Apple County Apple Country

They say that if a medieval Greek man wanted to propose marriage, all he had to do was to toss his Intended an apple. If she caught it, or even tried to catch it (let’s keep her options open as wide as possible here) she agreed to the union.  A powerful thing is the apple.  Can change a life forever.

I know I’ve written about apples before, but I just can’t help it this time.  Here I am in the middle of apple growing country right smack at harvest time, where there are veritable orchards of apples trundling down the narrow high-hedged lanes on their way to make Bulmers’ cider in Hereford. .

“But before Bulmers,” said new friend David, “every farm had its own orchard of cider apples.”  I had puffed my way to the top of his hill and was now sitting gratefully in the comfort of his kitchen.  David, the fourth of ten children, went out to work when he was very young and has worked on the land all his life .  “Before Bulmers”, he repeated, “each farm took their apples to the cider press.  Oh, that was a big day.  It took all day.  Near the press you have to have water to get the juices going.  This one was near a duck pond.  The horse would walk round, turning the huge stone that crushed the apples, and the juice would run into a trough to be caught and poured into their wooden barrels.  (That trough – it took some making because it was carved out of stone.)  They’d take the cider home and put it in the cellar, the coldest part of the house, where it would work [ferment]. All the bad was worked out in froth that would come out the top of the barrel as it was working.

drawing a picture of the barrel getting a tap

It made a little bubbling noise, nothing serious, and a little smell, nothing stinky though.  While it was working you couldn’t drink it – I don’t know what would happen to your insides if you did!  When it was working, all the bad was worked out too.  When it was ready to drink, they would turn the barrel on its end and bang in a tap.  The cider was a little foggy, not as clear as you get nowadays.” Farm workers would take a small gallon barrel to the fields. Lunch would be bread and cheese and cider.  That meant they could stay working on the land all day, “from morn til night” until their big meal in the evening.

And now here I sit surrounded by the gift of apples. I see them everywhere.  How can I resist the cardboard boxes and wooden crates along the wayside, begging to be taken home for free?  Or the loving gifts of apple juice left at our door from people’s own mini orchards?  Even the county symbol is an apple, for Heavens’ sake, and the very air is apple-scented.  There are tiny juicy Coxes, and voluptuously rounded Bramley cookers, shiny red eating apples with a blushing pink inside.   And when I think that these are only a few of the world’s 7500 varieties, just as lovely as the ones I now hold, I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the serpent that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It was probably the apple itself.  A powerful thing is the apple.  It can change history forever.  .

Apple Griddlecakes (Pancakes)

These are usually eaten for breakfast, but they made a good participatory lunch the other day. Guests have to be willing to hover around your kitchen, with a hot drink.  The pancakes must be eaten as soon as they’re done, otherwise they go rubbery.  Waiting nearby for them to slide off the spatula means that you get them hot and fresh.    To make the meal more substantial, pop a tray of sausages into the oven, to cook by themselves as you see to the pancakes. There are a few tricks to making pancakes even more successful.

In a largish bowl, mix together 4 ozs (115 grams, 1 cup) white flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt.

In another small bowl, peel, core, and dice/chop 1 tart apple. In a third bowl mix 8 – 12 tablespoons milk (I started with 8 but needed two more),  2 tablespoons melted butter or oil, and 1 egg. Beat these together well.

Heat your frying pan, or griddle. As it is heating, put the chopped apples into the flour mixture, coating the pieces well.  Then dump all the liquid into the dry ingredients in one great gollup.  Stir gently just until mostly moistened.  Do NOT beat.  Lumps are fine. 

The griddle is hot when you shake water onto it and the droplets bounce off in little balls. You might want to add a little oil to your skillet.  Then spoon the mixture into three or four puddles.  When bubbles come up, turn and cook them for a minute or so longer on the other side.  Eat immediately with butter, maple syrup or honey or jam.  (Note: in our family the best pancakes usually come out at the end – gloriously perfect, just when everyone is too full to eat any more.)

2 sides to the pancake



Roman apple cake, ready for apple-givers. See February 2017 for recipe


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Living in Limbo

I can find the Christmas plates, but not the base to the kettle.

I can find my Grandmother’s jewellery, but not my socks.

I can find 36 boxes of books, but two slow cookers have gone missing.

Taking the paper off cherished and almost-thrown-out possessions – an unknown packer treated all items of equal importance.. .


Long forgotten things tucked away out of sight for 40+ years offer new opportunities to think about them and their stories, even in our coffee-less, sock-less state. [Daughter Joy, now a blissful two doors away, rescued us with a working coffee pot…whew!] Random and completely out of order and out of place – because nothing has a place yet – each item demanding to be given a permanent resting home. A lot of decisions in a short time.

Looking at warmly familiar things in an unfamiliar environment, I’m startled at how old and worn my cookbooks have become, almost as if they had gone through a sped-up time machine I knew nothing of, and aged in the move from Bedfordshire to Herefordshire. Well, some of them are fifty years old. I just never noticed before.

This is a new experience, moving house after 4 decades living in another community, another county, another culture. The heart sinks. However can we build community when we know nothing of the life, the wants, the delights of the inhabitants around us? 

We’ve been warmly welcomed – Joy has made us a handbook with times of library, café, garbage collection, the names of everyone in the street, and much more. Biscuits, flowers, and cards have flowed in from beloved long standing friends as well as new neighbours in the street.  The living room decorator knew a heating specialist, and an expert on pond fish (a new experience), and a TV aerial expert.  But our house is not a home yet.  We haven’t yet arrived, and we haven’t yet left.  The learning curve is steep…..and exhilarating!

It’s my birthday. One of the ancient cookbooks uncovered was that of Mrs. Beaton’s Everyday Cookery.  Now faded blue, its hard cover bowed and edged in grey, the front decorated in red Vs by a toddler — the same daughter who now lives two doors away with her family.  I asked her to make Mrs. Beaton’s orange cake for the celebration..  The last time I tasted it was when I was heavily pregnant with the one who was now making it for me.  I placed it in a tin so that I could smuggle it into the Oxford hospital when I had the baby.  I didn’t want anyone to know of my cache; that would mean I’d have to share it, wouldn’t I? I used to get it out at strange hours of the night when sleep evaded, and revel in its simple flavour-bursting orangeness.  Joy made the cake a bit fancier by piercing the hot cake and pouring sweetened orange juice into it.  Served with pouring cream.  “Beautiful”, as the Brits say.  They are the only people I know who use visual adjectives to describe gustatory delights. [Cake photos by Joy Rickwood]


Orange Drizzle Cake

Line a 7 inch baking pan with baking parchment. Grease the sides.

In a mixer/food processor combing 6 ozs (175 gms ¾ cup) butter, 6 ozs (175 gms ¾ cup) sugar, 3 eggs, 8 ozs (220 gms 2 cups) plain flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, and the grated rind of 1 orange and mix well.  When well combined, add the juice of one orange. Spread in prepared pan and bake in low moderate oven (around 350 degrees) for an hour.  The 7 inch cake pan will produce a cake two inches high.  If you are using a wider based pan, check for doneness earlier.   Pierce the hot cake all over and pour orange juice sweetened with icing sugar. If the juice slides off the sides, let the cake sit in it until all juice is absorbed.  When cool you can glaze with icing sugar mixed with a little milk or OJ.  Decorate with more grated orange rind.  My birthday cake came with rice paper flowers as well.


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A Community Farewell


Well, it had to happen eventually, didn’t it — time to leave this community. people who have welded themselves into our hearts, who know us well, have seen us in pajamas and no make up hanging up clothes, have lived through our tragedies and us theirs.

Friends who have shared the ghoulish parts of our lives, in confidence, who supported us through. Friends whom we awakened at 2 a.m. because our frozen water tank was about to flood the house, and had the knowledge to fix it – or anything else we couldn’t fix, day or night.  Friends who unwittingly bolstered our confidence on bad days, just by a greeting on the street.  Friends whom we knew were just there that anchored our souls.


Neighbours who’d sneak over to cut our hedge, weed our garden, or plant beautiful flowers in our borders while we were away.  Friends who were part of a larger community, and by knowing them we too were welcomed by their friends.  Neighbours who made our own street a special place to live, a community in itself.  Friends who prayed with us, stayed with us, and gave us confidence, comfort and a home.

Real human beings with their own loves– the butcher who won medals in ballroom dancing, the guy in the shop who was also a magician, the plasterer who could identify every bird song in our district, the nurse who cared for her husband all the way through his death, in their own home, the ex policewoman whose saxophone jazz melts the heart, the (probably) 12 year old who works from a shed in a redundant orchard and can fix any terrifying computer glitch I brought him.  All of them woven into a tapestry of love around us.

We arrived here 43 years ago, raw with fear from living in the fomenting revolution of Iran, not knowing a soul, not understanding the Bedfordshire accent nor its culture, penniless, with a three year old and a two week old baby. It has been a wonderful, wonderful adventure.  With deep, gut-wrenching sadness we say good by.

And hello to What’s Next?


Courgettes and Marrows

skin or unskinned?

August is the month when you lock your car for fear of being the recipient of yet another home grown courgette (zucchini) or marrow sneaked in on your back seat.

Here’s a totally Vegan dish that perks up the courgette considerably and probably a rather dull meal as well. I served this to a courgette-repellent family and they still love me. [Note: I seemed to have lost the photos of the end product, but it takes little imagination to visualise a cooked courgette!]

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds for a few seconds, until they start popping.  Add one chopped onion and a clove of chopped garlic.  When tender add a teaspoon of curry powder ½ teaspoon of coriander powder, ½ teaspoon  of ground turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon chilli powder or less) and saute until they smell cooked (just a few seconds).  Then add one courgette (zucchini) in cubes.  I did half with skin on, half without, but with skin on it keeps its shape better.  When tender, stir in about one tablespoon creamed coconut.  Season to taste. Nice with rice.

chuckling away in olive oil



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Shakers and Movers


‘Tis a gift to be simple, ‘tis a gift to be free, ‘tis a gift to come down where you ought to be” goes the song given to us by the Shaker communal society, with their simple shared property, celibacy, pacifist life. The tune was woven in and around Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. But these “simple” immigrants who fled from persecution to America, gave the world the clothespeg (clothespin), dentures, the circular saw, mail-order seeds, condensed milk, sarsaparillas, apple peeler and corer, the flat broom, metal pen nib, revolving oven, window sash balance, circular stairs, a style of furniture copied by others, and many other inventions in architecture, food, agriculture, and tools.  Some members were fully qualified in more than one profession.

All Shakers had a six week rota of work, then a week off, revolved jobs, danced in their worship, and abounded in creativity. They took in orphans, planted and named a tree after each of them, and believed in perfection because their responsibility was to bring “a bit of Heaven to Earth.”

One of these orphans was Eldress Bertha Lindsey, who entered the community at the age of seven, died at the age of 93 and was one of the last surviving members of the Shaker Community. Bertha loved to cook, from the time she served up whole dinners of mud pies as a small child. She devoted her last years to writing about Shaker life. “I want people to know we did have fun,” she said, “and plenty of it”.


The Shakers! What a subject to write about while I’m in the thick of moving our home of forty-three years! I struggle to de-clutter the mounds of choking STUFF, with boomerang trips to the dump, forging new acquaintances there with staff I hardly knew existed.  And in this frenetic life my brain frequently snaps back to our visit to that simple, serene, beautiful Shaker Village in America, with its innovative practical living. Far simpler, easier, and peaceful than the point I’m getting to now, thinking that if I leave the door unlocked someone will enter and steal things so that I won’t have to make a decision about them.  I wonder if their uncluttered simplicity, a regular change of maintenance duties, and having every seventh week a holiday has anything to do with the Shakers’ rich heritage of creativity?


Eldress Bertha’s Rice Muffins

taken from Seasoned with Grace,  

I made these for a 6.30 a.m. breakfast meeting with my friend Gil.   For the Shakers, and many people in America, a muffin is a form of non-yeast bread, and is NOT a sweet cupcake.

Mix dry ingredients: 2 ½ cups (330 gms, 11 ½ ozs plain flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tsp salt, 5 teaspoons baking powder, ¾ cup (110 gms 4 ozs) cooked rice together. Mix wet ingredients: in a small bowl beat 1 egg, 1 ½ cups (350 ml. 12 fl ozs.) milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter.  Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients, add the wet all at once and mix just to moisten.  Batter might be lumpy.

Grease muffin cups and fill 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 detrees (hot) for 12 to 15 minutes, until light brown. Serve with  butter and lots of it. Makes 15 – 18 muffins.


Note: if your muffins stick to the pan, here’s a hint from Persia: wring out a cloth in cold water, place your metal pan on it.  The cold water will shrink the metal, thus pushing the food off the surface.  Works with any food, as long as the pan is metal.




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Community Beautifiers


Just look at these wonderful gates. They’re in Berkeley, California. The decorations are cut out of the metal – leaves of bog rosemary, blue oak, sugar bush, California Buckeye, California Maidenhair, and many more.  Rivers and trains, roads and tools are represented.  Looking at them you can see all of Berkeley life.

Names of the sculptor (Eric Powell, 2007) and his crew are also cut into the metal, for everyone to see.


And when the gates open, where do they lead? Not to a park, not to a museum, not to a garden, not any place of beauty, but to the City of Berkeley Corporation Yard.  Behind these gates stand the road sweepers, the garbage trucks, the vans that maintain the infrastructure of the city, as well as their fuel.  The yard has always been there, even when horses drew the carts, and there was a pig sty on site for the collected garbage.  So why should this amazing work of community art appear as an entrance to such a mundane establishment?  That’s what I asked the security guard on my 6 a.m. walk.  “We wanted something beautiful for our community, “he said, “to bring them close together”.


These gates always impress me. It is rare that we can see the names of artists who have carefully made our living environment beautiful.  I also enjoy seeing the whole-wall murals that tell of myth and history or how the Berkeley community began. Here is a wall of a simple grocery shop.  The mural was so vast that I couldn’t get back far enough to take the complete scene,  almost risked getting run over for the bits I did manage to take.  (Standing in the middle of a busy street is not good for one’s health.)


In England,  landscaping with bushes, trees and plants along the highways produce seasonal colour, and I often wonder who has planned it, and did they get any praise for it? Thousands and thousands of daffodil bulbs are planted by the river in Bedford and always bring a sigh of pleasure after a damp drab winter.

Personal contributions to public enjoyment come in the form of front gardens. What a delight it is to see them bursting with bloom!  When she was getting used to her new community our daughter Lizzie  carried pretty post cards with her, and when she saw  a lovely display,  she sent them a quick note through their letterbox: “Hi!  I just want to thank you for all the time you take to make your garden so beautiful for those who pass by.  It’s a true gift to the community.!”

Our friend Alan painted a dancing Snoopy on his garage door several decades ago, and it has been a joy to his community ever since .  A few years past he received a post card:  “I have looked at Snoopy for fifteen years, on my way to school.  I still smile when I see it.  I’m 32 now.”

Bless the community beautifiers. And bless the people who take the time to say how much they appreciate it.

Oatmeal Shortbread

As far as beautiful food is concerned, well, you’ve got me there.  My creative sculpturing skill received a deadening blow when I carefully made a fish-shaped fish pie with puff pastry, complete with puff pastry scales and an egg wash.  Verdict from those watching: it looked like a sick fox.  From then on, I try to let the food speak for itself.  What then could be more beautiful than a multi coloured fruit salad, sloshed with elderflower cordial (to keep it from browning), served with cream!  Here’s an oatmeal shortbread recipe to go with it.  I served this at an all-day finance meeting for SEEDS Creatives (check the website).

Into a food processor fling 8 ozs butter (1 cup, 230 grams), 2 ½ ozs brown sugar (1/2 cup, 75 gms ),  1 tsp vanilla,  5 ozs rolled oats (2 cups 160 gms) , ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda),  and 4 ozs plain flour (1 cup, 125 gms).  Process on low, building to high, until all is a smooth paste.  Spread evenly in a pan on baking parchment or waxed paper about the depth of your thumbnail and chill for at least 30 minutes.  Fork the batter all over, and cut into fingers.  Lay out on a baking tray about 1 ½ inches  or more ( 25 cms) apart.  Bake in a slow oven (about 325  160C) for 20 – 30 minutes.  Cool on tray before removing – they are fragile when hot.



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A Day at the Festival

  • 3 000 New Testaments burned, by order of a Bishop
  • Fight, not facts, are more important to today’s press.
  • The Malawian government seems to be preventing poor people from being educated
  • We are killing our planet
  • Racial prejudice is still blindingly rife in this country

In the random events I chose to attend that day at the Literary Festival at Hay-on-Wye (see my naïve soul was certainly introduced to a lot about control of facts and suppression of the truth, whether it was Melvyn Bragg’s brilliant commentary on William Tyndale, the greatest Englishman (even influencing Shakespeare), and his insistence that the Bible should be translated into simple English. (Was burned at the stake for such audacity)  or James O’Brian from LBC commenting on the absence of accuracy and the proliferation of  false stories in today’s newspapers, or a tiny organisation trying to get books into Malawi’s poorest village, or Afua Hirsch, a mixed-race Brit who is still asked “Where are you from, really?” as if she has to defend her Britishness.

People love the Hay Festival. Their stuttered spurts of praise and delight are almost incoherent in deep emotion. I think its joy is in the intense energy released from all that new learning –a quarter of a million brains engaged in learning are bound to give a  POW to the atmosphere!

What a privilege, then to meet some of these “normal” people who are making a difference in the world!  And in so many areas!

  • Newly published and beautifully illustrated:  Cinterella of the Nile, a 2000 year old Cinderella story.
  • Seaweed, fed to cattle helps to reduce the greenhouse gases they cause
  • people are experimenting in developing cells from fish to make fish fillets, from chicken to make chicken fillets – no heads, no tails, no bones, just the meat we eat. And no damage to the environment, minus the occasional fish and chicken.
  • There’s a Vegan hamburger that actually oozes “blood”.
  • A very small organisation is providing the poorest of the villages in Malawi with books, producing education, even up to University level. They had never seen a book before the organisation arrived in 2002.
  • Craftivism, started by a burnt-out activist, shows how to respond to injustice not with apathy or aggression, but with gentle effective creative protest.  Craft is the social lubricant!

There was lots more.   Quite a day, quite an eye-opener. Will it change my life?  Hopefully.

Ultimate Chilli

Paul McCartney’s plea for us to go partially Vegan (see his Youtube One Day A Week) encouraged me to find out more about plant-based food.  I attended a lively interview with Henry Firth and Ian Theasby and their new Vegan cookbook BOSH!   Most of their huge following comes from their Facebook entries, so I’m glad they also published a book.  Aside from exhausting the English language’s superlatives, their instructions are simple and detailed. Trying out this recipe elicited an occasional “WHAAAA?” but I admit that this is by far the best vegetarian chilli I have ever made, or eaten.  And since it’s Vegan, too, it is open to an even wider circle of our friends.

1 Grind 400 grams (16 ozs)  mushrooms in a liquidiser until finely minced, then fry in oil 5 minutes.  Set aside.

  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot add: 2 red onions peeled and chopped, 4 garlic cloves peeled and chopped, 2 red chillis stemmed and de-seeded and chopped and the chopped stems of 30 grams coriander (save the leaves to garnish at the end) Cook 5 – 10 minutes stirring constantly.
  2. Then add 4 celery stalks finely chopped, and 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped.  While that’s cooking, make up the spice mix.
  3. Spice mix: in a small bowl mix 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, and a bay leaf.
  4. Add the spice mix to the cooking vegetables, ensuring that all vegs and all spices meet each other companionably. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in 1 tablespoon tomato puree (paste) 8 ozs (1 cup) red wine, 2 tsps soy sauce, and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar. Turn heat to high. Cook until the liquid is reduced by two thirds.
  6. Pour in 2 tins (cans) of chopped tomatoes. Cook until thickened.
  7. Add 1 tin (can) drained black beans, 1 tin (can) drained kidney beans, 1 ½ tsps. maple syrup (I used honey), 10 g (1 square) dark chocolate and the cooked mushrooms.
  8.  Let the mixture bubble and chuckle for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Before serving remove the bay leaf and sprinkle on the chopped coriander.

The chilli is in there somewhere! A layer of brown rice, a layer of chilli, a layer of chopped lettuce, then  grated cheese, then thick yogurt, and then corn chips.  What’s there not to like?   Sliced tomatoes are good, too, if you have them.

Note to my viewer: if you know where to find Vegan yogurt, mayonnaise, and cheese, please write in REPLY so that all can access it.  Thanks.


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Community Gardeners

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I once infiltrated a posh Herb Workshop on a massive Gloucestshire estate, hoping to pick up cooking tips using herbs.  Bad bad idea.  The situation turned prickly after the lemon balm tea and lavender-bud shortbread, when we had to explain why we were there. All had gardens. All could actually make things grow.  All, of course, except me. When I said that I didn’t like gardening there were murmured cries of “shame shame” from the two women who were already comparing this vast estate with “Prince Charles’ and Camilla’s garden.”

The event was probably the beginning of my total inadequacy at growing anything and squashed any confidence around Latin speaking gardeners. It was with relieved pleasure therefore when I was introduced to community gardening in Dunton, a nearby village, and watched its development nourish the souls of a people whose amenities were quickly waning.  I was so enlivened that I felt just fine when I met the Peralta community gardeners in Berkeley California.


Why?  Because they seemed human.  Because they’re using a neglected piece of railroad land and making it beautiful.  Because they insist that they grow organic.  Because each plot has flowers to attract insects.  And, above all, they are drawing together a community with a common interest. Here again is a chance for people to make friends and to encourage each other as they work together to make a garden fit for themselves and the visiting public. Their garden is decorated with lovely member-made ceramic tiles.

Their plots (being Californian) grow fruits, flowers and vegetables all year long. Their tiled ring bench is ideal just for sitting, thinking, writing or painting .  One man plays midwife to the monarch butterfly by stringing up chrysalises on the tree.






Community gardens in Berkeley exist because of one man, Karl Linn, who campaigned to reclaim the commons from privitisation of public lands. He believed strongly that guidelines to secure public land for community gardens should be incorporated in the cities’ general plans.  He was convinced that through the creation and use of accessible community garden commons, neighbourhoods could become arenas for extended family living.  In my short stay in Berkeley I saw quite a few community gardens.  All of them have huge WELCOME signs to the public.


And the campaign continues. Have a look at the YoutubeTED talk given by gangster guerilla gardener Ron Finley, who got sick of watching an increase in Dialysis centres, motorised wheel chairs, and having to drive 45 minutes for an organic apple, just because South Los Angeles was a Food Desert (his words) and residents were dying from curable diseases.  The 4 minute talk is inspirational.  I won’t give it away, but you’ll have to be prepared for colourful language.

In the UK the allotment system is much older. Its roots go back to the nineteenth century, but parcelled land could go back as far as to Anglo Saxon times. Champions of the allotment plan insisted that the government give land to the poor, due to the rapid industrialisation of the country.  Today there are about 330 000 allotment plots in the UK.  Wandering through an allotment, it’s interesting to see how they’re used.  Fresh flowers AND vegetables are growing happily.  A friend I know uses hers to grow unusual plants – like candy striped beetroot and blue potatoes.

Even from a non-gardener’s perspective it is a joy to see the pleasure and pride that people take in their gardens, marvelling at the miracle of growth, the delight in nurturing and cherishing the plants into maturity. Long may they continue to flourish, long may cities and towns protect them for the fruit and friendship that grows in them.  If you can, do everything in your community to keep such a garden going.  Who knows, you may even be offered a blue potato in gratitude.

Baghali Pollo

Broad (Fava) Bean Rice Dish

Elizabeth, one of the Peralta gardeners offered us some broad beans (fava beans) which she grows to re-nourish the soil. To make this Persian recipe, get yourself a good DVD, something to watch as you shell the beans, and later take off their individual skins once they’re cooked.

Amounts vary according to the horde you are feeding:

Broad beans shelled, cooked gently, then pop the skins off them.

Rice cooked to al dente.

Fresh dill as much as you can get. I used 2 supermarket boxes for 3 people, but Persians use much more, about 5 cups.  Strip the dill off its stems and chop it.  Fling the stems into a bag in the freezer and save for the next time you make stock.

Yogurt about half a cup.

Saffron ground and soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water.

Butter or oil.

 In a heavy bottomed pan place half a cup of yogurt, the saffron water, ½ cup water and 4 tablespoons oil.



Add a quarter of the cooked rice.  Layer on chopped dill and beans, repeat, ending with rice.  Plop teaspoons of butter on top, and run some down the edges of the pan, or use oil.  Cover with a clean cloth, then the pan’s lid.  Over very low heat, cook until hot and steaming about 20 – 30 minutes.  If you wait even longer you will get a crispy bottom.  When done, put the bottom of the pan in cold water to push off the crispy rice on the bottom.  Invert onto a plate.  You may even get a whole “cake” of rice.  Even if you don’t, it’s yummy eating.


This will be a vegan dish by omitting yogurt and butter. Just add the saffron water to the oil in the bottom.  It’s vegetarian with butter and yogurt.  But it’s also very good with smoked fish.

[By the way, do you have a garden glut of lettuce? Let me know.  I have a lettuce pancake recipe.]







































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