Wild fika

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Some of the assignments I get are more unusual than others, this is one of them. I was asked to create a “Wild fika” for an international group of professionals, visiting Svenska Institutet. They were from the US, Brazil and India visiting Sweden to learn about creating sustainable cities. Food is definitely an area to take into consideration. My talent is foraging and not baking so I invited talented foodwriter, blogger and cook-par-excellence Maria Paulsson, http://taffel.se/blogs/maria-paulsson to bake some yummie things from whatever the season offered. I picked spruce Needles, Rosehips, Rowenberries and Lingonberries, delivered over a morning coffee in town.

Wild delivery
Wild delivery

Maria made the most delicious bites: Lingonberry dreams (lingondrömmar).

Lingonberry dreams
Lingonberry dreams

And this…why is Rowenberry and chocolate a more frequently used combo? It should be! Chocolate and Rowenberry fondante.

Chocolate fondante with rowenberry
Chocolate fondante with rowenberry

I made a cream of Rosehip from the fresh fruits, and infused the cream with Sweet Woodruff. Maria made chewy almond cookies with spruce sugar….To. Die. For.

Cream of Rosehip, Sweet Woodruff infused cream and Spruce infused almond cookies
Cream of Rosehip, Sweet Woodruff infused cream and Spruce infused almond cookies

This is Maria preparing the Rosehip serving:

Maria Paulsson, creator of these wild delicacies
Maria Paulsson, creator of these wild delicacies

To drink they got Pine decoction (talldricka) and Elderberry lemonade.

Here’s me talking about Wild Herbs Collection, learning from our elders, ethical use of the wild and understanding we are one with nature. Never alone but all – one. From what I hear the guests loved Wild fika. I am grateful.

Speaking of wild things
Speaking of wild things

I would LOVE to make more Wild events with Maria! We’re thinking Wild Breakfast, Wild after-work-drinks…

Nature is good for you – be kind to it.

Lisen

Wild seed crackers

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I will never be known as a diligent blogger, that is for sure! Oh well, it’s just one of many of my shortcomings but hey – there is so much to fill the days with! Summer is here and so I thrive. I’m happy to announce that I am in the process of writing a new book with a short deadline (which to me is the best inspiration and the only way to get anything done). Very excited, and it wont be long till it will see the light of day, May 2017, so will tell more about it later.

But NOW, let’s focus on today: wild flower season is more or less over and the plants are busy producing seeds to assure their reproduction. A very magical thing, seeds. They contain all they need to grow a new plant after hibernating all winter. They are very nutritious food. Minerals, proteins, fatty acids, carbohydrates and lots of vitality! I have tried various recipes like seed mix to sprinkle on yoghurt or fruit, and seed crackers. Here I will share a recipe for the crackers – the actual baking them is fast and easy, it’s collecting and taking care of the seeds that takes time. Slow fast food!

Lambsquarters, Svinmålla
Lambsquarters

Step 1.

Begin by taking a walk in a green area, bring a pair of scissors and your favorite basket or a bag and go out for a walk on a dry, sunny morning before noon or early evening. Pick nettles (that have produced the tiny flowers that hang out on little clusters from the stem), lambsquarters (same – clusters of tiny flowers / seeds from the stem), wild cumin seeds and wild chives that have a small head of sprouts on top. For example. While you’re out there – pick a handful of tender yarrow leaves and dry those as well. Make them into small bouquets and hang them in a dry, warm spot, or spread them out on a sheet of paper to dry for a few days.

Wild chive sprouts
Wild chive sprouts

Step 2

When all is dry, the work begins – pulling or rolling off the seeds, this is the fun part. Begin by gently shaking the nettles over a bowl, then roll them between your palms and lastly pull off the last of the seeds from the little pendants. Do the same with the Lambsquarters. Pull off the seeds from the goutweed. Mix them in a bowl.

Nettle flowers
Nettle flowers

Step 3.

This step can be skipped over, if so, just replace the buckwheat with other seeds in the recipe. Buckwheat adds nice crunch and flavor to the crackers.

Soak 1 dl buckwheat in cold water over night. Remove the water. Set the oven for 100 degrees. Spread out the buckwheat evenly over a baking tray (covered with baking paper). Leave until dry, this may take a couple of hours.

Step 4.

The baking can begin. In a pot, bring 3 dl water to boil, add some nettle or yarrow or other green that you like to flavor the crackers with. Let it simmer under a lid for a few minutes. Remove the herbs.

Set the oven for 150 C.

Mix the following in a bowl:

1 dl flaxseed                                                                                                                                                                                        1 1 dl sesame seeds                                                                                                                                                                                 1 dl pumpkinseeds                                                                                                                                                                                1 dl roasted buckwheat (can be excluded, if so add more of the other seeds)                                                                                      1 dl sunflowerseeds                                                                                                                                                                               1 dl mixed wild weeds                                                                                                                                                                           1 tbs psyllium husk                                                                                                                                                                                 1/2 dl rape seed oil or other that you prefer such as olive oil for example                                                                                              2 dl herbal infusion                                                                                                                                                                                salt

Mix the seeds and psyllium husk in a bowl. Add the oil and salt, stir, then pour the hot water over it. Stir again. Put a baking sheet on a baking tray and spread out the seed mix, it should cover the whole surface. Use a fork to spread it out evenly, in a thin layer. Put the tray in the middle of the oven and leave for 40 – 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it to dry in the oven 10 – 15 minutes. Break into peaces of desired size. Done!

Wild seed crackers

Wild vases

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Just a quick pre-summer suggestion:

No need or reason to buy cut flowers this time of year to decorate your home. And frankly…how sustainable are most of those bright, gaudy flowers, flown in from far corners of the world, from plantations sprayed with chemicals. I say – save the money and take a lovely walk outside and look at what is around you – wild greens, by some considered weeds, make beautiful decorations. And they keep really well, mine have been in vase for a little over a week now.

Here’s what I’ve brought home recently:

Burdock stalks: Burdock has a life span of two years  – the first year it develops its root and big leafs that stay close to the ground. Second year it grows a stem and develops flowers, or what we know as “burrs”. Cut them before the flowers open. They make for a very stately bouquet.

Burdock (Kardborre). Arctium lappa.
Burdock (Kardborre). Arctium lappa.

Another plant that is shooting out the ground with the speed of lighting right now is Meadowsweet (Älgört). Pick the stems before it goes to bloom.

Meadowsweet, Älggräs (Filipendula ulmaria)
Meadowsweet, Älggräs (Filipendula ulmaria)

Wild Raspberry branches are a favorite – the are tall and last for weeks in a vase.

Wild raspberry, VIldhallon, (Rubus idaeus)
Wild raspberry, VIldhallon, (Rubus idaeus)

Don’t forget to begin to explore wild grasses. They are beautiful on their own and amazing to mix with other wild plants.

Wild beauties.
Wild beauties

Stay wild!

Lisen

Wild Cooking at Restaurangakademien

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Just have to share this – I was invited to do a workshop with foraging and cooking at Restaurang Akademien (Restaurant academy), something I was very humbled by, since this is a place that represents culinary knowledge and competence for professionals and lay people and play a big part in developing Swedish gastronomy on a daily basis. And the workshop was for people in the industry only so which made my ambitions fly sky high. But a little pressure can be very conducive to creativity and I decided to just…let it flow!

We met up at 9 am and lucked out with the weather which was sunny and warm, perfect for a foraging hike in the park. The group of 20 enthusiastic “food nerds” traipsed after me into to forest. It was fun to watch their suprised faces when finding so much food where all they saw was lush greenery. Foraging isn’t just about picking plants for food, it’s also about becoming more familiar with and aware of what nature gives us, learning to differentiate plants and see how they interact. To gain an insight in our very intimate relationship with nature and how our survival is depending on it, and hopefully awaken a desire to treat it with respect and love, just the way we treat ourselves and all other living species we share this planet with.

Result of our foraging, 18 lovely local, abundant plants.
Result of our foraging, 18 lovely local, abundant plants.

Amongst the greens we found were Yarrow, Nettles, Garlic mustard (Löktrav), Wood sorrel (Harsyra) Elm fruit (Almfrukt), Sweet Woodruff (Myskmadra), Sweet Cicely (Spansk körvel), Dandelion flowers, Spruce buds, Birch leaves, Meadow sweet (Älgört), and Fireweed shoots (Rallarros). I could see the minds working on this creative group, discussing the flavors and how they would best come to use,

We also discussed the importance of what I call “ethical foraging” – now that it has become very popular to go out and eat wild plants i see a lack of knowledge – knowledge as to how we fit into the ecological system and what plants are OK to pick:

– it is not OK to pick the whole patch of anything. It looks so inviting and abundant and greed settles in and we’re tempted to take it all but that is a NO NO NO! Only take maximum 20% of what is there.

– If it is an unusual plant, leave it where it is. Our survival is not dependent on this one plant bit the plant itself is – it needs to be left alone so it can reproduce. Also it needs to be there for those insects whose lives DO depend on it.

– Do not dig up roots or break branches without landowners permission.

– Forage gracefully: leave no traces behind – the patch where you picked should look the same as when you arrived.

– Say Thank You. Nature hears and appreciates that.

Nettle chips
Nettle chips

Happy with our harvest we returned to the Restaurant Academy where I let the group create the menu as well as recipes. In my headI had planned for them to cook a 3- course meal and there was fish, pizza dough, vegetables and rhubarb to add to the wild greens. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the level of ambition and creativity this group contained – they cooked up a storm! And we ended up eating a 7-course lunch! With pizza as an appetizer. And everything was so GOOD, I wish I could share the flavors with you but here are some pix to enjoy: We started off with Pizza as an appetizer. Not one but no less than FIVE pizzas. Yes, we finished them all.

Various wild goodies
Various wild goodies

Followed by Tempura fried Greens with Meadowsweet Mayo.

empura fried Greens with Meadow Sweet Mayo
Tempura fried Greens with Meadow Sweet Mayo

Then a slightly lighter snack.

Wild pesto served in Endive with Dandelion flower and Woodsorrel
Wild pesto served in Endive with Dandelion flower and Woodsorrel

Then: the Main course.

Perch, Sweetpotato purée, Sweet Cisely, Asparagus and Deep fried Nettle
Perch, Sweetpotato purée, Sweet Cisely, Asparagus and Deep fried Nettle

To fill out the last space:

Puréed potatoes with Yarrow (I think it was), Elmfruit and Woodsorrel
Puréed potatoes with Yarrow (I think it was), Elmfruit and Woodsorrel, Roe and chips from Jerusalem Artichoke.

To my great surprise, we had room for the desserts (yes, plural…):

Honey candied Hazelnuts with Sweet Woodruff flavored Rhubarb, Elmfruit, and whipped cream. Think it miahgt have been a Woodsorrel granité in there too
Honey candied Hazelnuts with Sweet Woodruff flavored Rhubarb, Elmfruit, and whipped cream. Think it might have been a Woodsorrel granité in there too

Dessert no 2 was a Sweet pizza with Rhubarb, Wood sorrel, Nettle, Spruce buds served with home made ice cream made from Fresh cheese.

That’s it!

Forage with grace, connect daily with nature and enjoy what it gives you – use it wisely.

Lisen

Proud to be wearing this apron!
Proud to be wearing this apron!

Sapmi comes to Stockholm

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So finally it we made it! Sami chef Kristoffer Åström, a.k.a Kebbe came to Stockholm with a suitcase full of the seasons best ingredients from Lappland. Good stuff like reindeer blood pudding, various reindeer cuts, char (röding), grayling (harr – en laxfisk) roe, cloudberries and coffee cheese. I had foraged the best of the wild greens the season has to offer in the Stockholm area and we had 10 very excited guests booked for the evening that was to take place at restaurant Matias Dahlgren. We were in for one eclectic dinner!

Foto Bianca Brandon-Cox
Foto Bianca Brandon-Cox

The background is this: two years ago I was in Lappland for the first time. That same summer I had spent 3 weeks in Mexico, also a first for me and I loved it but to my surprise, Lapplands landscape, the food and the sami culture seemed even more exotic to me. Nature up there blew me away – the air so clean and crisp you want to bottle it and take it back to the city. The mountain water is clear and delicious and you can drink it straight from the source. The landscapes spreads out in eternity and the mountains (then green, it was summer) surround you like a protective bosom. A landscape that makes you feel very small and insignificant, in the best way.

Menu Sapmi style by Kristoffer Åström
Menu Sapmi style by Kristoffer Åström

Life up there is different from busy Stockholm where it can take weeks just to arrange to meet for a coffee with a friend because everybody is too busy being busy. In Lappland I found myself being invited to peoples’ kitchen tables to sit down, share a coffee and a good talk, just sharing, enjoying meeting and being together. I was also taken by how relating to nature in a respectful manner is a natural thing. In the Same culture nature is considered our pantry, our pharmacy, our mother and a living breathing entity. If we don’t cooperate with it and chose to expoit it, not only do we harm it and all other living beings, we also will hurt ourselves.

Historically food and life in Lappland is based on Reindeer, it’s a part of the culture and a lifestyle. With summers being very short it’s natural to have a meat based diet, with less greens than we are used to further south. The greens came from the wild and were dried or fermented to last all winter. The cuisine more based on convenience, necessity and survival, mostly boiled, dried or fried. Flavor not a priority. Kristoffer has made it a life mission to bring this exotic, natural kitchen up to date and shares it passionately with the world. When he is not cooking he makes knives – and they are beautiful, you can see some of them in the photos below.

Back in the city I suggested to chef Oskar Petterson at Mathias Dahlgren if we couldn’t have a Sapmi theme at Matbordet (a concept within the restaurant where you get to meet the chef and watch / eat while he / she is cooking). Oskar jumped at the idea, being an avid nature freak who prefers to forage, hunt and hang out in the wild rather than being indoors.

So, I called Kebbe and asked him to come to Stockholm to give us city-people a taste of nature. I had gotten his number from a friend, we had never met. Luckily he didn’t hesitate for a second before he said yes! I LOVE it when people just say YES!

Happy chef. Photo Christina Cheng
Happy chef. Photo Christina Cheng

An exclusive group of 10 people came and and enjoyed this journey of flavor. I had foraged Goutweed (Kirskål), Spruce buds (granskott), Violets (skogsviol), Sorrel (Ängsyra), Elm fruit (almfrukt) and … can’t even remember everything! Some herbs were new to Kebbe but being the pro that he is he embraced these new flavors with an open mind. They turned out to be a perfect match to the northern fish and meats.

Ok, enough of my talk, here is what he cooked up:

Reindeer blood pudding with treacle butter – and I must say blood pudding never tasted so GOOD – a completely different story from the vacuum packed, mass produced pork blood pudding you buy in the store that is filled with sugar and more wheat flour than blood. Served with treakle butter.

Blood pudding
Blood pudding

Second we got suovas (salted and smoked rein deer) served on hung yoghurt, Red Deadnettle (Rödplister).

Next to it you see a slice of cold smoked reindeer heart with dried apples in brandy and butter. And violets.

IMG_5055
Suovas rose with rein deer heart. Photo Christina Cheng

Then:

Reindeer kalf liver fried in butter with fir buds (granskott) and creamed white cabbage. Being an avid vegetable eater my inner omnivore was completely satisfied and took these beautiful meats to heart.

Liver, cabbage, fir. Phot Christina Cheng
Liver, cabbage, fir. Phot Christina Cheng

And oh my gosh the flatbread…just off the stove served with butter. To do for. Here’s how much was left…

Flatbread leftovers Photo: Christina Cheng
Flatbread leftovers Photo: Christina Cheng

And the menu went on…

Poached Whitefish (sik) with Birch, Sweet Cicely (Spansk Körvel), Goutweed (Kirskål) with harr roe (Harr rom) and a poached egg. The birch sauce is made from fresh birch leaves, milk, lemon and salt. So simple and so exquisite.

Birch, Sweet Cicely, Egg, Whitefish Photo Christina Cheng
Birch, Sweet Cicely, Egg, Whitefish Photo Christina Cheng

and on…

Gravad char (röding) with Wood sorrel, Bird cherry flower (häggblomma), Linden leaf, onion and Sorrel dressing.

IMG_5049
Char, Wood sorrel, Bird cherry flower), Linden leaf, onion and Sorrel dressing. Photo Christina Cheng

By now we were pretty full but you know how it is – there is always a little corner left for dessert: Cloudberries served in the most simple and natural way: with creamy milk and sugar.

Cloudberries, milk, cream, sugar. Nothing beats simplicity. Photo: Christina Cheng
Cloudberries, milk, cream, sugar. Nothing beats simplicity. Photo: Christina Cheng

After all this – time for coffee with snack: coffee cheese – a cheese made from cow or goats milk made with rennet (löpe) that is heated, then left to solidify and then baked in the oven. This way it can be preserved for a long time, very practical when winters are long and you spend months on the mountain with the reindeer. Traditionally it is eaten by first putting it in coffee to soften. This is what we did. It’s also lovely to enjoy warm served with cloudberry jam. Coffee cheese wasn’t the only snack served – we were also challenged to adapt another Sapmi tradition – thin slices of dried raindeer meat (delicious on its own) also soaked in coffee! And guess what…it was surprisingly good! And this is why we go out to dinners like this, right? To challenge our habits, our tastebuds and ideas of what is “right”?!

Coffe cheese (Kaffe ost) from goats milk and dried reindeer meat.
Coffee cheese (Kaffe ost) from goats milk and dried reindeer meat.

Next time we hope to create an event in Lappland where we forage in the mountains and cook over fires outdoors. I really cannot wait! I’ll keep you posted on how this idea develops in which case I urge you to come, no matter where in the world you live! We’ll help you organize accomodation and other details. Stay tuned.

The lesson we learned from this evening was: keep it simple, keep it natural, eat local, be open to new flavors and any time you get a chance, surround yourself with friends around the dinner table.

Eat well!

Lisen

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Me in action. Photo Bianca Brandon – Cox
Oskar Petterson, chef at Mathias Dahlgren, and Kristoffer Åström prepping what was to become a memorable meal.
Oskar Petterson, chef at Mathias Dahlgren, and Kristoffer Åström prepping what was to become a memorable meal.
Feeling very professional
Feeling very professional

Elm fruit smoothie

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In my part of the world, Sweden, the best season for wild tender greens is NOW. One favorite is The Elm fruit, that has a very short season. I love these little paper thin coin like flowers like crazy. They have a mild nutty flavor that are best eaten raw. While in season I just sprinkle them on everything, or make a smoothie with Elm fruit and Cashew, here’s how to do it:

Take a handful of raw cashews and soak them overnight (or a day, but at least eight hours!). Pour the water out and put the cashews in a blender, add 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Add a couple of handfuls of fresh Elmfruits, Linden leaves and some Wood sorrel (for acidity) or lemon zest. Blend, add more water until desired thickness. Enjoy!

Elm fruit smoothie with cashew nuts.
Elm fruit smoothie with cashew nuts.

If you want a creamier version that you can serve with veggies, fish or as a dip, just add less water.

Green is great!

The Elm fruit season is short but sweet!
The Elm fruit season is short but sweet! Photo Charlotte Gawell

Lisen

Wild chips with a sting

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Kale  chips are just so 2015! Now is the time to look be more adventurous, step out of your comfort zone and look for ingredients in the wild, at least if you live in the northern hemisphere and spring is about to announce its arrival by offering its tender greens. Leave kale for winter and go forage for Nettles and Goutweed, the perfect foods to prepare for spring.

You’ve tried nettle soup, nettle omelette, nettle cream, fried nettles and nettle pesto, now make chips!

Wild chips!
Wild chips!

Super easy and fast:

a bowl of tender nettles and goutweed

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt

Put the oven on 170 degrees C.

Rinse the greens and leave them on a towel to dry off.

Put them on a  baking plate.

Add the oil and salt, mix and work it into the herbs.

Put in the oven 5 minutes.

Done!

And no, they don’t sting – the “stinging effect” is destroyed by the heat.

Works great with champagne, kombucha or to sprinkle on food.

Enjoy, Lisen

18263 days

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Today I celebrate having lived 18 263 days. Half a century. 50 years. That’s a lot of sunsets and sunrises, meals, toothbrushing, yogaclasses, waking ups, going to bed, toiletvisits, walks, lessons learned, meetings, encounters, tears, stages of life, hope and despair, failed loves and joyous friendships, successes and failures, life and deaths, careers and life changes.

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Growing older. It’s not about “staying young” I think. Can’t hold on to anything, especially not something as flimsy as time and age. It’s about embracing who and where you are in life with grace. Maybe.

I alway felt that being young – being a teenager, being 20 and “having-life-ahead-of-you”, being “youngandpromising” – too much pressure, too confusing and I was just always too old for my age somehow. I loved knitting, going for walks in nature and drinking tea with my friends! I and could never live up to the idea of young.

Turning 40 was great, I felt “This is who I am, no matter how hard I try I will never become somebody else, for better or worse. Like me or leave me” and I stopped trying to please everybody and be who I thought others wanted me to be” GREAT relief. Since then I have impatiently waited to turn 50. Finally I feel I have something to give, something to share. I needn’t worry about being “young and promising”, I can just be the odd one that I am and appreciate that.  Youth is so overrated!

Since I have now lived so many days I feel I have learned a thing or two that make my life and that of others more warm, light, simple, less lonely and more meaningful.Some lessons were earned the hard way so if you read this – just take the advice to heart and perhaps maybe they might, if not save you problems at least give you a few smiles on the way. You’re not alone.

So, for whatever it’s worth, take it or leave it, here we go:

– Stay warm.

– Make good sleep and good digestion a priority.

– Wear comfortable shoes.

– Eat well.

– You are important.

– Talk to strangers.

– Lose your way once in a while.

– Never hold back your tears. Let it rip.

– Life is more than just work.

– Don’t believe everything you read on line.

– Eat wild plants.

– Smile at a stranger.

– Nature is the worlds best medicin, therapy, friend, source of energy, life and food, entertainment and classroom. Enjoy it every day.

– Laugh. Especially at yourself.

– If you don’t find a life partner, don’t sulk! Maximize freedom and live your life the way you want it.

– Your body and only YOUR body will let you know what it the right food, lifestyle and exercise for you. Listen carefully.

– Perfect is boring.

– Unexpected change is to be expected. That is the only thing we can expect.

– Say Thank you. Rather say it once too many. To show appreciation for other people and making them feel special opens unexpected opportunities. If nothing else, you make their day.

– Say Hello to people you meet – not just your friends: but to the person at the cash register in the super market, the bus driver, the cleaner in your building, your neighbor or the person who serves you coffee at the coffee shop.

– Give and take compliments with the same joy.

– This is it.

– Eat organic, local foods in season.

– Hold up the door to the person behind you. To get a door slammed in the face just isn’t very uplifting. Hold it up, give a smile and make that persons day.

– Warmth, rest, restoring and good friends make wonders for your health.

– Be grateful for what you’ve got. I don’t know how many of my 18263 days of my life I have spent focusing on what I don’t have or who I am not. Let me tell you – bad idea, didn’t make me the least happy. And I didn’t get all those things either.

– Invite Gratitude and Inspiration: yes – “invite”. In times when I have felt dissatisfied, fatigued, frustrated, inadequate, lonely I tend to force myself to work, force ideas to work and life to change. But without fail I just banged my head against the wall believing I’m done as an artist and creative being. Now I know the trick is to Let Go. Stop running. Stop trying. I step to the side and out of my comfort zone. I go to nature. To the ocean, mountains and where I can hear the silence.  And I wait. Till suddenly, there it is, Joy, Inspiration, Gratitude. It is a beautiful thing and i get a new lease of life.

– Meditate.

– Invite your old and new friends to you a meal at your table.

– When life is tough, know that “This too shall pass”.

– Life is generous, it always gives you a new chance.

– Now leave the screen and go live your life.

Toodiloo, Lisen

 

A foragers workday

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When I tell people that among other things I am a forager and collect wild, edible plants for myself and for a few restaurants, the reaction I am often met with is a softening glaze in their eyes, them seeing me in a strawhat, basket in hand, skipping out in the greenery and sunshine and hang out with the plants, birds and butterflies all day… The own longings for nature reflected in my story. Yes, I have those days when the world is green, the sun is out and I have oceans of time to forage til I’m done but that is not norm…remember I live in Sweden. A great country in many ways but the climate is not always inviting or allowing for skipping around in a straw hat. I love what I do, I love connecting with nature on an everyday basis and gather from its bounty. I feel privileged to work with the inspiring, creative, ambitious and non compromising chefs that I do. But just to adjust your view of a foragers workday I want to tell you about a regular Tuesday in March: I wake up, praying for a little sun. It snows. The world is grey. It’s windy and +1 degree celsius. March in Stockholm .

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An there is no escape, as much as I’d love to just get ready for the day, pack my computer and take off to my warm, snug beautiful office to start brainstorming a new book I have promised wild weeds to two restaurants before tomorrow. And there is no way on earth I would let them down.

So I eat a warm breakfast, put on long johns, warm pants, socks, boots, sweaters, jacket, hat, scarf, mittens. I look like an Easter Witch all wrapped up except my nose and eyes.

Walking around in this weather is not so bad, the movement keeps you warm. I move fast on my bike, swearing over the cold winds. But try sitting still for hours picking tiny tiny plants – that’s when you’re being tried.

I find my “nettle spot”, put on my fingerless gloves, bring out my little herb scissors and start to rummage around last years nettles…I see them only when I sit down, they’re tiny, dark reddish green and barely distinguishable from the soil. But Oh! I begin to get excited. They are here! In spite of cold, in spite of lack of sun, the are here, they strive and they are Oh so tasty and full of sting.

IMG_4518

I pick out a bag, start cutting the little buggers, one by one, slowly slowly filling the bag. My fingers numb with cold. Asking myself what I’m doing out here freezing the living daylight out of me. But then – I hear a bird, then one more, a whole orchestra. I inhale the cold but fresh fragrant air and feel so full of energy and life.

It takes over an hour to fill a small bag. Later in the season, in just a few weeks, i’ll pick over a kilo (a BIG bag) in the same amount of time. Happy with my findings I slowly stand up (legs stiff from sitting in the cold) and get up on my bike. Again swearing over the wind and snow in my face, ride through the colorless city and reach the restaurant where the staff is eagerly waiting for my findings. I open the door, five people greet me with a warm welcome, I am seated by the stove with a cup a chamomile tea in my frozen hands, cold to the bone but slowly warming up. The staff excited over the tender greens, chatting, gossiping, planning. I am so lucky to have this and suddenly it is worth ever second out there in the cold. And I know they will cook the most wonderful, tasty food for their lucky guests tonight. I’m happy to be able to contribute, their happy and hopefully so will the guests be. And I had the fortune of yet again connect with nature, feel life stir in me and happy to have mastered myself enough to spite the cold.

Skörd i mars.

I guess foraging is a reflection of life itself: you have to accept the circumstances, focus on what you want to get done and what it is you want to give to the world, take the obstacles for what they are and remember when life feels hard “this too shall pass”. From cold in to the warmth. From work to rest. From lonely to together. All is transient.  So forget about waiting till you can go out in a summerhat, just take the weather as it is, pack a bag and scissors, dress warm and enjoy all that is given to you!

Skörd 17 mars 2015 Agrikultur

Stay wild,

Lisen

 

Vanilla Body Oil with Baobab

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While in Zanzibar I bought the most amazing Vanilla I have ever come across (Zanzibar is not called Spice Island for nothing!). It’s soft, fruity, sensual, sexy, feminine, earthy, moist, sweet, kind and warm, a scent full of promises and comfort, sensuality and love. I love Vanilla. In food as well as in body products (though not in perfume! Too sweet!).

Try vanilla oil on a salad or in a Turnip soup. Or just rub on your skin and feel fabulous.

When I had a skin care brand, I used to make Vanilla Body Oil on rare occasions and sell it on a “limited edition” premise.  It went fast and people still ask for it. Here is the recipe, i’ts so easy to make, provided you have good Vanilla. Nowadays I just make it for myself and a few very dear friends (who claim they can’t  live  without it, which I strongly doubt but I would hate for them to pass on so I don’t risk it!). The recipe is found in one of my books, Lisens Indian Spa” (only available in Swedish), but now you can make it too!

What you need: Good Vanilla (choose organic if you can) is a must. Previously I used Almond- and Jojoba oil but now, after my trip to Africa, I have fallen in love with the Baobab tree and its oil.

Baobab tree: superfood, super medicine, super water container, food for elephants and humans.
Baobab tree: superfood, super medicine, super water container, food for elephants and humans.

Baobaob oil i nourishing, rejuvenating, healing and easily absorbed by the skin.The tree is indigenous of Africa and is, to me, nothing less than a miracle: the trunk can contain up to 120 000 liters of water (120 tons), live for 5000 years, feeds both elephants (the bark and leaves) and humans who enjoy its fruit, considered a superfruit due to its high content of antioxidants, Vitamin-C and healing properties. The oil is pressed from its kernel.  In Africa the Baobab tree is known as “Tree of Life”.

Experiments with the proportions of the oils is best for you. I like the one in the recipe – if you prefer 50/50 go for that or…it’s your oil, you decide!

If you don’t have Baobab oil or Jojoba, use Almond.

I like to scent my oil with either Lime,Lemon or Olibanum essential oil. Olibanum because it is know to be “immediately grounding” – something I often need.

So, here’s the recipe. Easy Peasy as the Naked Chef Jamie Oliver says when he cooks up a storm.

1 part jojoba oil

2 parts baobaboil

Vanilla pods – I used 4 – 5for 2 cups water. Should it become too strong, just add more oil after it’s done to dilute it.

Scent: essential oil of lime, lemon or Olibanum.

Ingredienser till världens härligaste olja
Ingredients to the worlds most delicious Body Oil

Cut up the Vanilla pod length wise.

Skär upp vaniljstången
Cut upp vanilla

Scrape out the seeds and put them in a dry, clean glass jag. Let the pod itself go in the jar too, along with the seeds.

Skrapa ur fröna.
Scrape out the seeds.

Add the oil. Leave the jar open before you put the lid on so the air bubbles go up to the surface and disappear.

Häll på oljan
.Add the oil

Close the lid. I usually leave the jar in a dark cool cupboard – cool is easy…I’m in Sweden….Leave it there a few weeks. Låt stå i ett skafferi ett par veckor. Eller i ett fönster, båda funkar. When done, remove the pods, add a few drops essential oil, pour the oil into a suitable bottle. Use for daily skin care and / or massage.

Låt stå en stund innan du sätter på locket
Leave the jar open so air bubbles get a chance to escape .

Smell good, makes everybody happy!

Lisen

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