Monday, 22 March 2010

The Bookham dust

I was foraging around Bookham and everything was covered in a fine dust. I have no idea what the dust is but it covered everything deep inside woods as well as on the verges.

Purple garlic soup

A good handful of wild garlic, lots of red cabbage, a beetroot, carrots, spring onions and anything else you like. Boil until soft, mash and pour through a course sieve. Purple but delicious.

Wild garlic and cuckoo pint

Wild garlic and cuckoo pint growing close together. It would be easy to pick them both at the same time. Cuckoo pint leaves are poisonous so always be careful when foraging and check leaves before preparing them for eating.

The village still in winter

The village in mid March. Still in winter mode when there should be signs of spring.

An old gate

An old gate on a disused drover's trail

Sunday, 21 March 2010

effects of eating wild garlic (anecdotal)

I have no way of quantifying these observations.
Based on a good handful of wild garlic leaves, about 2g/day.

Wild garlic seems to:
Relax muscles
Slow the heart rate
Drop blood pressure
Acts as an all round calminative
Keeps you 'regular'.
Has anti inflammatory and mild painkilling effects

Could it also relax arteries?

It definately:
Clears - drains - sinuses
Makes you cough up phlegm
Helps you sleep well

Possible disadvantages:
Might make you feel a bit tired rather than relaxed
You are aware that your heart is beating slower
About half an hour after eating wild garlic your chest feels irritated for a few minutes as it makes you cough. Once you've had a cough it wears off.

I cycled hard up a long steep hill to see if it would make me feel faint but ironically I seemed to have more energy and physical ability seems enhanced. Sometimes if I exercise really hard, like cycling up a long hill, and then stop; my heart misses the odd beat unless I keep moving. This happens especially if I sit down after hard exercise. This doesn't (seem) to happen after eating wild garlic. I cycled up a long hard hill today and stopped for a phew minutes when I got to the top and the old heart kept ticking away quite happily without any missed beats.

storing wild garlic (ongoing notes)

It takes about 200grams of processor chopped wild garlic to fill a 175ml jar.
A plastic shopping bag holds about 500g of wild garlic leaves.
I would guess it would take about 500g of chopped leaves to fill a jam jar.
Chopped leaves are stronger than whole leaves.
When making pesto you probably don't want to add to the natural strength because it is quite hot.
Make sure you wash the leaves to remove any woodland grubs, tiny snails etc - unless you don't mind eating them. As you wash the leaves pick over them to make sure that they are all wild garlic because the plant grows alongside poisonous plants such as cuckoo pint.
A handful of fresh leaves that you might put in a salad, or any other meal, or even in sandwiches weigh hardly anything 2 grams at the most. A teaspoon of pesto would equal something like a really big double handful of fresh leaves.
Unwashed wild garlic leaves dry very easily in the oven and breakdown easily with (clean) fingers and when dried they have a slight but noticeable smell of sulphur.
When left to air dry the leaves turn yellow but when oven dried they stay green.
I haven't measured quantities of dried leaves yet.
I wonder if oil can be extracted from the leaves?

Monday, 15 March 2010

owl barn office

This is my office for an hour or two. The fluffy weather presenters were raving that the temperature in southern Britain would reach double figures but it is still tooooo cold to stay here for long.

I used to have a small sailing boat and sold it because of the deteriorating weather in Britain. But I was waiting for the day when I could work on the boat and stay connected to the world via the internet in a useable and affordable way. Now that I don't have a boat I am looking for alternative odd places to work. This is an old barn complex – complete with barn owls. So, one day when the weather warms up I will be able to sit, think and work here. For today, it is an experiment to see if everything connects and even in the middle of rural Dorset over ten miles to the nearest town it works OK. Picture taken with a tocco lite phone camera on a dull afternoon.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Wild garlic pesto

This is my first attempt at wild garlic pesto and I followed recipes on the internet. This recipe is good but strong.

Take a good handful of leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and a small amount of sugar. Blend it all together. It's that easy. I'm sure it is just as easy to play around with different ingredients. In order to get enough jars to make enough to last most of a year I'll have to buy lots of shop bought pesto so that I can store my own, but this will only happen once.

Two disappointments in one day Argos and Russell Hobbs

In order to start making things this year I decided to buy a mini food processor from Argos.

When I was given the box from the Argos counter in Dorchester Dorset. The box had clearly been opened several times. I should have asked if the item had been used previously but I didn't. When I got home I found the processor was just wrapped in a plastic bag inside the box. It is probably a returned item and it may have even been used and cleaned up. This is not good and I am going to make some more purchases but not from Argos.

When I tried the Russell Hobbs mini processor with some wild garlic to make some pesto. The blades just threw everything onto the walls of the plastic bowl like a centrifuge. In less than a second the mix was splattered round the side of the bowl. I had to shake it like a cocktail shaker for it to work. Pretty useless piece of equipment which is difficult to put together when in use because you can hardly see the markings.

I get far better results from a £3 hand held blender from TESCO so that was a waste of £17 especially as it is probably 2nd hand. My guess is that someone else bought this item, found it was useless, cleaned it up, took it back to Argos who sold it to me because I looked like a mug.

Monday, 1 March 2010

While waiting for a very late spring 2

I'm sure in times gone by and in some circles today, people would have revered this tree.

While waiting for a very late spring

It's hard to see but there is a dead deer in this picture that has been eaten back to its skeleton. Whatever has eaten it has removed the fur first and its leg was about 15 metres away and has been torn from the hip.

What killed this deer?