Today Black nightshade (Solanum nigra) – Toxic. It’s nice to see the reason for the name of this plant, those beautiful black mini tomato-like fruit.
And next is a photo of Chickweed (Stellaria media) in Paris last week. My friends Elodie & Herman were visiting there and spotted this lovely specimen. Even the drains look beautiful in Paris!
Just look at this healthy mixed crop of herbs and vegetables! They look good, don’t they? Now look closer at the backdrop. I had a wonderful lunch at Youko’s 3rd floor Amsterdam apartment recently, this is one of her window boxes, planted with a huge variety of edibles and medicinals. I was so impressed by the selection she has managed to nurture up there and the plants that I was fortunate enough to taste, were first class.
Here’s her other window box. An equally fine assortment! Youko is currently growing courguettes, marjoram, spring onions, cabbage, nasturtiums, peas, a sugar plant, shiso, vervaine, and many more.
An interesting point we discussed, over the window boxes, was that many of her neighbours have followed suit and now tend edibles in similar locations.
Obviously not everything does well in this exposed situation, where drying winds are the main challenge. Youko and I seem to share the same philosophy that if a plant thrives it can stay, if it doesn’t it can be replaced next year. It’s not a bad way of thinking when gardening anywhere.
This morning Youko sent me the following photos of pavement gardens, planted and tended by a 5 year old. Now if that 5 year old can do it so can many more of us!
The day before visiting Youko, I’d posted about Elodie’s third floor balcony and other ways to garden in small spaces. I’d love to see more photos of your edibles growing in unexpected, mundane or precarious urban spaces. If you have any, please feel free to email them to me or to post them on the Urban Herbology Facebook group. Maybe they will inspire someone else to take up the rewarding and addictive habit of urban edible and medicinal gardening. My email address is Lynn.Shore@gmail.com
This is a delicious recipe which uses sage and saffron to bring out the flavours of pumpkin and shellfish. It has been sent to me by Elodie, from Amsterdam who I hope will be regularly contributing recipes.
Pasta with Pumpkin, Sage, Saffron, St. Jacques Scallops and Crayfish.
400 – 500g dried pasta shapes
1/4 small green or orange pumpkin (approximately 250g), seeded, peeled and diced
1 fish stock cube
1 medium onion
4 St. Jacques scallops (Coquilles), finely sliced or diced
10 – 12 Crayfish (Rivierkreeften)
Handful of frozen or fresh peas
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced, chopped or mashed (depending upon strength preference)
5 sage leaves
2 saffron strands
1/2 cup almond flakes
Tablespoon cream / creme fraiche
Dash of Thai fish sauce (optional)
- Cook diced pumpkin in a little water until soft (approx. 5 minutes), set aside.
- Make a cup of fish stock using the stock cube and boiling water, keep it ready.
- Cook your pasta of choice whilst preparing the sauce as follows.
- Dice onion and fry in a little olive oil until golden.
- Add saffron and garlic to the pan and cook gently.
- Add sage and peas.
- Add the crayfish and a little of the fish stock ( keep the rest so you can add more if required).
- Add a tiny dash of Thai fish sauce, if you happen to have it.
- In a separate pan fry the Coquilles St. Jacques in a little oil, until thoroughly cooked. Try a little piece to make sure the scallops are not under-cooked.
- In the same pan gently fry the almond flakes until light brown. Reserve the almonds separately.
- The minute your pasta is cooked and drained, stir the pumpkin, St. Jacques and cream into your sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the almond flakes.
- Add salt and pepper to your own liking.
This is an excellent dish using the seasonal Pumpkin and Sage in a slightly different way!
Bon Appetite !