Archive for the ‘Food Foraging’ Category

I made this Elixir for the first time last year in preparation for winter colds and flu etc. mainly knowing that the Elderberry Syrup I made only has a shelf life in the fridge of about 3 months brought me to look for a longer lasting remedy, the Elixir is suggested to last for a year (due to alcohol being the preservative instead of Sugar).

All that I can say from not only my own experience albeit for only one Winter season, is that I also have spoken with Qualified Herbalists who have used and recommend this exact recipeit did work very well for my own family during last winter.

Winter Ailment Elixir

Elderberry Elixir for Winter Ailment Remedy

You Will Need:

  • Enough Elderberries to fill your chosen Jar / Bottle,
  • Rum or Brandy (one third of the jar),
  • Port (also a third of the jar),
  • Raw Honey from someone local (the final third of the jar),
  • 12x Cloves,
  • 10-15x Peppercorns,
  • Large Cinnamon Stick,

Method:

  • Remove the berries from all stalks as much as possible and place them in your jar (preferably to almost fill the jar up to the curve in the neck), add in the spices,
  • Pour your Rum or Brandy so it fills around one-third of the jar whilst the berries are still inside, fill the second third with Port and follow the last third of the jar with the Raw Honey – stir very gently with a wooden spoon or glass rod,
  • Seal the Jar and give it a lovingly gentle shake everyday at least once, do this for one month to around 6 weeks after which, you will strain all of the liquid into a muslin cloth or bag so you can squeeze as much out as you can, re-bottle it and label with the date.

Use / Dosage:

  • This is a remedy so you use it mostly when you get sick, once the symptoms are obvious then take a half to full teaspoon three to four times a day until you are better, dilute for kids and even better, just add it into something that they are already consuming if possible such as a berry juice or smoothie.

 

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I didn’t have much time today at the allotment, it was basically a quick W.H,R .. (Water, Harvest … Run) session, in order to make sure I take time for myself and cool down a bit – I took  my camera along for some progress pictures.

Harvest 05 Aug 18.JPG

9 different ”things” were harvested today, (my dried Lemon Balm is not in the picture):

  1. Tomato ‘Purple Ukraine’ – the big redish split tomatoes in the left of the pic,
  2. Aztec Broccoli – the bunch of flower tips in the top left,
  3. Czar Runner Beans – the green beans,
  4. Purple French Beans,
  5. Belleville Sorrel (perennial)- the large leaves on the right,
  6. Salad Burnet (Perennial) – the jagged-edged leaves below the Sorrel (Is also a wild flower),
  7. Fennel – next to the Salad Burnet,
  8. Over-ripe tomatoes (Purple Ukraine and Bush Legend) – these are to save seed from
  9. A batch of shed-dried Lemon Balm for tea

The tomatoes must have been a little bit dry so when we had that rain the other day the fruits then split, nevertheless I cut out the manky bits and chopped the rest up to be used either in a soup or pasta dish. I’m contemplating using the beans to make a jar of pickled beans for winter storage as I should still get loads off of the upcoming bean plants – the Sorrel, Fennel and Salad Burnet were pretty much devoured today in a very nice Salad everyone enjoyed.

Thinking back, I could have probably kicked over one or two of the Potato planters to get a harvest, that’s the good thing about Potatoes, they stay in until you need them – this year I have made pretty decent effort in potato production, there are two planters at home (one only went in recently), 3 planters on the allotment and one group in the ground that is the most recent of the Allotment potatoes – I placed these in a companion planting / support guild with the Purple French Beans

Food foraging wise, I found a nice fig tree local to my workplace and managed perhaps half a kilo of fruit from it, as much as I’d like to make a fig only jam, this really isn’t enough so I may experiment with Fig, Blackberry and Elderberry mix or perhaps just head over to a veg shop and buy another half-kilo to make the jam? ….

Decisions .. decisions

Here in the UK we have a brand of non-animal meat substitute called Quorn, they do a Vegan range other than their normal vegetarian meat substitute products. It is made from Mycoprotein which according to my research is made from a fungi called ‘fusarium venenatum’, once the fermentation process has finished, it can either be Vegan by seasoning and mixing with Potato Protein or just Vegetarian by mixing with free range egg. Quorn is used as the meat substitute in this recipe, however please note, I am not a Vegan and, as I couldn’t get hold of the Vegan Minced ”Beef” from my regular shop, I used the egg based one – there are also other brands of Meat Free alternatives out there, the market is growing …

 

 

I have started using Non-Meat alternatives mainly because of the fact that most farm animals in the UK and Europe have been fed with GMO feed for many years despite the general opposition to GMO ”technology”, the other alternative if you can afford it is to buy only Organic Meat products.

I use Bolognese sauce not only as a nice family dinner but also ensure to bulk it up a lot so that I can freeze perhaps 2 or maybe 3 takeaway containers full of the lef-tovers for future last-minute quick dinners or for work lunch (In a food flask).

Another option if you don’t have a lot left over, is to chop up the pasta and mix it into the remaining sauce, you can throw this into a container in the fridge and can use it as a toasted sandwich filling the next day!

Ingredients:

  • Pack of Vegan or Vegetarian ”Beef” (Usually 300g),
  • Spagetti or Fuscilli etc,
  • Peas,
  • 1 or half of an Aubergine (Egg plant / Brinjal),
  • 2-3 Tbsp Lentils (Any colour),
  • 3 Tbsp Bulgar Wheat (Optional, but helps to bulk it up),
  • Chopped Onion,
  • Tin of Organic Chopped Tomatoes,
  • Bottle of Organic Passata (Not entirely necessary but makes it nicer),
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree,
  • Salt, Pepper and Italian herbs such as Basil, Oregano and Rosemary
  • Nettle Seeds (Optional – these need to be foraged, they are already available Now due to the weird season we have had this year – June 2018)
  • Optional – if needed, you may find this recipe to be quite sharp / sour, if so you might need to sweeten it a little bit, I recommend using ketchup instead of sugar

Method:

  1. Throw in some Olive Oil into a decent sized Medium – Large pot, heat up and add in your Meat or Substitute, cook for a few minutes then take out and place in a temporary bowl,
  2. add a cup or slightly more of water into the same pot and cook the Lentils and Bulgar Wheat, you can sprinkle in the nettle seeds if using any, cook for 10 or so minutes, then scoop out into the same bowl as the Meat or Substitute – it does not matter if there is any water remaining,
  3. Add more Olive Oil and fry the Chopped Onion and Chopped Aubergine (Brinjal / Eggplant), cook until the Aubergine is lightly brown but mostly soft throughout – you can add in some salt here if you like, perhaps some spices like Paprica,
  4. Add in the Passata and tin of Chopped Tomatoes, as well as the tomato puree, you can throw in some stock too at this point (Beef stock for non-vegan and Vegetable stock for everyone else) – Creating liquid stock from store-bought product is quite easy, I will post soon on this subject,
  5. Once all is mixed in, throw in your herbs and add the bowl of ”Meat / Substitute” and Lentils / Wheat, mix all in and let simmer for 30 mins to an hour – in the meantime you can heat a pot of water to cook your chosen pasta in.
  6. For further bulking up, you can also throw in some Grated Carrot (Don’t use more than half a carrot), chopped celery, Courgette (Zucchini) etc! Try not to skip the Aubergine, they really do add a great taste to this recipe!
  7. Serve and Enjoy!
Bolog Finished.JPG

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

For all of my recipes including Vegan, Cakes, cough / cold medicines, jams & Jelly, Chutneys, Soups, Pies, Smoothies, Cider and Vinegar, Wine and CompotesClick Here.

This recipe is actually a non-vegan smoothie which I adapted after having vegan friends around whom I didn’t know yet were vegans!

bbs

Vegan Blackberry Smoothie

  • A cup full of Berries (Preferably from last year’s food foraging?),
  • A cup full of Fresh Apple Juice,
  • 1x Ripe Banana,
  • Not necessary but, honey to add in if you or your expected guest/s have a sweet tooth (usually about 1tsp to 1 tbsp depending how keen you are on your dentist!),
  • For Non-Vegan, add half to one cup natural yogurt,
  • Optional: Pre-soaked Nettle seeds and/or chia seed, you could even throw in some home made Elderflower Cordial!

Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and serve – honestly, honey is not necessary as the apple juice and banana are more than enough for sweetener.

If you find yourself saying that this is not sweet enough, then you should look at gradually reducing your sugar intake. The way I reduced my sugar was to have half a teaspoon less in my tea / coffee and every few months reducing a bit more, I am now down to no sugar at all in tea and only one teaspoon in a coffee. I can now have a little as a teaspoon of honey in my morning porridge – compared to the early / mid nineties where I would have 2-3 Tablespoons in a cereal.

Hi all, I know, it’s been long! Busy is again, the usual excuse …

Here is a quick update on early – mid year harvesting, I waited longer than usual to plant out my squash family plants and it paid off! Although I still had them out much earlier than what seed companies and most gardening books in the UK recommend. Basically, I try to plant out say one third of my squash every year (Courgettes (Zucchini), Cucumbers, Pumpkins and the other unusual ones (Such as my Summer Crookneck) – with the other two thirds to go in a few weeks later, you always still have the time to germinate the first third again if the first batch fail.

harvest june 18.JPG

Salad, Herb and Veg Harvest – Permaculture Organics – June 2018

After chatting with a fellow allotmenteer, he told me that he came across some older information which shows that our area has never had frost anytime in May as per records – which now means anything recommended to plant ”later on in may after the last frost dates” can be pushed a few weeks forward with some small risk possibility.

Anyway,to the main story, whilst almost all of my fellow allotmenteers are only just planting out their squash, I’ve already been harvesting!! In the above photo there is some fresh Lemon Balm (for calming tea), Terragon (cooking herb – I have added this into tea as well), Sorrel (Sour, as a salad addition) and 4.5 Courgettes (one had a bit of rot on the blossom end). I have a larger batch of Lemon Balm drying in the shed at the allotment, I just wanted some to bring home fresh.

Foraging wise, I have been able to get hold of Tilia Flower for tea (Linden tree – known incorrectly as Lime tree, latin= ‘Tilia cordata’), this makes a very soothing, calming subtle tea and is probably my favorite tea – mix with Lemon Balm too! Elderflower has been harvested and kept in the freezer (might try make the wine again, if not, there are other recipes especially a cordial I want to try out).

In the kitchen, I have produced three batches of Jam so far, the first was the rushed Dandelion Flower jam which I made a few jars that should last until next year, the second was a Strawberry jam from store bought berries, then again more Strawberry as a friend who has another allotment not far from my neighbourhood went on holiday and aid I’m welcome to go there to pick them, all in all I think I got at leat 4 kg of Strawberries on the two occasions I went there. So the second batch of jam was inevitably made from Organic / Semi Organic strawberries which were sweeter, I decided to reduce the sugar content by 250-300 grams and my jam still set fine!

Finally, another thing to note – in the above photo, of all four produce harvested, Three are perennials! Permaculture emphasizes on the importance of Perennials in a food producing system… and for good reasons.

 

There I was thinking I have already posted this recipe years ago, so making this tonight I had a look and yep, not shared this one yet!

mushy soop

The Vegan option, as well as the milk instead of pouring cream, are all my own adaptions. This is a great recipe that can be changed to suit your own needs or taste as I discovered when tasting it before the blending stage …

What’ needed:

  • 500g Mushrooms, I recommend mixing two varieties,
  • 50g soft butter (Use oil for vegan version),
  • 1x Onion Chopped,
  • 1 Ltr Vegetable Stock (powdered stock makes 1 ltr with 4x level teaspoons),
  • 150ml pouring cream or full cream milk (Skip step for Vegan recipe),
  • 3x tbsp general flour,
  • Salt and Pepper,
  • Garnish with chopped parsley,

Method:

  1. Chop the mushrooms and cook for 5 min’s in half of the butter / oil, chop your onion whilst cooking the mushrooms.
  2. Remove the mushrooms from the pot with a spoon leaving as much of the juice in the pot, now add rest of the butter . oil, the onions and cook for a few min’s.
  3. Add in one tablespoon of flour whilst stirring the onions, keep adding until all three tablespoons have been added, keep stirring and cook for 1-2 mins,
  4. Add in the 1ltr of Vegetable Stock, the mushrooms and cook for 10-12 min’s, afterwards, remove and blend until smooth (Skip this step if you prefer a textured/ chunky soup) – Vegans stop here, serve with some chopped parsley, check the taste and add in salt / pepper if necessary and enjoy!!
  5. Add in the pouring cream or full cream milk together with the blended soup, return to the pot and cook for a further 5mins or so, check your seasonings and serve with chopped parsley … this recipe, as with most soup recipes, goes very well with buttered French Bread

Notes:

Some brands of Vegetable Stock can be quite salty so you could find you don’t even have to add any salt to the soup! A healthier brand I use and recommend is Marigold Organic Swiss Buillon.

I have been making Apple Cider (even a semi Pear Cider) and Cider Vinegar using a very very very veeerrrry simple recipe now for 3 years running, so simple in fact that you Do Not Need a Fruit Press!

Young Organic Apple Jonagold on an urban Permaculture Farm

Organically Grown Jonagold Apples – Cider & Vinegar Making

What you need is: Apples, Water, Container/s (5ltr / 1 Gal), Sugar (1 Cup), Knife with Chopping board … and Time – That’s It!

What I recommend is to get hold of a few different varieties of apple (even some pears), try your best not to use only one apple variety.

Click the Link Here for the full recipe with explanation between Cider only and Cider Vinegar as the final result.