This was a beautiful part of France. Châteaux, mountains, hot springs, French markets and lots more, from 17th August to 5th September 2010. Click to enlarge the map or photos.
Today we went to Gibraltar – I’d heard that the Upper Rock Nature Reserve is the only place to have monkeys in the wild, specifically Barbary Macaques. I wasn’t really expecting to see them, but there were loads of them! At one point, I was walking along, happily eating an apple when one of the monkeys came up to me, climbed up my leg and grabbed my apple. Unfortunately this all happened too quickly to get on camera, but I did manage to take the following pics of the monkey eating the stolen apple:
Getting into the swing of this now! Here are some photos from the first couple of weeks of August. As before click the map and photos to see large versions.
Oops, I’m a bit slow with this, here are some photos from July. We were in Briançon, only 10km from the border with Italy so we decided to pop over for a quick visit. The first night we camped wild and saw the most amazing sight, lots of fireflys. First time I’ve seen them, they fly around flashing a little light on and off, the affect is best when there are a lot of them. I did take a photo, but it came out black! We covered a lot more ground in a short time in Italy, we whizzed down the motorways to get to a few interesting places, unlike France where we mostly stayed off the motorways on the smaller roads.
Click on the map and photos to see larger versions:
If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that we set off on June 1st in a camper van. Below is an approximate map of wheer we went for the first five weeks of our trip, and below that some photos. From Briançon we went through the mountains over into Italy for a couple of weeks, I’ll put photos and a map of the next sections of the trip up soon.
Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Today I walked from Tortosa to Xerta mostly along the Rio Ebro and then back along the Via Verde (green way) which is a dissused railway line which has been converted to a footpath, the roundtrip was about 30km.
Food for the day:
For breakfast I had a mix of sprouted seeds (hemp, sunflower and pumpkin) with soaked goji berries, figs and apricots
Throughout the day I had about 5 kakis, 8 satsumas, a few dates and cacao beans plus an orange and some carob pods I found along the way.
When I got back I had a custard apple and then a large salad with wild greens I picked during the walk, courgette, olives, a tomato, some fresh dulse, sprouted rye and some onion basil and olive cracker.
I’m currently travelling in Spain and thought I’d post some photos from my trip.
I’m in Tortosa in Tarragona Province and I was very supprised to see Booja Booja raw ice-cream for sale on an organic stall in the market. There were two organic stalls, one with fresh fruit and veg where I got some delicious cherimoyas (custard apples). The fruit here is just divine, eating lots of kakis (persimmon) at the moment. Tomatoes with lots of flavour, so different to the UK!
I was walking in the forest when I heard a pitter-patter sound, like the sound of water dripping from the leaves after it has rained. But it hadn’t rained recently so I stood still and watched to see what was falling. Beech nuts! I’ve seen the empty outer shells before but never the actual nuts – I think the squirrels get them if you’re not quick.
The individual nuts were falling out of the outer shells onto the ground. I picked up a nut and found that unlike most nuts it was very easy to open with my finger nails. The nut looks a bit like a pine nut, and surprisingly it also tasted a bit like a pine nut.
I’ve done a little research and found that beech nuts (also called beechmast) are high in tannins and shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities. Soaking them for 8 hours or more and then rinsing them removes some of the tannins and probably makes them easier to digest.
We opened and then soaked the ones we collected and made pesto with them, not quite as creamy as when made with pine nuts but still delicious.
The European beech, Fagus sylvatica, also known as the common beech, is part of the Fagaceae family which also includes oak and sweet chestnut (but interestingly not horse chestnut which is unrelated).
I found a public domain illustration of a beech branch with leaves from an old 1801 book and used it to create a t-shirt and shopping bag for my organic clothing website.
Spring is here, brining with it lots of wild flowers, many of which are edible. Here is a selection I found yesterday. Click on an image to enlarge.
Hawthorn flowers are a good flower to start with, they don’t have a strong flavour. White dead nettles are another easy flower, not too strong and can be quite sweet. They are not related to stinging nettles so they won’t sting you!
Dandelion flowers can be a bit bitter and can take a bit of getting used to, but I like them now. Wild garlic (ramsons) flowers have a delicious sweet garlicky flavour while Jack by the hedge flowers have a stronger flavour – garlic and mustard with a little bitterness.
As always, take care when picking wild food and make sure you are certain about what you are eating.
The wild garlic (ramsons) is just coming into flower. The leaves are great in salads or made into pesto.
The flowers are delicious, they have a strong garlic flavour with a nice touch of sweetness and creaminess.
Tulips are beautiful, this is taken in Nunhead Cemetery. According to Twinkel’s article in the latest Funky Raw magazine they are edible but somehow they look too good to eat!
I don’t know what this is but it is very pretty. It’s in Peckham Rye Park.
(Click on any photo to enlarge.)