“This is paradise! THIS is how life should be!” That’s the first thought that went through my mind when I arrived at the home of one of my favorite potters, Anna Lindell. Together with photographer/ foodstylist Bianca Brandon Cox we took a trip out her to shoot a small film (soon on You-tube) about the meeting between the wild edible plants (my specialty) and her ceramics. Read more about Bianca here: http://www.foodphotographyandstyling.se/
Anna lives on the farm where she grew up: Rosendal outside of Nyköping. Here she has her workshop, her horses, the family and miles and miles of forest and fields. She’s living my dream! Life, work, friends, family. All woven into on beautiful, creative, lifesupporting weave.
Oh, yes, Caraway. I get sidetracked. We took a walk in the edge of the forest and in the garden to see what we could forage to eat. I love cooking this way – when the place and the moment creates the meal. We found the intensely blue Common Milkwort, Nettles, Red Clover, Spruce buds, Lambs Quarters, Pineapple weed and, to my great joy, Caraway. Which I have known grows wild in Sweden but never had the fortune to find till now. Oh joy.
Caraway has been valued since thousands of years as a warming spice as well as for its medicinal properties. It is common to flavor bread, cheese, cookies and snaps. I love the flavor of this tiny seed – it warms up the heart and the belly, it stimulates digestion och relieves cramps and gastric problems. If you look closer at the kind of food where Caraway is used, you notice that these are dishes that are not altogether easy to digest without a little help from this friend, like splitpea soup, bread and cheese. Caraway does the trick for a smooth transition! How was it now he said, the wise mr Hippocrates..”Let the food be thy medicine end the medicine thy food”…This never grows old.
Inspired by Annas garden and what I had found I threw together a “Garden soup” which we enjoyed with a wild salad, fresh bread and great conversation. These are the moments I live for: spontaneous meals sprung out of what the place, season, day has to offer. Enjoyed in good company, surrounded by nature and an allowing atmosphere where conversation flows freely.
Here’s our warming Garden soup with Caraway:
3 quarts of Nettles and Goutweed or Lambs quarters
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 quart water
some spruce buds or wood sorrel
1 cup soaked almonds or cashew nuts (let soak 8 hours)
Rinse the herbs.
Bring water to boil. Add the herbs to the water, let boil a few minutes. Pour the soup in a blender, add almonds and avocado. Mix until smooth. Serve in you favorite soup bowl. Sprinkle the spruce buds over the soup. Serve!
Nettles and Caraway go surprisingly well together. A great infusion is made by crushig some Caraway seeds in a mortel, put the seeds in a tea pot, add some nettle, pour boiling water in the pot, wait five minutes. Enjoy.
Caraway looks a lot like Queens Anne’s Lace, but the leaves are more dill-like and its strongest characteristic is the scent – crush the seeds or flowers between your fingers and if if smells like licorice / anise, then you know who this is. The herb grows 30-60 cm tall. Its a biennial and it spends its first year gathering nutrition in the root, and the second year blooming. After it has set seeds it dies down, but leaves behind seeds that have found a home in the surrounding soil that will pass on the great flavor and warming power.
These are the bowls we served the soup in, Anna made them. Perfect for serving food sprung out of the wild.
Have a great Midsummer!