Onion bhajis are a popular and delicious starter in Indian restaurants and common veggie fast food in supermarkets in the UK. They are basically onions in a gram flour batter which are deep fried in oil. Gram flour is made from chick peas. If I could get it, I would prefer to use broad (fava) bean flour which could be grown here in Norway. I have a lot of (bulb) onions left in the cellar, so decided to make some bhajis…..and with my cellar full of sprouting dandelions I decided to mix some dandelions into the batter for a slightly more healthy meal :)
Broad (fava) bean diversity 2018! This was the first harvest at Væres Venner community garden in Trondheim! This is the only (and original) bean for making falafel and hummus! We should be growing large areas of this bean here in Norway for food security and climate friendly vegan food. It annoys me how little self-sufficient Norway is in particular in vegetarian food when it doesn’t need to be that way!
The first harvest at the KVANN vegetable sanctuary garden at Væres Venner was broad beans (bondebønner) from a mixed grex and this was turned into delicious falafels that almost melt in the mouth! The year’s first falafels or hummus is a real highlight of my gardening year…and did you know that the original falafels and hummus were made using broad (fava) beans, sadly replaced by inferior (in my opinion) chick peas….and we can experience this dish fresh even in cold areas where other beans won’t grow!
AND the colour is a natural beautiful green inside….they are often made with some leafy green vegetable added to supply the greeness of the “real” falafel!
NB! Falafel doesn’t have to be ball shaped and deep fried…these are pattie shaped and shallow fried..
A hardy perennial bean has been a wish amongst permaculturists for some years, and one of the most interesting species is Phaseolus polystachios. Jonathan Bates of Paradise Lot fame (with Eric Toensmeier) kindly sent me seed last year. The 2-3 plants sadly all died. This year one of my remaining seed germinated and the resultant plant has grown well, kept indoors all summer.. It is now in full flower in the living room, but has been invaded by aphids. Is it self-fertile?
Here are just a few pictures of lupins I’ve grown in my garden (click the pictures for more information)! Lupins have been grown for food since ancient times in the Mediterranean countries (>3000 years) and in the Andes (>6000 years)….. There’s been an upsurge in interest and cultivation of lupins for food in recent years as they can be made into the gluten-free lupini flour, but some people with peanut allergy (peanut is also a legume) are also allergic to these…look carefully at the ingredient list as lupini flour is even used in Norway!
I’ve never tried Lupinus angustifolius which I’ve heard is cultivated for food in Germany (recently developed low alkaloid varieties)!
However, it’s the development of low alkaloid varieties of perennial Lupinus nootkatensis that I most look forward to trying as there are few perennial bean crops!!
For the first time this year I have two different Yam beans growing in my office in Trondheim, Ahipa and Jicama (Pachyrhizus ahipa og Pachyrhizus erosus). I’ve grown and eaten Jicama before and here’s an album of pictures about my experiences of this delicious vegetable…worth growing for a little taste each year!
In July 2011, I noticed that a beautiful black-flowered broad/fava bean had appeared amongst my Crimson-flowered broad beans (a UK heritage variety that I’ve grown for some years)!
In July 2016, another black-flowered bean appeared (the bottom picture below)
Originally introduced by Alan Kapuler of Peace Seeds, who gave them to me during my visit last September and sowed in my garden today! This a large-seeded tall variety originating in Guatemala ! The bright yellow seeds are reputed to contain elevated levels of dopamine, and may have benefits for those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease….