Archives for category: wild food

the prostration zone

Words, food, it all suddenly seems meaningless, ridiculous, after the arrival of a new human being, right in our bedroom, just a few weeks ago. But we’ve got to emerge sometime..

She is The One explosive present moment spectacular road-show happening all day every day (and night). Her whimpers would melt the hardest heart, her screams could break a monk’s order. She has the highest cheek to body-weight ratio of any mammal I’ve ever seen, and she demands (loudly) at least 6 miles of vigorous walking every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s along the headland or around the room, but she can sense the moment i sit down and pretend to be walking.. life is already, never the same again.

she also loves dancing

I could wax on for pages, about her range of wacky expressions, her little mudras, but this is officially a food blog, so better get down to it.

Saturday morning; I was standing in a chaotic kitchen, a spiraliser in my hand, aching for inspiration, looking at breakfast’s leftovers and some random veg. Then something sublime happened..

Cucumber and Pear Udon noodles
with shredded Mint and Dandelion leaves
in Almond and Mead cream ‘soup’

fresh as a surprise kiss on a june afternoon

I used some special ingredients because they happened to be lying around, but i’ve put substitutes below. It’ll still work.

Ingredients

1/2 large cucumber
2 pears
about 20 mint leaves – shredded
about 12 dandelion leaves – shredded (use rocket if you don’t have hedgerow access).

1 cup of Almond milk (or the milk of your choice)
1 tablespoon Moscatel vinegar (or the juice of one lime and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup)
1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup of soaked buckwheat (or soaked sunflower seeds)
1 tablespoon of Honey Mead (or sweet wine or sherry would work – or add a bit more of the lime and honey mix with a dash of cyder vinegar)
The bits of pear and cucumber that don’t make it through the spiraliser (or if your machine does the whole thing, then keep back a little for the dressing).

Instructions
Spiralise the cucumber and pear on the fattest setting (if you don’t have a spiraliser you can grate them) and toss them in half of the Moscatel vinegar (or sweet lime mix) with the shredded dandelions and mint.

In your blender whizz the rest of the ingredients to make the ‘soup’.

Pour over the noodles and serve chilled. (if you’re not chilled when you serve it, you will be when you’ve eaten it..)

It works best alone or as a starter. It only took about 7 minutes.

Here next week, our contrastingly unsentimental Jubilee special..

For now, so long wrigglers.
Deep peace of the snoring babe to you.

Wild garlic pesto

Are you familiar with Ramsons; aka wild garlic? Fortifying and super tasty, you’ll find it in the woodlands or on the waysides, as abundant as the grass. You can eat the leaves, the flowers and the bulbs. This recipe for pesto is quick as an Italian kiss, easy as pesto-pie and universally popular.

2 cups packed wild garlic leaves

2 cups cashew nuts, soaked 4 hrs

¾ cup olive oil

3 tbs lemon juice

4 tbs nutritional yeast flakes

1 ½ tsp salt (or to taste)

Chuck all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the cashews are in little pesto-sized chunks. That’s it. It’ll last for 3 weeks or more in the fridge if you can manage to keep your hands off it.

Gorse flower brazil nut milk

Here by the coast near St Davids we’re surrounded by the constant sunrise of gorse bushes in flower, shrouded in their sweet, coconutty fragrance and bursting with anti-oxidants. I love the look of consternation on the sheep’s faces when we stop to eat them on the moors.

Primroses would be delicious or any other edible flower with a sweet subtle perfume. When you’re picking remember to leave 3/4 or more of the flowers for the bees.

First make brazil nut milk. 1/2 cup brazil nuts (soaked if possible) to 2 cups of water. Whizz in the blender for a good minute or two until all the milk is out of the nuts, then strain off the pulp through a nut milk bag, muslin cloth or fine mesh sieve.

Add a pinch of salt (and a date or two if you want the extra sweetness) then add the gorse flowers – we put in two big fistful’s but even a small handful would give you the amazing colour and a lovely bouquet. Blend til smooth.

You get a ‘head’ of gorse fibre on top which you can skim off (or eat it if you’re a well-seasoned gorse-hound like Charlotte).

Drink. It’s sublime. The perfume wafts up through your head like a mist and any negative ideas drift off in a silent pooff, like dandelion seeds in the breeze, leaving nothing but a soft yellow glow like spring sunshine…

"She was fine when we left home"

Eat wild, become wild.

It works..
You might not believe it until you try it, but the sheer act of wandering out in the morning, snuffling among the hedgerows, and picking these little humble leaves and flowers makes me a bit.. sparky.

I’m stuck in a virtuous cycle. I was all schnoozy when i got back, feeling kind of… old. I forced myself back into the habit of going out and picking for breakfast because I knew the greens were what I needed. It took about 3 days on green smoothies before i was jumping again. Now I’m singing to the little blighters with gratitude. I’m making contact with nature in a new way; I’ve got new friends. Call me crazy or call me wild. I don’t care. They’re free, they’re strong medicine, I can have as much as I want, and I want more and more. I feel less cold. I crave less sweet. My organs are humming…

From left to right: plantain, (something (?!)-wort, cleavers, comfrey

From top left - clockwise: dock, strawberry leaves, dandelion leaves and flowers, nettle tips, clover, primrose flowers, daisies

Clockwise from left: gorse flowers, navelwort, chickweed

In herbal medicine, all these plants are attributed strong healing properties. There are many  good books to guide you for specific conditions, or if you just want to feel more vital and WILD, take my elephant gun approach – eat as much of all of them as you can (being very careful only to eat the ones you recognise please.)

Directions:

1. Nut/seed milk. Blend half a cup of nuts or seeds that have been soaked overnight (and drained) with 2 cups of pure water. Using a muslin cloth or nut milk bag strain the milk from the pulp and set aside. If you like you smoothies thick and super filling then don’t bother with the straining part.

2. Add Fruit. 2 pieces of fruit into your blender will do – apples, pears, bananas, handful of berries – whatever takes your fancy. For extra sweetness add a small handful of dry fruit soaked overnight, with their soak water.

3. Superfoods. We love maca (nice and malty) and spirulina (PROTEIN) at about 1 heaped tsp per person. Also try carob for a chocolatey mood, barley grass powder, lucuma for a bit of butterscotch; pinch a salt or splash of umeboshi plum seasoning (can work wonders), soaked nuts or seeds (these will make it smoother, thicker and pacify the green).

4. Enter the Wild GREENS!

Load up the rest of the blender with as many greens as you and it can handle. If you don’t have a powerful blender then add the greens bit by bit and/ or chop them up first. Whizz and voila!

For beauty, serve in a bowl with a handful of chopped up fruit, and/or sprouts, some whole soaked nuts, seeds, grains (buckwheat’s a favorite), torn up leaves and edible spring flowers (primroses, dandelion, gorse flowers). Go nuts, go  w  i  l  d  …

If you find it too bitter or just plain green, add more fruits. Don’t be put off. It won’t take long before you crave that bitter edge.

These ‘weeds’ were among the herbs cultivated in medicinal gardens at monasteries around the British Isles 1000 years ago and more. Our medicine is in our own hands, close to the ground, at the borders.

Side effects: wildness..