orWine Tastings in the Comfort of you own villa or B&B while on holiday in Tuscany or Liguria
To book an informative and fun wine tasting whilst holidaying in Italy or arrange for a wild food walk in your area contact me on tuscanytipple at libero dot it or check out my Facebook page
Monday, 2 July 2012
Available to Travel & Wild Food of the Month: Lamb's Quarter
After months of slaving on the keyboard, the book is finally at the printers and should be out by the end of the month. You never realise how much work this actually is until you read and re-read your draughts until you can't see the wood for trees any more. And then you keep remembering things you should have added or learn of a new one, that you simply can't leave out! I'm already working on a second improved edition in my head. I really just had to tell myself to stop, otherwise this book would have never got finished!
Anyway, now that I'm free for a bit I actually need to earn some money for a change. It's all very well being able to feed yourself from the wild and what we grow on our land, but occasionally I need to pay a bill too and I'm still looking for that elusive pasta tree, until which time I just have to still buy pasta from the shops. So inspired by foraging pal Robin Harford in England, I have decided to come with a similar format to him. I am willing to travel to anywhere you are within Italy to Southern France and possibly beyond to do wild food walks. I am offering a walk introducing you to whatever is available at the time and place, followed by an evening slide show presentation. In return I ask you to organise a lively group, a venue, somewhere to put my head at night and a voluntary donation, suggested to be a minimum of €20 a head. On request (and at extra cost of course), I'll drag cousin Bart along to also cook a gourmet wild food meal. Apart from in English, I can also do it in German and Italian and at a squeeze (with the help of my wife and lovely assistant) in French and Dutch. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please get in touch on tuscanytipple at libero dot it.
Now quickly to the wild food of the month, Lamb's Quarter chenopodium album:
The second half of June and now the beginning of July it has been exceedingly hot and dry and most wild plants are starting to wilt or just bolt to seed. Not this one. It's smooth, slightly succulent leaves are holding on to the water and it still remains green and fresh. In Britain the common name is actually Fat Hen, whilst Lamb's Quarter is what our cousins from across the pond call it. I don't use the name fat hen, because of the possible confusion with another plant with this same common name, which is also known as smearwort (Aristolochia rotunda) and no relation. The Italian, as so often, have come up with a much more descriptive common name: farinaccio, which refers to the slight floury bloom on the surface of the leaves, farina meaning flour in Italian.
The plant grows a metre or so tall and the slightly serrated, diamond shaped leaves grow on strong erect stems. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads, but it is recommended that you cook them, because the leaves contain saponins, which are the same toxin contained in many varieties of beans, but which are broken down down by heat. Thus cooked lamb's quarter makes an excellent spinach substitute. Cooked with beans they are said to lessen ther effect of bloating and f... flatulence. They are great in vegetable tarts too and they are rich in nutritious value containing high amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fibre as well as calcium, phosphorus and iron and vitamins A, B1 and B2.
It grows abundantly on the side of the road and as a weed on cultivated ground and as I say is quite drought resistant. So happy foarging and buon appetito!