During lockdown social media has been full of pictures of banana bread, sourdough starters (whatever they are!) and other delicious things produced by the nation’s bakers. In between the chocolate beetroot cake and lemonade scones, I’ve been trying some of the free food that nature has to offer:
Nuts from the Monkey Puzzle Tree.
When we moved into our house 24 years ago there was a small monkey puzzle tree in the garden. Nearly a quarter of a century later, there is a HUGE monkey puzzle tree in the garden and, for the first time ever, it has produced nuts. A quick internet search confirmed that these nuts are edible if boiled for ten minutes. They taste a little like chestnuts and are very moreish …
Like most people I used to cook the green bushy broccoli top and discard the stalks. However, if you slice the stalks very thinly, they can be successfully stir-fried or roasted in the oven and there are even recipes specifically for broccoli stalks.
Obviously, blackberries aren’t a completely new food for me but I’ve never really taken advantage of the easily available abundance of this fruit until this year. Last week we picked A LOT of blackberries and now have stewed blackberries in the freezer and ten jars of blackberry jam in the cupboard. The pips are a disadvantage compared to strawberries and other jamming fruit but spread over toast they don’t cause too much of a problem.
What has all this got to do with writing?
Not a great deal, but it does nicely lead up to me telling you that the food and drink website pellicle.com is accepting paid pitches for its blog.
Tip: My wine-related pitch was turned down because they are stocked up on wine articles for the next six months – so you might want to peruse the website and come up with a different topic.
#1 by Alison on August 27, 2020 - 11:36 am
You need to try Blackberry Jelly, no pips. My absolute favourite jam, especially with peanut butter
#2 by Sally Jenkins on August 27, 2020 - 1:02 pm
Interesting combination with the peanut butter, Alison! Yes, I should do the jelly but the straining seems a bit of a faff.
#3 by Ann Williams on August 27, 2020 - 11:42 am
Sally, I think lots of us have experimented with culinary efforts this year and shortages in the early days of lockdown certainly made us more aware of using every scrap. I share your dislike for the pips in blackberries so I always turn blackberries into blackberry and apple jelly. A bit more of a faff having to strain it through a jelly bag overnight but still the same delicious taste and the apples help with the set.
#4 by Sally Jenkins on August 27, 2020 - 1:04 pm
Thanks. Ann. Jelly seems to be the way to go, will give it a try with the next lot that I pick.
#5 by Shirley Stow on August 27, 2020 - 1:18 pm
I steam my broccoli stalks, thinly cut, with the flower heads and they are delicious!
#6 by Sally Jenkins on August 27, 2020 - 1:21 pm
Sounds good, Shirley. Thank you!
#7 by lynnforthauthor on August 27, 2020 - 1:38 pm
Blackberry picking was one of my favourite autumn activities as a child …the whole family would go and each person would pick at their height …my dad reaching the highest ones and my youngest sister picking the lowest. Then the wonderful Proustian smell of blackberry jam bubbling in the huge pan. No bought jam has ever smelt or tasted as good ever since.
#8 by Sally Jenkins on August 27, 2020 - 1:53 pm
They do say that smell can instantly rekindle memories from long ago, Lynn. I think all homemade jam (like cakes) is much better than shop bought.