Monday, 19 April 2010

Flower Power

The Forage

I've foraged for dandelion flowers before. Last year I made a fowl tasting sore throat remedy to help me get through my endless colds. I put it in green tea to hide the taste. Eventually my taste buds must have told my throat to knock it off already. And that's how you cure the common cold. Revulsion.

So boiled to death and sugared up they taste awful but there is a well-known fact in our flat. If Alys Fowler says so we have to try it. So after watching her make dandelion fritters of this week's episode of The Edible Garden we really did have to.

Hers were dipped in pancake batter and fried so we did a twist on the traditional and used the (American style) pancake batter from Vegan with a Vengeance adapted slightly. The recipe is enough for around 15 dandelion heads which is a perfect for two people as a snack. Any leftovers can be used to make a tiny pancake.

Dandelion Fritters

For the batter:
  • 40g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 75 ml soy milk
  • a drop of vanilla extract
  • 15 dandelion heads
  • icing sugar, for dusting
1. Whisk together the batter ingredients. Try to get it as thin as humanly possible. Or cheat. We use the whisk attachment on our mini blender.

2. Heat the pan with a little oil test that it is warm enough by dropping a bit of batter in. It should sizzle.

3. Holding the flower by the green back dunk it in the batter and splat it into the frying pan, yellow down. Do about half the flowers at once.

4. Once the bottom is browned, which should take no more than two minutes, flip over. You may need to push it down a bit with the spatula to cook evenly.

5. Once the other side of the fritter is browned remove from the pan and cook the other half in the same way.

6. Dust with icing sugar and eat.

The Pansy Problem

This pansy was supposed to a violet. I went shopping for violets. We walked up to the local B&Q and Focus. We comparison shopped for violets. I decided on the basic violets being cheaper and a mix of colours. I came home with pansies placed on the wrong shelf. Oz. I planted them anyway, fully prepared to resent them. But I love the colour of this one, and it's velvet soft petals. So perhaps pansies aren't so bad. Violets next year though.

The Promise

But by far the most exciting flowers we get are the ones that turn into food. There are a few strawberry flowers poking up right now and masses of black current. I know food plants aren't supposed to be beautiful and you are supposed to hide them away in a plot or patch rather than a garden proper but come on... who can look at this and not be excited. And who can say it isn't beautiful.

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