Tag: Protea cyneroides

Wild food supper

We recently had some friends in the field (pun intended) over for a wild food supper.

I thought I’d share with you some of the dishes we ate.

But first the prep. Gathering ingredients for wild foods is fun and adventurous and sometimes a little crazy.

Like surfing for our seaweed, or in this case, climbing up a ladder to collect the dried Strelitzia nicolai flowers towering overhead. You can eat the fresh seeds raw and the dried ones can be ground up and used as a flour. Just remember to leave more than you collect.

Strelitzia nicolaiStrelitzia nicolia dried flowers heads

Then you have to brave the bugs and spiders to find the beautiful golden fynbos pirate treasure inside the very hard seed pods.

Strelitzia seedsStrelitzia n. seeds

The seeds are like little hard black coffee beans with a white inside that can be ground up. The gorgeous orange fluff attached to them is the aril that is also edible. It’s a lot of work for a small amount of flour, but a labour of love is usually delicious!

wild food dessertAgar agar and strawberry brule w. Carissa macrocarpa flower and Strilitzia shortcake

Pictured above on the left you can see the final product…I used the flour to make a shortcake and included the aril for added edible decoration.

So now I will backtrack to the starters. Sorry. Its like reading one of those books that the beginning is in the middle and you start at the end and finish in the future. Confusing and edgy. Exciting and wonderful –ย  like these sweet and salty seaweed nutsSeaweed nuts

This a super easy, highly tasty snack to make. Whether you are hosting a Rugby Watching Braai or a Canape and Cocktail Soiree, these will go down a treat.

Using freshly washed and rinsed sea lettuce or Ulva, chop up a cup full and toss with assorted nuts. season with sea salt and sugar and pop in the oven on a low heat until the nuts are golden brown and the seaweed is crispy.

Yum.

We also enjoyed oven baked periwinkle and seaweed samoosas

Periwinkle samoosas

Periwinkle samoosasPeriwinkle and seaweed samoosas

Seaweed couscous salad – get the recipe here.

Couscous seaweed saladUlva couscous salad with wild garlic flowers

Never-fail-to-please ruby relish on Bree

Carissa and beetroot relish on breeCarissa macrocarpa berry and beetroot relish topped with Carissa bispinosa berries.

Wild garlic rolls and farm butter

Tulbaghia rollsTulbaghia violacea rolls

These were used to mop up the exquisite juices of the mussels….

Musssels and spekboomMussels in a creamy white wine sauce with garlic, thyme, Salvia chamelaeagnea, Portulacaria afra and whole baby onions.

For dips we had Morogo, Wild garlic and King Protea seed pesto and a Wild sage sour cream

Morogo pesto and salvia sour creamMorogo, Tulbaghia violacea and Protea cyneriodes seed pesto. Sheeps milk sour-cream flavoured with Salvia dentata.

We hope this inspires you to be creative and adventurous with your cooking this year –

Happy 2014!

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Veggies and Composting in Spring

We have been working hard in our veggie gardens, getting them looking beautiful for our Forage, Harvest and Feast courses and as tasty as possible for us to eat from everyday – its a real working garden. Baby girl knows that if she find a packet and puts on her boots, she can get a tasty snack. “Peas!” she shouts, banging on the door. Its one of her first words. “More!” is another one.ImageSnack time!CompostHere is our rich, warm compost pile. When it gets turned over, you can see the steam billowing out.

Its beautiful. But its hard work. It’s really like having another pet.

You have to feed it and make sure it doesn’t get too hot or too cold and that it gets enough nutrients and oxygen. The optimum temperature for a compost pile is about 60 degrees so that the pathogens and weed seeds are inactivated. It gets nice and cosy like this because of all the microorganisms eating away at the degradable matter. Id love to finish off a stew or even a pot of rice in there one day!

But if you have a big old dry compost heap, it can even catch on fire in hot weather – seriously.

You can read all about it here. If you want something cute on compost Q and A, then check this out.

If it gets too cold, it will slow down the composting process and stop it doing its job. If it gets too hot, the poor little microbes die. We definitely don’t want that to happen, so we have to turn over the compost pile regularly. And ifย  the compost doesn’t get enough nutrients or air it wont work either.

I could go on for ever. There is so much more. But I don’t want to bore you with a big pile of know-you-know-what.

CabbagesPretty maids, I mean cabbages, all in a row

Broad beans and leeksBroad beans and Leeks

Veggie gardenCalendula, Lavender, Artemesia, Onions, Thyme, Lemon Pelargonium and Rosemary.

ArtichokesThe first beautiful Artichokes of the season

Veggie gardenCalendula, Borage, black Mustard and Swiss Chard

How many recipes have you got in your head now? I just have to see plants, any edible plants, and my mouth starts drooling with all the recipes going through my mind. You know the Matrix movie with all those green numbers and letters whizzing down the screen? It’s like that in my mind, except those numbers are all plant combos and recipes. Totally normal.

Protea cyneroidesI’ll end off with a photo of our stunning King Protea which flowers at the same time every year without fail, heralding the beginning of Spring.

Happy gardening!