Monthly Archives: September 2014

Equinox and Harvest Home

Time, as per usual, flies by and suddenly it’s Equinox again. Either Monday around 10 pm or, hopefully, around 2 am Tuesday morning – I could be awake at that time! This is one of the points of the year which always have a certain weight: a short moment of balance between day and night, and then night has the upper hand for 6 months. Seems bad at first – it means cold and sleet and getting up when it’s still dark outside, except of course on those days where it’s still dark and rainy outside, and all that. But we are never aware of how precious daylight is than now, we never enjoy the flowers and green leaves as much as now, with months of barren vegetation up ahead. Summer is coming to a close, gather as much as you can for the coming darkness and hope that you worked enough to make it count. A very tiny Harvest Home after a few days at my mothers, with garden work and harvesting and cooking and baking: IMAG3050IMAG3051 What have we here … raisin bread (low on added sugar, most of the sweet comes from the raisins), tomatoes (those are the tiny orange ones, my mother has a small forest of tomato plants the ripe fruits of which range from yellow to near-black), apple-nut bread, acorns (I love gathering them and have in the past even used them for flour; lots of work) and my current favorite vegetable: stinging nettle. IMAG3046 All the rage this fall: greenish toe nails. Only real when the weird tint (and the grime under the nail) is from walking over freshly cut lawn; accept no substitutes!

Not quite. Stinging Nettle swill, a sort of magical elixier for plants if gardeners are to be believed.

Green Beer?          Not quite. Stinging Nettle swill, a sort of magical elixir for plants if gardeners are to be believed.

Okay, so sadly it’s not beer. But doesn’t it have a lovely head of foam to it? Which is also slightly greenish. Unless sanity strikes unexpectedly, I’ll probably attempt to brew some legitimately green beer during the next week or so. Which may turn out drinkable beer, or a dreadful goo, or a green monster from the Abyss which will slime it’s way out onto the street seeking whom it may devour. You never know, that’s the whole fun of cooking stuff yourself!


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Pond Scum II or: How Healthy can Halloween Food Get?


Right, I have an ongoing fascination with foraged foods: elder berries, stinging nettles, all sorts of nuts… so in this season, I’m somewhere between giddy from all the exuberant excess produced by the plant life, and shocked how it’s all squashed and then cleaned away.

Being a bluestocking with a degree in history doesn’t help, either: I _know_ that all those acorns which are covering some parks, lawns or paths are perfect food for pigs. Only there are no pigs and chances are that resident squirrels, jays and pigeons have switched to living of the left-overs in fast food wrappers, so 99% of it go to waste. 

But at least I can collect some of the nuts and berries and of course there’s always Stinging Nettle. This time round in soup form:

Stinging Nettle Soup All Green

The other influence right now was an unexpected visit in my bedroom when I was staying over night with a friend. No, the friend was perfectly well behaved. The visitors quite literally dropped in from the garden:

Green Smoothies Are Awesome

There are actually three of them, the smallest one at the bottom and possibly just being used as a foothold by the largest one. And after taking a few pictures I did of course deposit them in the garden, as close to the nearest pond as possible.


Now, here’s the Halloween idea:

Ingredients –

  • vegetable or potato soup, bought if neccessary
  • bunch full of stinging nettles
  • rubber toads/frogs

The nettles should of course be picked from some site where there’s little pollution, so no transit traffic, and it’s a good idea to pick only the tops from 3 feet high or above – that minimizes the chances of animal wee or, at least as problematic, some small parasites from animals on the leaves. And obviously: wash thoroughly, as with any vegetables.

Now: heat the soup, maybe add some bacon for taste. Coarsly chop the nettles, chuck in, blend or food process the whole thing until it’s a nice, even, dark-green mass.

Serve garnished with a fresh rubber toad (on top or immersed, according to personal taste).

Use a tablecloth that washes well.


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