Hello! Welcome to Tendrils. This week it got so hot that I was forced to retreat to a virtual Swedish forest to pick berries for Lubera. Of course, I do grow some of my own, but it was too hot to step outside and see if they were ripe!
This week the Guardian encountered the man trying to grow his own beer, and introduced us to a tarragon cocktail with the best name ever: Little Dragon. Speaking of tarragon, I also found a recipe for parsley-tarragon sauce. When I was trying to make the most of my tarragon in the old garden, Carl Legge kindly blogged his tarragon vinegar receipe for me (which I duly made), and I also tried Nigel Slater’s sun-kissed supper, which I will have to introduce Ryan to once the courgettes start cropping (there’s some tarragon doing well in one of the front garden herb planters).
Young shoots on butcher’s broom surprisingly soft. Tasted it last spring – good taste but can’t now remember how bitter.
— Backyard Larder (@BackyardLarder) 11 December 2016
This week I found an Italian recipe using the shoots – it calls them bruscansi sprouts, although I’m not sure if that’s generally what they’re called in Italy, or even if they’re commonly eaten in Italy! If you want to try them in the UK then you’ll have to grow/forage your own. Towards the end of last year, Tendrils was looking at making a coffee substitute from the seeds of butcher’s broom. That might become a more pleasant prospect in the future, because it turns out climate change may make coffee taste worse. But farmers in California are trying to grow coffee in the shade of their older, lower-yield avocado trees, although coffee hasn’t thrived in the US so far. Oh, and it’s now possible to tattoo avocados, and the same technology could be used to tattoo a spooky blueprint onto your Halloween pumpkin to help you carve it.
Back in Italy, I also enjoyed Beyond bruschetta: the regional bread and tomato salads of Italy, a simple peasant dish that has variations across the country:
Born as clever ways to use up leftover bread – a cheap yet precious food, not to be wasted – and whatever is left in the fridge, these recipes have become iconic Italian staples in the country’s various provinces. They may have different names and flavours, but at the heart of them there is the taste of Italian summertime.
There was a time (in living memory) when garlic was not a popular herb in British cooking. But, according to The History of Garlic: From Medicine to Marinara:
“The English, contrary to the stereotype about bland British cooking, seemed particularly enchanted by garlic. In the first known cooking document in English, a vellum scroll called The Form of Cury, a simple side dish is boiled bulbs of garlic.”
In Tendrils last week we wondered whether the US pine nut would become extinct. This week, Modern Farmer ponders why the US imports pine nuts, which has to do with labor (it’s American labor, hence the spelling!) costs and historical land use decisions, but also the effect of climate change.
If all that has you a litle riled up, then relax for a couple of minutes by watching my new video:
Now that we’re all calm, I’m going to leave you to enjoy your weekend. And I have some basil and chard seedlings that won’t pot themselves on. See you all next week, for another exciting (and yet relaxing) edition of Tendrils.