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Less is more: young, fresh shoots to collect during Lent. #wildfood

Having reached the ‘half-way mark’ during Lent and I’ve bought a few charity shop items (supporting local and international causes), visited Brighton VegFest with the Vegan Organic Network and enjoyed a new Seaweed produced by @Seagreens.

Since then, Spring reminds us that fresh, new shoots are bursting forth and flower buds preparing to bear fruit later in the year. Behold the best wild food foraging season in the urban South East London region and another walk tour around our local @Mountsfield Park, which yielded many meadow and woodland delights.


Here’s how to pick your own wild green salads, to save purchasing mixed salad leaves, pre-prepared in plastic bags.

In the lower woodland area: Dead nettle has square stems (with apparent edges), tiny pink flowers and leaves similar to that of stinging nettles, offering a robust flavour, minus the sting (hence it’s name). Chickweed (Stellaria Media) spreads and grows horizontally, along the ground, in clumps, with tiny white flowers and lots of leaves, which all has a light flavour, like lettuce.

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is in lush leaf – with feathery foliage, celery stalk like stems with white buds becoming tall, umbelliferous flower heads later in Spring. Beware not to confuse this with Hemlock, a poisonous, similar plant to which Hogweed is also akin but with purple spots along the stems. Only touch those stems which are green (& not covered in purple splotches).

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) grows in low level clumps (to a metre high in summer) with iron-rich leaves, delicious to juice (in moderation) or boil into a tea and offers us a natural energy and stamina boost, due to its high iron levels. Combining Dandelion(Taraxacum) detoxes our urinary tract and large Burdock leaves (and roots) opens cells for purification. The former ‘Lion’s-tooth-plant’ (in French) refers to the shape of the plant’s leaves and yellow flower head.

Yarrow (Achillae millefolium); feathery little leaves grow in the grass and have a strong flavour, great for blood clotting and wound healing, as is Plantain (Plantago) with ribbed, pointed, finger-like leaves with threads form parts of the ribs (part of our ‘common-thread’ principle.

We each enjoyed all of these leaves, which due to their being uncultivated, offer us unprecedented mineral amounts of Calcium and magnesium, plus Chlorophyll, as a blood cleanser, which helps in thyroid balance, glowing skin, hormonal balance and energy. Each weed offers a unique, vibrant taste and grows tenacious, wild and free; elements which pass into our cells: we are what we eat (and absorb).

Dandelions

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A Sustainable Lent; a time for giving up of excess consumption

Last week, we taught in school the concept of making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday (& as it transpired, also, on Ash Wednesday), as the tradition of using up simple ingredients to prepare for 40 days of fasting during Lent. Much conversation and pancake making (& eating) ensued x 25 vegan pancakes infact; all made using egg replacer powder and a dairy-free / soya milk. Served with fresh fruit & jam, as Stillness is a #Sugarsmart registered school and we had happy kids.

At home, we made a fresh chocolate dessert *NaturalNutella to serve on more pancakes for our house dinner, minus palm oil, using fresh hazel nuts, cocoa, dates, avocado and bananas: happy housemates.

At the WEN International Women’s Day 30th Anniversary celebration we each sewed a bunting flag with a political message; Butterflies without borders (relating to freedom of migration). I learnt how to blanket stitch on a patch (which will come in handy, I dare say).

At the Vegan Life Show at Alexandra Palace on Saturday I decided to part with tradition and not purchase any additional types of the delicious Yogi Tea; simply tasting them was sufficient.

I resisted buying extra dinners with the delicious Clives pies (gluten free) and instead purchased 5 x large jars of coconut oil, for all our skincare culinary and skin care needs.

Clothing: Buying organic cotton/hemp/bamboo new, quality clothing means that over the years, I’ve collected at least half a dozen pretty long sleeved hemp tops. Each ranging between 2-6 yrs old by now. My purple top is currently a favourite and alas, I spotted a hole on a sleeve and have promised myself to sew up by turning up the cuffs on both sleeves, as they were a little long anyhow.

Approx 7 yrs ago I discovered the softness and warmth of eco-friendly Tights; multi-colours and mainly organic cotton. Similarly, I’ve bought a single pair per year and now have rainbow coloured legs for all seasons. Until I noticed holes in both the brown and pale grey pairs! A needle and thread later and the grey pair may last another few wears (& washes) whilst the brown pair is destined for a new life through upcyling as they are still lovely and soft but might suit a cushion liner instead.

On Saturday I dug out some old Jewellery from my favourite wooden box and discovered a multitude of carefully stored items from my teens during 80s-90s. Taking them out, I’m going to re-purpose and wear a few of them.

For a Party on Saturday, I made up a batch of 5 herb inc. 3 cornered leek Wild herbal dressing for gifts.

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Locally run teenage magazine KychanTeen goes online

KychanTeen Zine was created by two ‘A’ Level Media students, sisters Kyra and Channan to provide a platform for local teenagers outside of the academic curriculum.

In 2016 Channan invited me to contribute articles and recipes to her teenage audience through an A5 magazine freely distributed around Lewisham, which continues to gather and secure a great following among teens and adults alike.

From this month onwards, the magazine in now a subscription only publication and is available to view online via the website . Subscribe online here: http://www.wearekychan.com

This month features Spring cleansing Juices and Smoothies with added avocados!

Biog. Channan is a media entrepreneur and an excellent photographer; we invited her to participate in our foraging walks for Hither Green Week Festival 2018. She’s our top female, teen photographer and her images feature in the Kitchen Buddy Foraging Calendar 2019.
She is also an ambassador for teenagers with HIV+ status and actively campaigns for equality and health care in this area.

Kitchen Buddy is proud to support Kychan Teen and the HIV+ Charities with , read and download the latest issue through the Issuu app and share with a local teenager!

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Boots! Boots! Eco-boots! (& socks)

Being as the London temperatures had plummeted recently and we’re forced to dig out our buried Winter thermals inc. jumpers, vests and long-johns I’ve been re-assessing and making a conscious decision to add eco items into my winter wardrobe.

Recently, several local female friends and I had a conversation about the best eco-footwear for winter; including both socks and boots. Bamboo and Organic Cotton I adore, with no holes and are comfortable. The first bamboo socks I bought and the last (most recent) were from BAM – funky, young-ish pioneers; a set of pastel sports socks and most recently for my housemate. When he arrived so I legitimately had an excuse to give socks as a Christmas present. Two months later and the verdict is in: the most soft, thick and comfortable socks. Worth a try.

https://bambooclothing.co.uk/

Next I love the wonderful eco clothing here: https://www.peopletree.co.uk/

Custom made Italian boots are possible; at VegFest, after choosing the ideal fabric from a huge selection of colours; with a soft suede like feel but made from recycled plastic bottles. They measured my feet and 2-3 weeks later, they arrive. Result: comfy and a perfect fit. https://bellastoria-vegan.com/

Thought also has lovely organic cotton, hemp and bamboo collections. https:/www.wearethought.com

My father recently returned from a 10 day conference visit to India and having worn all his sensible work socks whilst away was forced to wear his ‘Happy Birthday Dad’ socks, for the first time, since his last birthday (in July) the following day…