Category Archives: Food

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:

  1. Three species quinoa and Jicama salad
    (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:

Finally, a good reference with lots of recipes is Traditional High Andean Cuisine: Allin Mikuy / Sumak Mikuy


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 +++


The many faces of burdock

One of my favourite multi-purpose vegetables and one of my first unusual vegetables  that I grew in my garden in the 80s was burdock or borre, more specifically various Japanese cultivars of Arctium lappa, hardly used in Europe and North America apart from a few foragers, even though it’s a common wild plant and hardy.  Although it is best known as a root vegetable, there are varieties bred for their leaf petioles and the flower stems are really delicious! If you add to this that the seeds are foraged by various birds like goldfinches and greenfinches in winter in addition to being impressive photogenic plants which tolerated shady conditions, no permaculture garden should be without them!
In the album below are pictures I’ve taken over the years, in my garden, in botanical gardens and in the wild. There follows links to various blog posts about burdock!

Burdock in Japan
Burdock and goldfinches
Greenfinches on burdock
Cardboard and fiberboards from Burdock and about its cultivation
An interesting barlotto (burlotto?)
Perennial Greens June 2015 (including burdock flower stems)
Flower stem sweet and sour
Burdock Flower Stalk Curry
Edinburgh’s Burry Man

Burdock flower stalk curry

This album was first published on FB in June 2012, now “regurgitated” here:
“What for dinner? “Burdock flower stalk, nettle and the onion that nods curry” sounds interesting, so why not. So it was to be… I had completely missed this amazing vegetable and this experiment was prompted by foraging author Leda Meredith waxing eloquent about it a few days ago, so thanks to her. How did I miss it? Well, Cornucopia II doesn’t mention this part being eaten, just the leaf stalks – I’d tried them and they were fiddly to peel and bitter. The flower stalks were easy to prepare and once peeled had an excellent sweet crunchy taste with no bitterness.”

Cicoria Fantastica!

I love chicories, a huge diversity of vegetable and wild forms, some perennial, hearting types, dandelion like types, various colour forms often like this one splashed with colour, varieties used as root vegetables, coffee surrogate types, forms for winter forcing, hardy, tasty, healthy, beautiful when flowering (both white, red, blue and pink forms are available) and there are no pests or diseases here…what isn’t there to like about them?
I harvested them for storing in my cold cellar and forcing later on in the season. This one was used in an Indian curry with barley “rice”.


Extreme salad film

On 19th May 2017, filmakers Ane Mari Aakernes and Berit Børte of Grow UP City filmed me in the garden collecting ingredients for an extreme salad, made with 211 different plants, almost all of them perennials. I’m told that almost all the ingredients are shown in this 6 part film, so settle down and join me in foraging my maximum diversity edible garden where the focus is on sustainable, nature and climate friendly, perennial vegetables ….. :)