Bathed in the first rays of dawn, I find myself serenaded by the avian choir from their perches high in the treetops.
I tread lightly as I walk, partaking in the day’s youthful silence, and I ponder: could one discern the species of a tree from the whispers of its leaves in the wind?
An intriguing notion, to be sure, held only in the ears of those deeply connected to the woods.
An abundance of natural sustenance sprawls out on either side of my path.
The Sedge dangles its seeds like tiny green lanterns, swaying rhythmically. These gems of nature, when ground, then mixed with other flour and kneaded, breathe life into the most delectable biscuits.
The young tips and leaves of Wood Avens offer themselves to become my Horta, a tribute to the hearty meals from my Mediterranean travels.
There’s a certain magic about Wild Mustard stems. Hidden in the thick of leaves, they offer a secret delight, both succulent and sweet, with just a dash of mild mustardiness—an unexpected culinary find nestled amidst the foliage.
This year greets Chicory, a towering debutant whose blue blossoms will soon dance in the wind. It establishes its presence, confident yet nonchalant, finding its place in the harmony of the green.
The Nipplewort grows in pulsating waves, a rhythm dictated by the life cycle of its members: the old and the new, existing side by side. The young growth is vibrant; the lush leaves enrich many nourishing meals.
Ground Elder has entered its winter, its leaves now a carpet of muted green. Yet, it still whispers of a time when its young leaves shone glossy under the sun, their taste resonant with the subtle sweetness of carrots.
The Garlic Mustard flowers surrender to the inevitability of time, their petals giving way to seed pods. Small yet packed with a gustatory punch – an irresistible blend of fresh peas and a flicker of chilli heat.
And the Elder, oh, the Elder! Unfurling her floral beauty, she fills the air with a scent that’s nothing short of ambrosial.
A herald of the upcoming summer, waiting to be captured in cordials, bottling the fleeting magic of the season.
In this way, as the seasons morph and blend, I meander through my local urban land base, harvesting, tasting, and marvelling at the rich bounty that nature endlessly provides.
Every day unfolds a new story, a fresh discovery, a novel flavour. I am a humble guest at nature’s grand banquet, an explorer in her verdant larder. The wild places are my culinary guide, and the seasons, are my rotating menu.
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