Tag: Tulbaghia violacea

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 –  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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Foraging and harvesting in the gardens

This post is dedicated to Tai, Thandi, Jack and Rubi

School holidays are viewed with mixed joy and dread. There is the joy of no dark, cold, early morning lunchbox hunts and school runs but with it brings the dread of how to keep such keen little minds entertained the whole day! We kicked off our holiday with a Fynbos Flavour walk and garden tour at the nursery, picking and discovering new smells and tastes and textures. And, of course – getting dirty and eating lots of delicious food. The kids loved every second!

The Fynbos and veg forage and harvest begins….

Picking PelargoniumPicking Pelargonium leaves. The different scented leaves of the Pelargoniums are heavenly in iced teas and baking.

Mentha longifoliaMinty fresh! Indigenous Mentha longifolia.

Wild JasmineSmelling the sweetly perfumed scent of a wild Jasmine flower.

Carissa bushLooking for ripe Num Num or Carissa berries. The white milk that you see when you pick these berries are non toxic. The fruit is delicious and attracts birds and butterflies but this clever bush protects its berries with big spiky thorns.

Sour figSour figs or Carpobrotus edulis. This an amazing all-rounder. It provides snacks, medicine and is a super easy water-wise plant to grow! The tortoises love eating these succulent fleshy leaves.

ChrysanthemoidesSearching for some ripe Tick Berries. The Crysanthemoides monilifera is much loved by the birds and they have usually eaten all the ripe berries before we can find any! “monilifera” means “bearing a necklace” in Latin, referring to its cluster of berries. The berries are green until they ripen, turning into plump juicy black berries that look just like fat ticks.

Portulacaria afraTasting some spekboom leaves. The Portulacaria afra is a fascinating plant. The sharp tart flavoured leaves are edible and are a great addition added raw to salads or fried with a bit of butter and seasoning. It has many medicinal properties including the traditional use of increasing milk production in breastfeeding moms. Elephants love this juicy plant and its a great carbon absorber. It also soaks up the suns harmful rays, creating a happy healthy enviroment for animals and insects to live under.

Kai appleLucky us – there was a Dovyalis caffra with an abundance of its tasty fruit spilling over just waiting to be foraged. Dovyalis means Spear in Greek, and there are long sharp thorns protecting the fruit in these trees. Six nimble fingered hands soon got the hang of extracting the fruit though!

Kai applesThe old kai apples on the ground were declared perfect for magic potions.

Salad greensWe collected some salad greens from the veggie gardens. Coriander, different types of lettuce, spinach, baby beetroot tops, celery, fennel fronds, and edible flowers.

RadishesFat juicy radishes!

Tulbaghia violaceaWe dug for some wild garlic roots. This was quite an established patch, so we had to dig hard and carefully separate some of these roots to be scrubbed well and baked in the oven. As soon as the long leaves are bruised it gives of a strong garlic aroma. Throughout summer, these plants have beautiful violet flowers that can be added to salads and especially delicious in potato salad.

Purple carrotsWe found some crazy purple carrots! These have an amazing nutty taste, nothing like the tasteless orange carrots you find in the supermarkets. Best eaten raw, seconds after picking them and washing them off.

HarvestFood glorious food!

Rinsing the foodRinsing off the leaves and flowers.

Lavender and PelargoniumThe secret ingredients for the scones!

Making the sconesRolling and shaping and adding the petals and leaves to the scones.

Golden sugar-free flower sconesThis golden one is mine!

Fresh rainbow saladFresh rainbow salad – who could resist?

Carissa and Kai apple jam on flower sconesAnyone for a bite of Kai apple and Num num jam on warm buttered flower scones?

A foraged feast!After a morning of hard work, we sat down to a well deserved freshly foraged meal. Delicious!

Lunch time!All our foraged and harvested Fynbos Flavour walks are different, depending on whats growing in the gardens at the time of your visit.

Who knows what next seasons menu will bring…

Hope you will be at the table!

Tulbaghia violacea

Our plant of the month would have to be Tulbaghia violacea

Common names:

English: wild garlic

Afrikaans: wilde knoffel

Zulu: isihaqa

Image

This amazing multitasking plant is edible, medicinal and a great companion plant for your veggie garden (Insect repelling and attractive to bees and butterflies). It is a bulbous plant (part of the onion family) whose long thin leaves resemble the chives and have lots of pretty mauve flowers at the tip of its stalk. When crushed or even brushed past, it gives off a strong garlicy smell. The whole plant is edible and we use the leaves in stews and salads and chopped up in scrambled eggs and the attractive flowers can turn an ordinary salad into a work of art! Wild garlic is traditionally used to treat fever, coughs and colds (infusion of the leaves and flowers) and well as being an antiseptic and expectorant. The roots can be dug up from mature plants, scrubbed well and roasted or used like normal garlic – but take care with how much you use…its quite strong!

It is a hardy plant that will grow quickly and easily in your garden in full sun and give you flowers on and off throughout summer without needing too much water – what a plant, what a beauty – go plant one in your garden now!