Category — FOOD

A tale of two smallholdings
by NICK ROSEN on APRIL 24, 2014 - 0 Comments in COMMUNITY, FOOD

community politics, how to live off grid, living off grid, off grid living

East Ruston – Growing together

The contrasting fortunes of two British smallholdings are a useful guide on how to succeed, and what NOT to do, if you are planning to grow your own food. (more…)

Top 10 wild foods to forage in spring
by VEG-HEAD on APRIL 24, 2014 - 0 Comments in FOOD

Forage food, free food, cheap eats, vegan forager

Wild Sea Kale – its Food 4 Free

Roger Phillips, author of a new book on foraging, shares his top 10 springtime finds and throws in four recipes that combine them to best effect for your springtime dinner parties.

1. Sea beet (Beta vulgaris)

The parent of Swiss chard and beetroot, this is common on pebbly beaches just above the tide line. Perfect in soups or as a vegetable in place of spinach.

2. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Sprinkle on salads and eat raw

3. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)

Picked when young, nettles can be used as a green vegetable, but they work best of all as a soup with a unique flavor. If the plant gets too tall to pick, just cut the nettles to ground level and crop it again after about three weeks.

4. Sea kale (Crambe maritime)

Another common plant of pebbly beaches, Dungeness has loads of it. The flower buds make a terrific vegetable.

5. Elder Flowers (Sambucus nigra)
Elderflower drinks can now be bought commercially but nothing beats making the sparkling stuff yourself.

6. Morel (Morchella esculenta)

This tasty mushroom used to be commonly found with elm trees but is now hard to find. You’ll usually spot it on chalky soil with ash, apple or pines.

Morel, food for free, free food, foraging
7. Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)

Common in grassland, sorrel makes a perfect piquant sauce for fish, or use it to make a special pesto for pasta.

8. Claytonia (Montia perfoliata)

Found on waste ground or as a garden weed. A great salad leaf

9. Watercress (Rorippa aquaticum)

A common plant of streams and waterways. Although sold commercially, collecting it yourself is always more fun. Watercress soup is my favourite.

10. Lime flowers (Tilia europaea)

Linden or lime tea is one of the greatest of the so-called herb teas or tisanes, wonderfully scented from the flowers.


Sorrel pesto

\Serves five to six
1 lb (400g) sorrel
8oz (200g) spinach, preferably baby leaf annual variety,
2oz (50g) pine nuts
Garlic (to taste)
Sea salt (to taste)
Olive oil added to achieve the correct thickness.
Wash and dry the sorrel and spinach leaves. Aim for around a 2-1 ratio for a sauce that has a zesty punch but also allows that iron-y flavour of the spinach to come across too.
Place the leaves, pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and olive oil in the blender bowl. Gradually add olive oil to achieve a desirable thickness. If you plan on storing the sauce it will keep much better with a good layer of oil above it.
This recipe was given to me by Phil Stanley, the great pesto maker.

Watercress soup

Serves four
2 bunches watercress
2 large potatoes
Generous knob of butter
Dash of vegetable oil (to stop butter burning)
1 chicken stock cube
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Single cream
Put the butter in a large saucepan with dash of oil and melt over a low flame. Place a mandolin over the saucepan and slice the potatoes (or cube them). Cook very gently until the potatoes are soft. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and add to the saucepan, simmering for 15 minutes. Then add the watercress (coarsely chopped) and simmer for a further 7 minutes (retain some watercress leaves for garnish). Liquidize, stir in some single cream and chill in the fridge. Decorated with fresh watercress leaves, it makes a delightful summer soup.
This recipe, which comes from Pammy Williams, is equally delicious served either cold in the summer or hot in the winter.
Lime or linden tea
Infuse one teaspoon of dried lime flowers in one cup of water for 5-10 minutes.
Strain and drink as it comes, or with a little sugar. Lime tea has a lovely, honey-like scent and is said to be soothing to the digestion and nerves, so it is often taken last thing at night to help induce sleep.

Mousse chaude aux morelles
Serves four
4 large morels, washed thoroughly
100g (4 oz) white mushrooms
2 large chicken breasts, boned
1 ½ dl (½ pint) double cream
3 dl (½ pint) velouté sauce
1 tablespoon Madeira
35g (1 ½ oz) butter
Salt and pepper
Liberally butter the inside of four teacups. Cut one morel into quarters lengthways and each quarter into five pieces. Cook very lightly in 12g (½ oz) of the butter.
Place the pieces inside the teacups equi-distant from each other. If you have no morel large enough, cut up a smaller one similarly and simply place it, star-fashion, in the bottom of the teacup.
Filling: Chop the remaining morels (with their stalks) and the other mushrooms very finely and cook gently in the rest of the butter until the moisture has evaporated. Season and mix half with the velouté sauce and half the Madeira. Cool.
Mousse: Finely chop the chicken breasts, trimmed of all sinew, or put in food processor for twenty seconds. Pass this, with the other half of the mushroom mixture, through a sieve into a small bowl. Place over some ice cubes and water in a large bowl and refrigerate for half an hour. Then, salt the mixture lightly and little by little beat in the chilled cream. Check for the right degree of saltiness. Divide the mousse into four and line each teacup with it to a thickness of 1.2cm (½ in), making sure the morel pieces remain in place, leaving enough mousse to cover the top.
Fill the cavities with the chopped mushroom mixture and spread the remaining mousse over the top. Bake in a bain-marie in a medium oven 180˚C (350˚F, Mark 4) for half an hour, turn out and serve with the rest of the Madeira-flavoured sauce poured around.
This recipe came to me from Chef Stephen Bull.

*Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers by Roger Phillips, Macmillan, £15.50

Elderflowers in a bowl
Spring-time snack: foraged elderflower makes a delicious spring drink

It’s garden time!


I grew up watching gardening shows on PBS, one of my favorites was the Victory Garden, and during pledge week, they would always have Howard Garrett and Jerry Baker on, I loved watching their easy but effective DIY fertilizers and pest control, Garrett Juice and Jerry Baker’s tonics are easy to make, easy to use and work! Over the years, I have made my own concoctions using a bit from both recipes, yeah I cook the same way…

Don’t tell anyone but urinating on your plants works too, you will have to dilute it to about a 10% solution, and no kidding, if you do use urine, don’t tell anyone, no one will want to eat from your garden :) (more…)

Venezuela enforces fingerprint registry to buy groceries: What to Do before rationing starts in America


What if you were forced to “register” in order to buy groceries?  And what if, through that registration, the food you bought could be tracked and quantities could be limited?

That’s exactly the plan in Venezuela right now.  The AP reports that in an effort to crack down on “hoarding” that ID cards will be issued to families.  These will have to be presented before foodstuffs can be purchased.

President Nicolas Maduro’s administration says the cards to track families’ purchases will foil people who stock up on groceries at subsidized prices and then illegally resell them for several times the amount…Registration began Tuesday at more than 100 government-run supermarkets across the country. Working-class shoppers who sometimes endure hours-long lines at government-run stores to buy groceries at steeply reduced prices are welcoming the plan. (more…)
Dollar stores for preps

It’s been a while since I have written about cooking, food and recipes, if you follow me any at all, you know that food is very important to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m old enough to have had parents who grew up during the Great Depression. Perhaps it’s because growing up, we were on the poor side of the financial scale, while we never actually went hungry, there were times when food was scarce, my mother had to be very frugal and creative with what we had, I learned a lot from her. (more…)

Air pruning?
by WRETHAOFFGRID on MARCH 24, 2014 - 2 Comments in FOOD, OFF-GRID 101, WRETHA


Ever heard of air pruning? Neither have I… I just watched this video and I’m blown away, I think of all the people who do container gardening for many reasons, some don’t have the space, some rent and aren’t allowed to till up the grass/lawn, others have poor or no soil. (more…)

Not prepped at all….

During this last major cold snap, I heard a story on NPR (National Public Radio), it’s the only radio station we can pick up out here, it’s quite a bit left leaning for our tastes, but we take that into consideration when we listen, especially to the news stories.

So this story was about (yet another) major cold snap that was about to hit major parts of the USA, there were going to be states of emergency declared because of the snow, ice and very low temps. There were going to be school and business closings.

The thing that really caught my attention, the thing that surprised me (but probably shouldn’t have) is the talk about “runs on the stores”, they were preparing for, get this, being potentially shut in for, (more…)

EU to ban heirloom seeds and criminalize unregistered gardens
by WRETHAOFFGRID on JANUARY 17, 2014 - 0 Comments in FOOD



If the global domination is allowed to take root, biotech and Big Agra will control the world food supply, at the expense of personal liberty.

Because independence is the greatest of all crimes under the emerging global government, which essentially works to protect the dominance established by the biggest of corporations, who participate, in turn, as de facto members of the ruling oligarchy – and in baby steps through the EU, and emerging North American Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, et al. (more…)

Grilling in the sky castle


I love cooking, nearly anything, but until very recently I have kept my cooking adventures within the walls of the sky castle, a few weeks ago I got bit by the BBQ/grill bug. It all started out innocently enough, we had a small, very small table top charcoal grill, it wasn’t really large enough, but it was a good start. Next we dusted off the tall smoker that could be used as a grill by moving the charcoal pan up to the top, it wasn’t much better than the smaller grill, but by then I knew I really wanted to have a more permanent setup so PB went to work building a grill for me. (more…)

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