All posts filed under “Homegrown

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Food for the zombie invasion (or pretty poor home-made capers)

Capucines

I’ve long had a thing for zombie-knowledge. That is, things that would be useful to know (perhaps) in case of a zombie invasion or the outbreak of a third world war, such as mending your clothes, collecting rainwater efficiently, or making your own capers.  But I have a long way to go for the last skill. I got the idea of making capers with dandelion buds from the Wild Plant Forager blog, and set out in the forest with my friend Johanna in May to gather some, in true Swedish spirit. As all Swedes ought to know, dandelion doesn’t really grow in the forest, so our yield was pretty poor.

Salted dandelion buds

Nevertheless, we pickled our trove in salt and vinegar, and let them sit for two weeks. We tested the result on a group of four, out of whom three almost had to spit them out. (It shall be noted here, however, that person no. 4 claimed to kind of enjoy them).

Dandelion buds in vinegar

After this failure, we tried following a Finish recipe for pickled dandelion buds and bedded them in layers of salt, where they were supposed to rest for three months. We tried them after one month, at which point they tasted of hay and salt. Not as bad as before, but not by any means a decent substitute for capers. The test group results this time were 2 for(ish), 1 against, and 1 abstention. They are still sitting on a shelf in the kitchen waiting for something magical to happen in the next two months.

Pickled dandelion buds

This long wait took me to round number three: capucine capers. I happen to have capucine growing everywhere on the terrace, so gathering their seed-pods was easy enough. I followed the steps laid out on various Swedish blogs on how to pickle them, which entailed covering them in boiling brine (salt and water) and leaving them for three days, after which they should be rinsed, then soaked in boiling vinegar, salt and bay leaf.  After three days in the fridge, I must say, of the three batches I tried, these ones were the best. They have a strong taste of vinegar and are very salty. I suppose they could tenuously be compared to the pickled cabbage served at Turkish restaurants. But I will perhaps manage without capers should a zombie outbreak occur.

Capucine capers

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Kohlrabi and beetroot salad with honey mustard dressing

Earthy summer salad with spicy and sweet undertones
Kohlrabi salad

Kohlrabi is quite a comical vegetable, both in name and shape. It’s got nothing to do with Jewish rabbis, but the name is old Austrian German for “cabbage turnip”. But since its appearance is so endearingly strange, I decided to try grow them in our terrace garden. I had to weed some out to give space for a very dominant cabbage, and discovered that it adds great crunch and a mild cabbage flavour to salads. It’s great mixed with sweet, earthy beetroot, bitter salad leaves like rocket, salty cheese and savoury chives, and topped with a sweet mustard dressing. The thin kohlrabi slices look rather posh too, if you’re trying to impress someone.

Kohlrabi

The kohlrabi you grow at home can be harvested before it grows larger than an apple, as it might become too wooden later. If you buy from the shop, it might be fully grown and therefore have a hard peel which you need to remove. Either way, you can slice it very thinly, and eat it raw to best appreciate the mild flavour.

RocketYou need:

– 2 handfuls rocket,
– 2 large beetroots, cooked and roughly chopped
– 2 young thinly sliced kohlrabi, with chopped leaves (if they look cheery enough)
– Half a bunch scallions, chopped
– Half a feta cheese bloc, cubed
– Half a handful chives, chopped
– Honey mustard dressing (mix one quarter each of apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard and a neutral oil + 1 teaspoon salt)
– Salted peatnuts

No complicated instructions needed here: just toss all the ingredients together and add a few tablespoons of dressing. The dressing benefits from standing for a while, so it’s good if you can make it in advance. To slice the kohlrabi as thinly as possible you might want to use a potato peeler, unless you have some sort of kitchen gadget that will do that for you.