Sunday, 10 April 2011

Today's Bread

White bread dough sprinkled with red onion and olive oil with thyme, rosemary and garlic from the garden. The dough was rolled and topped with sliced Moroccan olives then baked ready for lunch in the garden. The top photo shows the rosemary bush in flower.

An orange tipped butterfly seen in the garden a few days ago

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wild Food part 2

After a few warm Spring days the nettles are starting to grow. This is the common stinging nettle, Urtica dioica. I usually cut the new growth back and put it in a bucket of water. After about 2 weeks this turns into a very strong smelling liquid plant food that gets fed to the roses. This year I thought I would grasp the nettle and make soup! The new leaves are said to be be rich in minerals and vitamins.
so here goes, a panful of Spring nettle tops

cooked together with these ingredients a bay leaf and some thyme, then blitzed till smooth

add some milk and voila , nettle soup with cheese, onion and herb scone.

Delicious, and no it doesn't sting, the cooking takes care of that.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Wild Food

served with smoked trout and boiled egg

These are not just any old leaves, these are organic leaves with a very low carbon footprint. They have travelled just a few feet rather than food miles and can be eaten fresh within seconds of picking.The taste is peppery, similar to mustard and cress or rocket and it may well be growing in your garden.

This plant is a member of the mustard family (Cruciferae family) and is native to Europe, Asia and North America. This small plant forms a rosette of leaves at ground level, during Autumn and Winter then from March onwards sends up stems with white flowers made up of 4 petals and provides an early source of nectar for bees and butterflies.
It is Cardamine hirsuta or hairy bittercress but it's not bitter and you would need a magnifying glass to see any hairs!
A long distance runner of the plant world it can produce seed about 5 weeks from germinating. The flowers produce thin seed pods that explode when touched, throwing the seed several feet. It pops up in plant pots, flowerbeds, lawns and cracks in paving.

This wild flower is an invasive weed so I don't encourage it in the garden but it pops up anyway and makes a good alternative to those supermarket pillows of air full of 'designer leaves'
It is the wild version of land cress.

It loves sneaking into overwintering plant pots and has often produced seed before I've even noticed it.