Denise: Here’s this morning’s gathering from the garden. I’ve said before that the tomatoes were at least a month late, and not at all plentiful, but the flavour and quality has been remarkable. But this is a first for us – still harvesting tomatoes in October : that’s no doubt down to the really good weather we’ve had for the past fortnight.
Today I made some of the Carageen J and I harvested from the shore the other day into a desert. I didn’t have all the ingredients listed for a fancy recipe, so found a simple one on the internet: it required about 12g of dried Carageen, an egg (from our hens), nearly a pint of milk, a vinalla pod (you could substitute some other flavouring) and just a little sugar. Method? Well you can look it up on the internet yourself: it’s very quick and easy. Served with a little single cream. Well, with single cream, anyway. Greatest expense was the milk, but the total cost less than £1 – and that’s for four very generous helpings (as photo) Absolutely delicious! We’ll definitely be doing that again! Eating well for less? Well, we could just end up Eating More!
Denise: We’re just enjoying a simple supper of home-made bread, with butter. Mmmm! But for once not bread made by me, but by Fiona Bird from Askernish – aka The Forager’s Kitchen . A sour-dough bread from a seaweed starter (yes, really!) with added chopped seaweed. A very, very tasty and wholesome bread, a soft crust, and a subtly distinctive flavour and quality. Difficult to pin down what’s special, perhaps because like most natural/organic products the qualities are complex, sophisticated, suggestive: but perhaps it’s a bread that makes you think of the great outdoors! Thanks Fiona!
Jonathan: No, not my own version of the BBC’s early 1960s April Foolery! Inspired by Fi Bird’s Seaweed in the Kitchen, and the prospect of a 4.1m spring tide revealing the lowest shelf of the shore-line pantry, after lunch we tooled up and tootled down to the beach at Glendale – two miles away but worth the trouble – to harvest spaghetti. Now if I told you exactly where we found it I’d have to conceal in this post a virus that would would start it’s work by killing your computer … But, seriously, we found it after a long walk and only just had enough time to gather in what we needed and a few other delights, and set off back for the van, leaning into the wind and with the sea gathering up the beach behind us. Here you can see, amongst the straps of kelp, a few strands of the orangey-yellow sea spaghetti (though it mostly grows in thick cascades like Rapunzel’s hair, up to 2 metres long), also the glorious pinky red of dulse, and the bright green of sea lettuce. On the way back to the van we came across huge colonies of mussels, so balanced up our load with a bag of those too.Back home I prepared and cooked the mussels, Denise baked (sprinkled with olive oil) dulse and sea-lettuce into a snack of ‘crisps’. The sea spaghetti was cut into short lengths and boiled like green beans: in fact they turn dark green and not only look but taste quite similar to green beans!
Jonathan: All this talk of seaweed – and foraging generally, has led me to search our bookshelves for our copy of Food for Free. Originally published in 1972, Richard Mabey’s classic, ground-breaking foraging guide has never been out of print since, and has gone through many editions. Mine is a first edition, and would be worth up to £100 – were it not for the gift/owner inscription and the missing dust jacket. However the gift inscription is that of my Dad to my Mum on her birthday, and that’s where the value lies for me. This was my Mum’s book, and has all the character that comes from more than 30 years of familiarity. And now I reckon there’ll be many years more of use in our own time.