Wild Food: Pellitory Of The Wall and Salad Burnet

This article was first published in Funky Raw magazine issue 36.

Pellitory Of The Wall, Parietaria officinalis

Pellitory of the wallA couple of weeks ago I went on a wild food walk and discovered some new plants. Pellitory Of The Wall is in the Urticaceae family, that’s the same family as nettles. It has a hairy texture, actually one of it’s common names is sticky weed as it will sometimes stick to clothing, although it is nowhere near as sticky as cleavers which also has sticky weed as a common name. To be honest if I just put a leaf of this in my mouth I don’t like the rough texture, but mixed into salads with other wild greens it is not noticeable.
The pollen is known to cause allergies in some people, so careful if you are sensitive to pollen.

Pellitory of the wallAs you might have guessed from the name, you will often find this plant growing on walls – it grows on the side of our house!

The leaves are smallish so I pick the whole tops, the part which looks tender, the stem is also tender at the top.

This plant has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal plant for its diuretic action, to sooth chronic coughs (probably as a tea) and as a balm for wounds and burns.

One reference even says it is good for cleaning windows, I’ve not tried that yet!

Salad Burnet, Sanguisorba minor

Salad burnetI don’t quite know how I never knew this plant before, I’ve heard the name mentioned regularly but somehow I never met the plant until now. Maybe because it is a very small plant; I tend to go for larger leaves to make a good salad. Or maybe because the Portuguese name for this plant “pimpinela” caught my attention more than the English name!

Excuse the lines on my photo, it seemed like the best way to take a photo was put it on my notebook to get a clear view.

When I tried it, it had a nice flavour, a bit different to other wild greens and no bitter flavour, although according to Ken Fern of Plants for a Future “In the acid soil of our Cornish trial grounds, the leaves have a distinctly bitter flavour, though when the same plants were grown on a chalky soil they had a much milder flavour” and according to Wikipedia “Typically, the youngest leaves are used, as they tend to become bitter as they age.”

Salad burnet

Monthly Raw Food Snack Box

I want to introduce my new service to you – a monthly raw treat box. Each month subscribers will receive a selection of raw snacks: chocolate bars, snack bars, crackers, that kind of thing, plus product samples when available. Subscribers will also get free access to all PDF copies of the Funky Raw magazine (back issues and new issues) plus 5% off all orders from the Funky Raw shop. All this for only £15 per month… click here to read more and subscribe. The first box will be going out in the first week of June.

Raw Treat Box

Sunroot Raw Crisps Review

Sunroot crispsThis is quite a unique product so I was intrigued to sample it. It’s got one single ingredient, organic Jerusalem artichoke, which is grated and dried to produce a snack. It is very crispy, but does soften quickly once in your mouth. And strangely, the flavour does remind me of crisps (regular cooked potato crisps), there is even a slight fatty flavour like crisps! The flavour is very subtle, and slightly balnd, I found I preferred to eat them with a pinch of Himalayan salt. I’m sure you could add other flavours, maybe a dash of curry powder would work if you like it spicy.

Sunroot CrispsJerusalem artichoke is a pre-biotic which means it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your stomach, helping your digestive system.

This product is made with Jerusalem artichoke grown organically in Slovakia. You can order them direct from the producers at the Erbology website. They cost £1.99 for a 30g bag or £3.99 for a 100g bag.

Raw Chocolate “Rice Krispie” cakes recipe

I had the idea that maybe buckwheaties would make a good substitute for rice krispies to make a healthy raw treat. Buckwheaties are sprouted buckwheat groats which have been dehydrated making them crispy. You can either make them yourself or buy them ready made (eg here at Funky Raw).

Buckwheatie cakesIngredients

25g cacao paste
15g cacao butter
10g coconut butter

2 tablespoons lucuma powder
2 tsp carob powder
2 tsp mesquite powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp honey

70g buckwheaties

First make the chocolate. The ingredients listed make approximately 100g of chocolate, so you can make the same amount of chocolate using your preferred chocolate recipe, or even melt some ready made raw chocolate bars (a couple of Vanoffe Dark bars might work well).

Melt the cacao paste, cacao butter and coconut butter. Stir in all the powdered ingredients and honey (or other sweetener of your choice, or leave it out completely if you prefer).

Mix in the buckwheaties and form into balls. This is the messy part – hopefully the chocolate is starting to set a little by now which should make it easier! Maybe you could try spooning the mixture into paper cake cases if you don’t want to get messy chocolate coated fingers, although surely licking your fingers at the end is part of the fun!

With these quantities I made 7 balls, although they were a little bit too big so you could make them a little smaller and make 8 to 10.

This should also work well with activated pumpkin seeds, something I will try soon! Or even a mixture of pumpkin seeds and buckwheaties… Let me know in the comments if you come up with a good variation.

Book review: ReWild Yourself by Rachel Corby

This review was first published in Funky Raw Magazine Issue 35.

Rewild yourself coverIf you are a regular reader of Funky Raw then many of the themes covered in this book will be familiar to you, although they are tied together with the overall theme of re-wilding ourselves which may be new to you. Rachel’s main premise is that we have come a long way from our original wild state, and that “re-wilding” is how we are going to fix many of the problems of the world today. She says “I believe the first step in reclaiming areas of land and habitat, to saving, refurbishing, rewilding them, is to find the wild place inside, to rewild yourself.”

The book begins by trying to understand what has gone wrong and the events that led to the current situation where humans are disconnected and separate from nature and destroying the remaining wild places at an alarming rate.

It then starts us on the process of rewilding ourselves, with practical exercises and ideas to move us in the right direction. Rachel suggests that all parts of nature are alive, from animals and plants to rocks, and that we can and should communicate with them all. This is how wild animals and indigenous wild humans survive in dangerous situations by listening to the messages from nature.

In the section “Embracing the Wild” Rachel looks at some specific exercises to help us including walking barefoot, sleeping under the stars, wild swimming, foraging for wild food and more. The next chapter then goes into detail on awakening our senses: hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste, again with exercises to help us fine tune these senses.

The contents of chapter eight will be particularly familiar to readers of this magazine “Eating your body wild”, all about the importance of eating a natural diet and raw food.
“Deep Nature Immersion” is also part of Rachel’s suggestions. She says “When you can, even if that is just once a year, or once in a lifetime, make the pilgrimage to somewhere truly wild and immerse yourself.” This leads on to Vision Quests, which can be doe as part of an organised group where there is someone watching out for you during your time alone in the wildness of nature.

Finally, entheogens are discussed as a way of seriously deepening your connection with nature and in many cases allowing you to experience actually becoming nature.
Rachel understands that over half the population of Earth currently live in cities, so her suggestions work within that limitation and doesn’t suggest that everyone needs to immediately move to the countryside; her ideas and exercises are designed to be used wherever you currently are and help you find the wildness are around your current environment, including the dandelions poking up through your lawn and the wild flowers growing in the cracks in the pavement.

I totally recommend this book to everyone, no matter where you are on your path. Personally I’ve been practising most of the suggestions in this book for many years but still found this book useful. Or it would make a great gift to help someone on their journey.

Available direct from the author at either as a printed book or ebook: www.gatewaystoeden.com

Fermented Grape Drink Recipe

This recipe was first published in Funky Raw Magazine issue 25 (2012) – I’ve been making it again recently as grapes are in season.

I’ve recently discovered this drink and I love it. Jolita first made it, adapted from recipes in the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and then I worked out the exact recipe.

According to Nourishing Traditions, drinks like this were consumed by traditional people. Modern drinks like soft drinks, stronger alcohol and “sports drinks” have replaced traditional drinks. But of course the traditional drinks were much better! They contain lactobacilli probiotic bacteria which help with digestion, they quench the thirst much better than plain water and contain electrolytes and minerals so also great to drink when exercising, better than the so called “sports drinks”.

The fermentation will make this drink mildly alcoholic, our guess is less than 1%, similar to kombucha.

Ingredients

  • 250g grapes (I like it with black ones best, but green or a mixture works just as well)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: teaspoon of whey (I haven’t been using this)

Method

Remove the stalks from the grapes and place in a bowl.

Crush the grapes – I used the wooden ‘pusher’ from our juicer, maybe a rolling pin would work. (And I’ve recently discovered I can do it with my hands!) Try and make sure all the grapes have been crushed.

Crushed-grapes

Place the crushed grapes into a 1 litre jar – I use a kilner jar.

Mix the lemon juice, honey and some water and add to the jar. Then add more water so that the jar is nearly full, but not completely as you need to leave room for expansion during the fermentation.

finished-grape-drinkFermentation time depends on temperature and other factors – try it after 24 hours but I have found that 36 to 48 hours is about perfect. To drink strain off the grape skins.
It doesn’t keep too long after getting to ‘perfect’, although it will probably keep better in the fridge at this point (we don’t have a fridge at the moment.) Also, the addition of whey is supposed to slow the fermentation down, which means it should keep a bit longer if you use it.

This recipe works with various fruits instead of grapes, we’ve tried with orange juice, lemon juice, pears and melons – lots to experiment with…

Simple Raw Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Raw Chocolate Brownie

A few days ago I saw a post for a raw chocolate brownie with only two ingredients. I was intrigued so I followed the link. The two ingredients were dates and cacao powder. Now, while that might make a tasty snack, without any fat it doesn’t really make a satisfying brownie. So here is my simple brownie recipe, four necessary ingredients and one optional:

I used deglet nour dates, if you use medjool dates then you might need to adjust the recipe slightly as medjool are sweeter.

Remove the date stones and chop the dates and coconut meat. Process well in a food processor.

Add the cacao and carob powder and the vanilla if you are using it and process again, it should start to thicken up, although it is still very sticky! You could add more of either powder if you need to make the mixture a bit thicker.

Enjoy! What’s your favourite simple recipe?

Fermented Cod Liver Oil Controversy

Fermented cod liver oilAbout a week ago, Dr Kaayla Daniel published a report on Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil giving various reasons why she claims it is not good. The report is not publicly available, you need to give your name and email address before you can read it – you can access it here. Very soon afterwards, Green Pasture put out a blog post refuting this. And then Yesterday Chris Masterjohn published a critique of Dr Daniel’s report.

Disclaimer/Conflict of Interest: As you may know, I sell the Green Pasture brand of Fermented Cod Liver oil and Butter Oil on my website. I also take it daily. And I am not a doctor or scientist.

I found Dr Daniel’s report to be written in quite a strange way, overly emotional, and making accusations without any real evidence. I found this bit particularly strange “Notably, Green Pasture does not seem to have filed a patent application for its unique and mysterious “fermentation” process.” – anyone who knows about patents knows that a patent is to protect the inventor, and there are reasons why people don’t want or need to apply for them, and it implies absolutely nothing about the process.

A key point people seem to be bringing up is that Lab #3 said that the cod livers in the Cattle Lick product (not the FCLO for human consumption) was “100 percent Alaskan pollock.” But failing to mention that in the “2.4 Evaluation of Species” section of Lab #5, it says “These values of sn-2 position specificity are similar to previous analysed cod liver oil samples. […] The overall CNMR carbonyl profile are similar to cod liver oil, although the levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in sn-2 position seems to be a bit higher than previously analysed cod liver oils.” And as someone points out in the comments to Chris’s article, Alaskan Pollock is a type of Cod fish:

Atlantic cod = Gadus morhua.
Pacific cod = Gadus macrocephalus.
Alaska pollock = Gadus chalcogrammus.

Reading Chris Masterjohn’s critique put my mind to rest, it seems that Chris understands the subject better than Dr. Daniel, and gives a more balanced view. From this I have decided to continue taking the Green Pasture products, and continue to sell them. (I currently take the infused coconut oil.) But I’m providing the links above to all three documents so you can read and make your own mind up. What do you think? Please leave your comments below.

Update 7 Sept 2015: Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston Price Foundation has now also published a reply here and also in February this year published test results showing the the FCLO is not rancid.

Update 21 Oct 2015: We are now also stocking Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO) at Funky Raw. This is completely unprocessed and raw from wild cod from Norway.

Chia Pudding Recipe

I was at a festival the other week (Tribojam, it was amazing) and of course I didn’t have my usual full store cupboards of food, which forced me to experiment more. I had lots of chia seeds with me and made a few different chia puddings. So this is a very flexible recipe, you can add what you have. Start with the following:

Organic Chia Seeds

  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds – (at Funky Raw they still on special offer until the end of August)
  • Juice of half a lemon (or lime)
  • Approx 300ml water

Mix together and leave to soak for 10 to 20 minutes. The chia seeds will soak up most of the liquid – you can add more water if you want it not as thick.

Then add a selection of fruit and flavourings as you desire. I like chopped pears, a couple of tablespoons of carob powder and a teaspoon of honey. Chopped or mashed banana also works well (this can be in addition to the pears or instead, up to you). I’m sure there are many other variations you can make, switch the carob for lucuma, algarroba or acai powder, add a teaspoon of bee pollen, or goji berries, etc.

For Sale: VW Camper Van, cheap but needs TLC

Edit: This van is now sold.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may remember this post where I told you all about the VW Camper van we bought and moved into. Well, five years later it is now time to sell the van. Unfortunately it is not in good condition any more and really needs someone who knows what they are doing to buy it and fix it up.

This van is currently in Portugal, but we will be driving it up to London in September ready to be sold (it is UK registered). As we won’t be in the UK for long I’d like to at least provisionally arrange the sale before we arrive.

Basic specification: VW T4, 2.5L Petrol (with GPL conversion which doesn’t work properly and not economical to fix), Automatic gearbox (replaced a couple of years ago), Left Hand Drive (imported from Germany, great for travelling in Europe), first registered 1993 (K reg), LWB (Long Wheel Base), fixed high top, Westfalia California Club conversion.

I’ll list some of the major parts and their status:

  • Side sliding door is very broken, it’s fine when it is closed but falls off when you open it – there is a technique for opening and closing it, but it really needs fixing.
  • Engine is doing quite well. Approx 291,000 km (approx 181,000 miles).
  • It does have some kind of problem that no-one seems to understand, it sometimes makes a sound and jerks a bit when changing gear, usually when going up a steep hill – the guy at the auto-gearbox garage said that it wasn’t a problem with the gearbox.
  • There is a leak in the radiator system and it needs topping up after almost every journey – I keep trying to get it fixed but it is never completely fixed.
  • Ignition switch is a bit dodgy, but there is a technique to starting it which works fine once you know it.
  • Fuel gauge doesn’t work most of the time. Fuel tank is 80 L but recently I’ve only been able to get 60 L in it, don’t know why.
  • Temperature gauge doesn’t work most of the time
  • Fair bit of rust, but so far nothing which is a problem for the MOT
  • Fridge is broken
  • Tap leaks a little bit (only when turned on)
  • Twin burner gas stove works fine
  • Fiamma wind out awning works fine (this is attached to the side of the van), really useful to give some shade in summer.
  • Also includes a full awning, although we have never used it, we didn’t take it with us travelling as it took up too much space inside the van
  • Mains hookup works fine, with 2 European type sockets in the van.
  • Heater in campervan part doesn’t work (heating in cab when engine running works fine)

The “rock and roll” bed is great, we find it very comfortable and fairly easy to set up. There is lots of cupboard space and storage space. Driver and passenger seats are “captains chairs” which swivel round to allow 4 people to sit around the table, and provide space to make the bed. There are two tables, a small one which is attached and easy to just lift up, or a larger one which is stowed away in the top bed area.

Seats 4 when driving (it has 4 seat belts), and sleeps 4, two on the main bed downstairs and 2 in the bed above which pulls out on runners, although it is designed for children, not for claustrophobic adults! The mattress for the upper bed is missing – we just use that top area for storage.

The layout is great with the kitchen at the back, which can be used even when the bed is out.

There is currently an 80 watt (at least, it might be 90 watt, I can’t remember) solar panel attached to the roof and a 1000 watt inverter which I am allowing for in the price, I could remove these if you don’t want them. This is connected to the two existing leisure batteries which power the lights, tap and 12v socket, and the inverter for using some mains powered equipment (we use it for a blender).

MOT until end of September. I’d prefer to sell it without a new MOT. The last few years it has cost around £1000 to put it through the MOT. If you want to buy it with an MOT I would be happy to sell it for £1000 extra and put it through the MOT for you. (Based on a firm sale with deposit, only cancelled and deposit returned if it can’t get an MOT or would cost too much to get an MOT)

Edit: This van is now sold.