the proving dough) including: coarse rye, emmer, barley, coarse spelt, svedjerug and a few barley and svedjerug grains and fresh ground elder (skvallerkål) mixed in at the end!

At least the ground elder and seed toppings were home grown, from left to right – caraway (karve), opium poppy (opiumvalmue) and greater plantain (groblad) / Plantago major 

Happy Habby Pizza

Last night’s dinner was a 100% wholegrain sourdough pizza with Hablitzia, four cheese and poppy seed topping…
The dough was made from a selection of whole grain organic flours including: coarse rye, emmer, barley, coarse spelt, svedjerug and a few barley and svedjerug grains added.
It was accompanied by a blanched salad – sea kale, dandelion “Vert de Montmagny Ameliore” and Allium tuberosum!
Sooooo tasty….

The Hablitzia once again impresses with its incredible productivity and early growth in one of the driest, shadiest places in the garden!

Spring Ryotto

We’re now going into a period traditionally called the hungry gap, but in my eyes it’s the Full gap, the period with an abundance of vegetables, both perennial wild and cultivated edibles. Yesterday’s dinner was a ryotto (risotto with rye rather than rice). In the last few days, many of these early spring permaveggies have put on a growth spurt! I photographed most of the ingredients in the garden first.

Noxious pizza

I’m still alive and well after last night’s noxious pizza. I’ll explain. I used pea shoots from the living room, onion, Allium cernuum shoots harvested from the garden (I forgot to include Hablitzia shoots), garlic and chili…on top of the pizza, I added seed of Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), one of the “worst” noxious (invasive) species…

 

Around the Year with Quinoa in Malvik

Quinoa had been used as an annual grain crop in the Andes since ancient times, and was domesticated at least 4,000 years ago. Around 1990, I received seeds of a variety from Southern Chile called Dave (Linares 407) from the UK, where this short season variety was being trialled by the UK organic organisation Henry Doubleday Research Association. From the start and to my surprise, it gave some yield every year in my garden at 63.5N on the Trondheimsfjord. I never grew more than 40-50 plants, often less, due to space limitations and the fact that, in some years, yield was poor as damp autumn weather resulted in seeds sprouting and going mouldy before harvest. I tried various other varieties such as Chadmo, Kcoito and Temuco, but Dave gave a better yield. In the process of saving seed every year, I’ve grown it every year since I first got the seed and have selected it over the years (mostly unconsciously) and have therefore developed my own variety, which is now known as Stephe and is nowadays grown successfully by a number of growers in the Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) network. Seed is available through the KVANN yearbook.

I don’t know how true the story of the variety Dave recounted below in the Adaptive seeds catalogue (Oregon, USA) – I’ve heard different opinions of this: “This is our favorite quinoa because of its unique history and excellent performance here on the Willamette Valley floor. Golden orange seeds. 4-5′ tall plants with seed heads that turn vivid orange when ripe. High yielding when compared to other quinoa grown here in low elevations. Short season. Open seed heads resist late season damp weather. Collected in southern Chile. Named after quinoa collector and advocate David Cusack, who was murdered in Bolivia in 1984. There is anecdotal evidence that he was murdered by “business interests” that felt threatened by the solidarity amongst quinoa growing campesinos. Others believe he was murdered due to his activism and research surrounding the CIA’s role in the overthrow of Chilean president Salvador Allende. All very mysterious.”
Below is a series of pictures taken during the year in Malvik over the years. You may also be interested in the following blog posts about this amazing and nutritious plants:

1. Cleaning Quinoa Seed: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=9083

  1. Three species quinoa and Jicama salad http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?attachment_id=9925
    (this is from a blog post “Jicama-Ahipa a la Henry Quinoa”)
    (The most interesting perennial grain crop for cold climates is quinoa’s cousin Good King Henry, Chenopodium bonus-henricus……I have started collecting different accessions of this plant with the idea to select Henry Quinoa, a potential future super-grain for arctic conditions! The common weed Chenopodium album is also surprisingly productive…what it we had selected that as a grain?)
  2. Home grown Quinoa patties: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=9020

Finally, a good reference with lots of recipes is Traditional High Andean Cuisine: Allin Mikuy / Sumak Mikuy  http://www.fao.org/3/a-i1466e.pdf

 

Thanksgiving Quiche

I contributed this quiche for the Thanksgiving dinner in Hurdal, you might be able to see the word “Takk” (Thanks) written in seeds; T – alpine bistort / harerug bulbils (brown) and AKK – dark poppy seeds; with 100% coarse whole grain emmer wheat / naked barley / rye pastry, with swiss chard, chicory, spring onions, onion, garlic, chantarelle, chili, blue cheese, 5 tomatoes, Begonia and common mallow flowers +++

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