Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Calendula, a healer and a spice of life

Pics by me

I have , inspired by Annemartha Borgen ,been growing a lot of calendula flowers this year, and are now able to harvest the flowers and drying them to make a spice.
It looks absolutely fantastic , both in the garden and on the shelf it is a pleasure for the eye . And now I have to see for myself if it it as wonderful in food as mrs Borgen is writing in her book.
From her point of view, calendula makes everything taste so much better by bringing out  the taste of what ever you are cooking.  She even say its much better with calendula than  safran in the famous bouillabaisse...and at the same time,of course colors the food a golden yellow, like safran would.

Now I think this all sound very exciting and are going have a go , and of course it makes it even more interesting knowing that internal use of calendula acts as a tonic and are of great benefit to the arteries and veins , and that the Arabs like to feed them to their  swift horses.
So from all this ,I gather that I have nothing to loose ,only all to win by harvest my calendula flowers and savoring them for  the dark winter months.

I dry the flower petals in the oven on 40 degrees celsius for 14 hours with the door slightly open.
The best is to store in clean, dark glasses with a tight lid on.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Potatoes are always fun to dig up...

Pics. me...

Johanna is still eager to dig up those potatoes...Straight out of the earth tastes a hundred times better...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Katharina and Juergen´s strawberry marmelade

Pics. me

One of our great family-vacation traditions, is that we visit our wonderful friends in Potsdam, just outside Berlin every summer. And tradition vise we are served the most delicious strawberry jam to go with the fresh bio-broetchen that we eat for breakfast every morning.
Apart from the pretty straight forward recipe with relatively little sugar, it´s the blending of the jam with a stick-mixer that that really makes the difference.

For 4 small glasses;

1,5 kg strawberries
0,5 kg sugar
200 ml lemon juice

Blend  with a mixer until smooth . Cook for approximately 3 min or tip it starts to smell a little caramel-like.
Pour into clean glasses , put the lid on and let stand on their head till cooled down.

Variation 1;

Add 10 white pepper and the grated zest of a lemon when cocking the jam.

Variation 2;

1 kg strawberries
0,5 kg rhubarb
0,5 kg sugar

Same procedure as above.

Bon app├ętit !

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Plant a seed...Heggedal goes cooool!

Pics. by Ingvild and Kristin

How many train stations have cucumbers growing on the platform??? Well we have in Heggedal now,and that I think is very cool. It´s my very good friend ,Kistin Ellefsen, that has initiated this very fun project after moving to Heggedal only a few months ago,and well supported by the local community central that have sponsored the project so far.
 She has a vision of a community of small gardens and hopefully also a bigger community garden where everybody can join in taking care of it and use of the fresh harvested produce.
Inspired by other community gardens around and learning about the great benefits on different levels and specially on the social levels, it seems very important right now that Heggedal is in such a transition time, as a new centre is being built, and many new housing  projects popping up every where  , that we at the same time include some social structures that can be useful in building a feeling of belonging and a place to get to know each other organically....
And appart from a harvest celebration this fall , Kristin has invited everybody interested to join her to visit a new community garden in Oslo, Herligheten ,to learn more and get inspiration.

The pictures posted are already a little old, and does not include all the different little gardens, but I will do an other update and post some more pictures as I come back from vacation.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nettle pesto...yammmm

pics by johanna

I love pestos of all sort, and this is high up on the culinary ranking list. Not only delicious but as nourishing as you can get it. Together with dandelion ,nettle is probably the most valuable green plant growing in your garden, so take well care of her. Harvest her regularly and she will supply you with new growth of delicious food and medicine throughout the summer.
I have neglected using her this summer ,and my nettles are high and full of seeds by now. Hopefully the butterflies and other little animals have been enjoying her. But now I will cut her down and put her in a bucket of water for some weeks and fertilize my hungry tomato-plants. And then fresh new ones can grow up for my pleasure...
Let me give some hints to the working of daily use of nettle in your diet or a cup of infusion every day for six weeks can do...( Extract from Susun Weeds)

As she is an excellent source of minerals,vitamins and amino-acids, she is readily absorbed by all soft tissue and working fluids, blood ,lymph, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Resulting in increased ease and energy in the operation of the circulatory, immune, endocrine, nervous, and the urinary system.
Meaning that she will help stabilizing the blood sugar, reset metabolic circuits, to normalize weight, reduce fatigue and exhaustion, restore adrenal potency to lessen allergic and menopausal problems, and eliminate chronic headaches. And very good for those with susceptibility to rheumatic complaints.
Also she is highly recommended to pregnant and lactating women. (phuuuuu)

Again, nettle is one of the few herbs that you can´t overdose on. She is a food above all.
And here is a great way to enjoy her...The recipe  is taken from the garden blog www.mailhos.info/
A english woman in France that have made a great garden,written a book about  it and have a blog well worth checking out!

Pic a whole bunch of young nettles,with or without gloves... When I don´t feel too rushed, I enjoy picking her with some consciousness, without gloves, holding her in one leave, (taking care not to get in touch with the burning edges of the leaves), and cutting her with the scissors .

Nettle Pesto with Sun Dried Tomatoes

30g breadcrumbs
200g young baby nettle heads
30g grated pecorino or an aged sheep`s cheese
2 crushed garlic cloves with salt
200ml olive oil
4 medium sun dried tomatoes
salt and pepper

Scatter the breadcrumbs on  a baking tray and toast in an oven set to 180 degrees until golden and dry.
With your gloves on, wash the nettle heads well. Blanche in boiling water for  a mere minute and drain through a sieve over a bowl (to save the precious green water to drink) before plunging them in a bowl of cold water. Remove and dry in a salad spinner.
Put the nettles, breadcrumbs, garlic and cheese in a food processor and spin while trickling in the olive oil until you have a bright, runny paste.
Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the tomatoes into ribbons and incorporate into the pesto.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vegetable beds that will stay for a while...

Pics by me..

I suddenly feel very solid...at least my new structures are...
I wanted something that I can use in different ways, and put big glass structures on for early in the spring. And I wanted something that would accumulate as much heat as possible... Last years cold summer..I´m not saying any more...

Picture nr 2 shows a type of a compost bed that is supposed to be a great way to grow the kind of plants that likes it warm, like tomatoes ,etc. When I walk barefoot out in my garden in the morning,(a great way to wake up,by the way) the ground feels very cool under my feet, and I think I may be is a little bit like the tomato plant that likes is the best when my feet are warm. But then I put my hand into the compost bed to check if it really is any warmer in there , and I´m just as happy and surprised every time when I feel the nice and comforting heat .

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gardening stunts...

For more information, check out this website: http://thepotholegardener.com

I like this a lot... I like the fact that people create gardens where one does not expect it.
Guerilla gardening is something that we will se more and more. People want more green in the cities
and unused space can be used to produce beauty and food. And to go through the normal route to get a permission etc is going to take too much time and most likely not lead to any garden. People take the spade in their own hans and just create a garden over night! What a wonderful surprise to wake and find a garden where before it was nothing.

Peter Richasen does this as a sort of street art and has become quite well known for it too. Check out his blog and maybe you get some ideas for how to beautify your own neighbourhood...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Alice in Wonderland 2.


I have written about Alice before, as she is one of the garden people out there that really inspires me.
She has written several great books on gardening and one of the last ones is about harvesting the natural resources that are growing around us,both in the city and in our garden and that are not normally beeing used. It`s free food and as Alys says "a kick to eat".
As Alys also is a foodie  she includes a bunch of great recipes that are worth testing out.
If you want to check her out, she also writes a garden-blog for the Guarian .

A whole chapter in this book, is about a englishman, Stephen Barstow, living in the north of Norway and cultivating his garden with  eatable plants from the whole world,now reaching  over 2000 different ones.  And as a curiosity , he holds the world record in making the largest salad ever. It contained 536 ingredients and took him 3 days to make!
I once went to a seminar where he took us through the garden and the world, opening our eyes to the richness of our surroundings, and we went away, looking hungrily at all the green around us .
He has written the book Around the World in 80 Plants. If you like to forage, I would think also this  book could add some items of interest to  your list of eatable plants.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Herb,food,history,and culture-inspiration

Pics by Johanna.

I found a little treasure this spring in the flee-marked.  A book written in the seventies Norway about a herb-garden out on a little island in the south-eastern  part of the Oslofjord ,Norway.
It`s great reading, very inspirational , and full of great stories from the authors childhood in the north of Norway, with a mix of her families russian heritage and customs, and the many stories from their herb-garden in Hvaler, with a lot of herbal knowledge and how too`s, medicinal, cultural, mythical and not to forget ,all the good ways of using the herbs in food. This is a book that lives in you and inspires on many levels. Most likely only to be found in second hand bookstores here in Norway. Or in Loppemarked...(flee-marked)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dente de Lion, I just love you !


The dandelion is making the garden look very festive and happy these days. I used to think that the flowers would last all summer. And there will always be some to be found in the summer time, but it´s around these times of the year that one finds so much of it that there is enough flowers to make dandelion wine or dandelion lemonade.( links how to make , under pic.)

Did you know that the dandelion is a very special plant? It is  so in many ways.
Botanically it´s one of the very rare plants that reproduces by it selves. It does´n need the pollen from a male plant. It´s like a virgin bitrth every time it reproduces it self. I tend to think thats why it is so strong.
It has integrated both polarities and nothing can rock it or destroy it. Thats how we become when we eat ,drink, or enjoy it´s company...full powerhouse.

For our health it`s one of our most valuable plants . I have written about this in a earlier post.

Historically it has been very much a respected and wanted plant . When the british people had to moove out to rule their big imperia, they brought with them dandelion seeds to grow around their home to feel more like home.
In wartime , Norway, people had to resort back to what our pre parents had known about our wild plants, and of course was dandelion one of the most valuable plants they used . People went out to collect the whole plant with the root and everything . This was valuable ,plentiful and free food . From the leaves they made soups, salads and stews . From the beautiful flower they made delicious wine . And the root was dried ,chopped and burnt to cafe substitute ,or just dried and used as flour for pancakes, and bread,mixed with the poor wartime flower .

Vive la Dente de Lion !

Lets hope we don`succeed in trying to rid our selves with this fantastic plant! This earth would not be the same without it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer is here !

Pics.by me

After a long and cold spring, summer seem to have taken over the scene. With temperatures around 18 `celsius and lots of showers ,things are speeding up out in the garden and on my veranda.
This year I`m growing most of my little seedlings in trays, hoping to get big and strong plants that can withstand a slug attack by the time they come out in the ground. And I love to have a very close following of the little seeds growing. It`s a miracle every one of them.

The first picture is of last years carrots that I have planted this spring, to grow carrot carrot flowers, which are some of my favorites flowers.
Then there is the hanging garden with herbs, little onions and a tray of little and delicious radishes .
And in between we have some little verbenas bonarienses that I hope will very suddenly become very big and beautiful..