Monthly Archives: January 2014

Eating the past

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Spent the afternoon leafing through this recipe book dated from 1679 at Leeds university, slowly making myself hungry as I went. I hope to return soon to research wild food and hedgerow harvests and experiment with some of the recipes. The entire book is written in beautiful long hand making some of the translations difficult that coupled with the rather colourful spelling, ‘Apricocks’ for example! I hope that Yorkshire based recipe book with open up some traditional recipes for wild food. Some interesting ones were, Walnuts to preserve- white, To preserve Pippins in jelly, syrup of wood sorrel and Syrup of red poppies.

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Hairy bittercress pesto

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There’s not a great deal to get excited about in January in the veg patch, Fartichokes turn up everyone’s noses and the rest is lying dormant ready for the spring, however what is going strong is the weeds. They are getting their head start as usual on the rest of the garden but before I loose all hope the best thing about them is that they are mostly edible, Hairy Bittercress, Sheeps Sorrel, Chickweed, Dandelion and Couch Grass, OK not the last one but the rest are in abundance, tasty and I need them gone anyway, perfect. Its fair to say that they are never going to in sufficient quantities to live off but if you treat them more like herbs their culinary capabilities come into their own.

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Hairy Bittercress pesto recipe

A handful of bittercress around 15-20 heads

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil

a good grate of Parmesan cheese

generous pinch of sugar

a furious squeeze of lemon

salt and pepper

Chop the bittercress within an inch of it’s life if you like, I like to retain a little texture, finely chop the garlic and add both to a jar. Next add the rest of the ingredients, pop the lid on the jar and shake, check for seasoning. It’s Pesto not rocket science.

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That’s what it looks like in a jar.

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Salami and chorizo making

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The salami and chorizo i made in November is drying and firming up nicely under the stairs, another 3 weeks and I think they should be ready. I had to move them from the garage as the roof leaks and it get damp in there and one or two of the sausages had a little furry mold but a quick wipe with cider vinegar and a move to the dry under stairs cupboard and they are much happier. The cupboard opens onto the outside -as I guess it was the old coal house, and so is dry and draughty.

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