Mar 172014
 

The Permaculture Kitchen front & back cover
We have made lots of exciting progress on my book since my last post.

We’ve finished the design, layout and proofing of the book. The whole shebang went to Cambrian Printers in Aberystwyth on Friday to be printed. The pages have been printed, they now need to be cut to size, folded, stitched together and bound into the covers. Hopefully, it’ll finally be made up by this time next week. That’s very exciting for me (and for you I hope). I’ll do my best to get to the printers and take some pictures of the final stages if I can. It’ll take a little while after it’s bound for Amazon and others to have stock in their warehouses.

Book launch at the Edible Garden Show

We’ll be launching The Permaculture Kitchen at the Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace in North London on Saturday March 29th. I’ve been asked to do a talk and Q&A in the Expert’s Theatre from 15:10. I’ll be around the show before this and after to sign books at the Permaculture Magazine stand. Do come and say hello, it’d be great for me to see you there. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:13
Feb 222014
 

Finished bottle of currant champagneIf you want a fizz that tastes spectacular, this recipe is for you. In under a month you get the full bright fruity taste of currants with a mildly mouth puckering tart-tannin background. The aroma is the wonderful woodland smell of crushed currant leaves. All this surrounded with lively & youthful fizz. I’m delighted with this discovery.

In truth, I had a freezer full of a mix of red, black and white currants. And I needed the space. In the spring, we enjoy the taste of quickly made elderflower ‘champagne’, so I thought I could experiment and do a similar thing with the currants.

It worked. And some.

To find out how easy this is to make (and other fruit ‘champagnes’), please read on.
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 15:55
Feb 112014
 

Three-cornered leek deliveryThis box arrived courtesy of a very generous Lindsay on Twitter. Lindsay has a wonderful surfeit of these in Devon and needed an ID for it. She also wanted to be rid of some and so one thing led to another.

Allium triquetrum flowers

Allium triquetrum flowers by Kenpie WikiMedia Commons

It’s allium triquetrum or three-cornered leek (aka three-cornered garlic). It’s so called because of the cross-section of the leaf. Wild garlic (allium ursinum, ramsons) has a broader, flatter leaf and is only just poking out of the ground now. Like wild garlic, it has white flowers.

It’s a mediterranean plant which has naturalised in the south-west of England and prefers a moist but well-drained soil. It will spread by division and seeds extensively. It’s treated as a weed and invasive species in many places. It’s an offence to plant in the wild in England & Wales.

It tastes like a grassy leek or garlic with a lingering aftertaste. It’s not as pungent as garlic or as spicy as chives.

So I felt I had to come up with some culinary treatments for it. Read on for the details…
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 18:13
Feb 032014
 

The Permaculture Kitchen by Carl Legge CoverWell my first book is nearly printed. That’s the proper cover design above. Read on to find out whose hands they are 😉

I hope you like it and that loads of people find it useful.The Permaculture Kitchen shows you how to cook no faff, seasonal & sustainable food with what your garden or seasonal produce seller has available.

What is it about?

My approach is to help you start your meal planning thinking about the ingredients and time you have to hand first. I couple this with some foundation principles and basic techniques to help you cook loads of different variations of meals. So the recipes (there are lots) illustrate the principles and techniques. I’ve included loads of  ideas for variations of flavours, ingredients and methods. I also give you suggestions for how you can use leftovers to save you time and energy.

Close to publishing

It’s been a long process and the project has changed a lot since I started writing what was to be a black & white e-book. We’re now producing a 176-page book with colour pictures along with the e-versions of it.

We’re currently fine tuning the last bits of the design and I hope it’ll be published in April. If you’d like first-hand information about the book’s release and offers and events, please fill in the form at the end of this post.

Whose hands?

The Permaculture Kitchen Cover ShootI did the photoshoot for the book with Hayley in September. We spent two very full days at home while I cooked loads of the recipes from the book for Hayley to style & shoot.

We had loads of strawberries still around and Hayley & Debs created the evocative cover image in Debs’ hands.

Given all the work Debs does in the garden and with the animals, ‘Debs the Hand Model’ was unexpected for both of us 😉 It really does symbolise for me the ethos of the book: Love food, love people, love the planet.

The inside scoop for you

I’m very excited by this as you can imagine.

On the off-chance that you may be a little excited too, I’ve created a small form for you to fill in to get the most up to date information about the book’s progress and my events. I won’t give your information to anyone else, I promise.

 Posted by at 18:20
Jan 232014
 

Seedy Penpal Parcel January 2014

Our Seedy Penpals exchange has got off to a grand start this year. I received this very thoughtful & generous parcel above from Lorraine last week.

Squash seeds

Lorraine sent us four different squash varieties from US seed supplier Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.

  • Pattison Golden Mabre Scallop (summer squash)
  • Gelber Englischer Custard (summer squash)
  • Marina Di Chioggia (winter squash)
  • Blue Hubbard (winter squash)

We’ve been perennial squash growers here with mixed success. We’ll make a concerted effort with these to keep them very well fed and watered and hope the summer weather is kind to us.

Aubergine & Chillies

We love growing different chilli varieties and Lorraine sent us two we haven’t tried before:

Plus aubergine Black Beauty that Lorraine had over-ordered. We’ve had limited success with aubergine here with bad summers. When we lived down south, we had good crops – so fingers crossed.

We’ve just acquired a load of sash windows from a local friend (via Twitter) who is having them replaced. We’ll use these to build a super cold frame to house these gems. Hopefully the aubergines will be especially happy with them. More of this in later posts.

Brassicas

Lorraine sent us:

  • Cabbage: heritage variety Wheelers Imperial
  • Mustard – giant red
  • Mustard – komatsuna
  • Nasturtium – organic mixed, for companion planting.

It’ll be interesting to try the cabbage which we can grow for spring greens and hearts.

MustardsPT-1
We’re big fans of mustards. We grow them over winter in our big polytunnel where they produce leaves for salads and cooked veg over the winter and great shoots in the spring. The different colours and leaf shapes add welcome variety in the dark days. The mustard seeds she sent are some passed on from her earlier seedy penpal Jenny – so the connection continues.

The nasturtiums are always welcome. Apart from being great companion and bee plants they’re a great edible too. The leaves, flowers and flower buds and seed pods are all edible and delightfully peppery. So we’ll be munching on those for sure and I’ll post some recipes for them during the year.

Onion & dahlias

Tussy Mussy made 2 Jan 2014Lorraine sent us some Senshyu Yellow seeds. These are an overwintering Japanese type for autumn sowing. This is brilliant, as we’ve decided to do all our onions this way and to concentrate on varieties that we can’t buy or are more expensive to get.

And to help with our plans to have more perennial flowers for cutting and using in Debs’ tussie mussies, Lorraine sent us some great dahlia tubers. We’ll have to be patient until we can see what colours we have. I’m instructed that I’m not allowed to eat them :(

Ingredients

Lastly, as Lorraine is well aware of my culinary proclivities, we’re the lucky recipients of two lots of dried chillies from Lorraine’s own garden. They smell great and I’m keen to use them soon.

All round a really great Seedy Penpal package. To see Lorraine’s side of the story, see her Slow January blog post.

 Posted by at 15:25
Jan 202014
 

Wine barm bread sliced
It’s funny how things spread.

My twitter pal Jessica read the earlier post on how to use a cider barm to make sourdough bread. Serendipity is a wonderful thing as Jessica was racking wine that day. So Jessica contacted me on Twitter…

Jessica Bread Tweet

And so Jessica did. I’m very grateful to Jessica who sent the pictures she took and the recipe notes for her bread so I may share it more widely. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 17:22
Dec 242013
 

Bookshelf

My friend (and newly qualified Ethnobotanist) Emma Cooper has started a virtual book club. More about Emma’s studies later, as we were a case study in Emma’s thesis.

Her idea is that participants will read a set book every other month and we then discuss this online.

For more details about how this will work and how to take part, please visit Emma’s blog post.

The first book for January 2014 is Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden by Gilbert Livingstone Wilson. It describes native American Indian agricultural practices of the Hidatsas (meaning ‘willows’) as recounted to him by the mother of his interpreter, Maxi’diwiac.

I very much look forward to reading the book and hope some of my blog readers will join in on Emma’s blog.

To help I have converted the free file of the book on the University of Pennsylvania web site into a pdf file which you can download.
Click on the link to open in a new tab you can then save to your hard drive.
Or right mouse click and ‘Save Link As’ to save the book to your hard drive.

Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden pdf

 Posted by at 12:06

Please help now to save our spuds

 Permaculture  Comments Off on Please help now to save our spuds
Dec 042013
 
Sarpo Potatoes in our garden

Some of our 2013 Sarpo potatoes growing

If you’ve grown potatoes, you’ll probably know the heartbreak that late blight can cause you. It can wipe out your crop.

If you eat potatoes, I’m sure you’d like to eat ones that are free from copper (a heavy metal), fungicides & pesticides. But to prevent crop losses, conventional farmers use the copper & other sprays.

A small startup company, Sarpo Potatoes have developed GM free, blight resistant spuds that don’t need spraying. Hooray!

Their spuds are also very tasty. Yay!

But if Sarpo don’t get a few tens of pounds from spud lovers in the next few days, their project may die. :(

You can help by donating as little as £5. You can help by loaning (yes lending!) as little as £50 and you’ll get lovely spuds as your interest payment.

Please contribute here now.

I have.

If you’d like to find out more about this low-carbon, environmentally sound project, please click here.

Sarpo Potatoes are not big agri-business. They really need our help to get the potatoes grown and out to the wider market. Your contribution could be as little as the loose change down the back of the sofa or to loan the cost of less than a night out. Please go here to help.

Thanks in advance :)

 Posted by at 13:34
Nov 172013
 

Close up of posy in pottery jug

November Posy

The weather forecasters are promising a drop in temperatures and frosts next week. This will put an end to some of the flowers still soldiering on in the garden, giving their all. We are usually lucky here: we live on a peninsula and so we’re surrounded by the sea; our frosts are mostly light and often late.

I took the opportunity to keep the summer going just a little bit longer and brought some of those flowers into the house.

Tussie mussies

My mum taught me how to make tussie mussies when I was little and I have continued to make them. I make them as a ‘thank you’, for birthday and anniversary presents, to mark the birth of a baby or just because…

I tightly pack and bind flowers, herbs and foliage to give a posy which will delight the eyes and nose.

Collecting and arranging my bounty

I wandered round the garden and collected my bounty. I was amazed at the variety that was available. I always put a single flower in bud at the centre and found a romantic pale pink rose for this.

Posy overhead viewThen I picked the rest of the ingredients: four stems of each. I found mints, rosemary, lavender, thyme, periwinkle, pinks, lemon balm, oregano, Japanese parsley, winter honeysuckle, winter jasmine, camomile, mashua, creeping borage, Californian poppy, yarrow, brassica flowers and fennel. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.

When the weather is warm I make the posy outside and often have bees land on the flowers I have picked. On this occasion it was too cold to stay still outside so I brought my goodies indoors.  I stripped the leaves from the bottom of the stems and then, starting with the rosebud, began tying in the stems. There is a symmetry to the posy as each group of stems are added in turn. Finally I put an outer layer of fennel stems to finish it off.

Usually when I make these posies, I am more discerning about what goes into them – a colour or scent theme or such like,  but this was to extend the summer and had a bit of everything in it.

Porth Llwyd Jug

Posy in pottery jug

I will change the water every day in the little jug it sits in. I love the jug, it’s gorgeous and a gift from Porth Llwyd Pottery from my friend Nina. The posy should last for 2-3 weeks by doing this and in this little corner of North Wales we will still have a little bit of summer.

What do you do to keep summer going in your house?

 Posted by at 19:06
Oct 202013
 

Apple custard cake Parisienne, slicedToday is the day to celebrate the wonderful variety and bounty that apples give us.

To help us celebrate, here’s a list of some of my favourite recipes.

Apple recipes

Apple cider vinegar
A doddle to make, very healthy for you and lots of fun. You can use damaged apples, or scraps. So this is a great way of using every apple you have.

Blackberry, apple & chilli chutney
Beware, this is addictive. You use two of the season’s great fruits. The more you make, the longer you can enjoy.

Apple, almond and date cake
One of my most favourite cakes courtesy of my mum-in-law. With some great examples of other people’s results from this recipe.

Apple custard cake parisienne
Crispy, spicy, custardy. It’s a joy to eat.

Apple wine
And what better way to celebrate than with this easy to make wine recipe?

I hope you like these, What’s your favourite?

 Posted by at 09:16
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