Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer living

The bean screen is in full swing. New tendrils tilt skywards and every morning I twine them around their wires. The more leaves the fewer windows we see, when sitting outside at night. The purple runner beans have even begun to make tiny-tiny beans.

Suppers are outdoors most nights.

This evening we ate a wild summer herb: American burnweed (Erechtites hieraciifolius, see image below). It is virtually unknown, in the eating world. It grows tall in wasteland and woodland at this time of year.I stumbled across it in 2012 and have been playing with it in moderation every summer since.

It is pungent, the smell reminiscent of lime skin and of cilantro, and of neither. The older leaves are bitter. I like it with the strong flavours of soy, lime, garlic, lemongrass. It would also be good as a foil for sushi, the way shiso is used. This salad was made with terrace herbs: shiso, Thai and purple basil, nasturtium, cilantro - each assertive. The dressing was sesame oil and lime, with a little sugar and black soy sauce. And those are our own favas. One whole handful!

Pine Ridge Chenin blanc-Viognier. Dry but very fruity, perfect for bold food.


                        Book a Botanical Summer Walk


  1. The terrace looks beautiful, and I see the gloriosa lilies are flowering... I am always jealous of those! Maybe next year I will try growing them again.

  2. The Harlem terrace is a triumph! Just finished reading the July chapter of your book (now an annual tradition; tracking the year via your garden/recipes) . . . was curious whether you've attempted to replicate the "farm" a la Brooklyn -- any veggies growing in Harlem?
    Susan, Boston


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