Thistle Roots, Feild Mushrooms n Bubbling Wild Ferments in Daylseford

Ok so I’m staying at a friends place for awhile in Daylesford n I’ve been eating the usual suspects everyday dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) plantain (Plantago lanceolata) n dock (Rumex crispus) greens which has been good but the other day I managed to gather a good feed of thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare) the other day I knew my friends hadn’t tried them before so thought it would be a real treat for them n they absolutely loved them.

Bull thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare )
I scraped n cut up into bite size bits then to stop them oxidizing before they were all cut up n ready for the hot plate I put a squeeze of lemon in the water, once ready I simmered these for about an hour until tender I really love their artichoke heart flavor.
The next day we drove around looking for some mushies as it had rained recently we picked a bucket of field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) n a few puff balls (Calvatia sp.). My friends Stu n Nira had theirs with chicken livers fried up for breakfast they really loved them, I’m not a fan of the feildy any more for some reason I’ve gone rite off them I had a few small buttons n some puff balls on toast with an egg.
Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris)
Also some of the fermenting projects we have done, from the left  remember the crab apple cider I was going to make into vinegar well first I had to keep my eye on Stu n Nira coz they would have liked to have drunk all the cider so I wouldn’t have anything to make vinegar with but all good they controlled themselves, I have now strained all of the solids out of this n added some of my home made vinegar with a little mother so now it is just a matter of time lucky I have good self control too.
We also made a new batch of kombucha it is sitting on they bench bubbling away n Nira n I made an apple scrap vinegar for them, we just cut up some apples you can use apple cores and or left overs we also added some grapes you can use any fruits for this that you have around, then we added a sugar syrup to the fruit in that big jar we used about 1 cup of sugar, this will become active n you let it bubble away until it settles a bit then strain the solids out and again wait for the liquid to turn to vinegar, if you have raw vinegar or a vinegar mother you can add these to help speed up the process but they are not necessary it will happen naturally in it’s own good time.

Wild ferments- crab apple cider vinegar, kombucha n apple scrap vinegar

Crab apple cider vinegar, Kombucha n Apples scrap vinegar

Well that’s it for now hopefully in a couple week we will get many different mushrooms fingers crossed. 🙂


Update on Oregon Grapes


Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium)Ok I just had to share this, remember not long ago I said I collected the last of my grandfathers massacred Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium)  well I just tasted them n they are absolutely amazing…. I sun dried them on the dash on my van n half are fully dried n half a semi dried the fully dried ones are like a spice with an unusual earthy smoked flavor I can imagine them in with my jade salt mix so I will grind them up n add to that. The semi dried ones are one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted!! they just explode in your mouth they are intensely tart but sweet similar to semi dried cranberries but I think better. Wow how I wish I had gotten more ov them…… 

Wild Rose Hips 4 Tea

Wild Rose Hips (Rosa rubiginosa)

If is a gorgeous day today so I strolled down the road to pick some wild rose hips (Rosa rubiginosa) I’m going to just dry these n store them so I can add them to herbal teas as I like, they keep for ages n the drying intensifies their beautiful flavor. I’m not sure if I have shared my nifty tea secret with you before so I will again anyway just encase I didn’t, you will notice I make a lot of jams, I don’t eat them in the traditional way on bread or toast well if I have a nice sourdough I will every now n then but I mostly put a spoon full ov jam into my herbal teas to replace the honey I would normally have.
Making jam is a great way to preserve fruits ov all sorts for long periods ov time n it gives your teas a fruity sweetness which makes them all the more special 🙂
Oh the other thing I have been doing is drying mums fresh parsley (Petroselinum crispum) n making parsley n bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) salt, it is as simple as it sounds, dry bay leaves n parsley crush up n add to salt give a good shake n that’s it you can use this in cooking or just as a seasoning on your food, it is very good.

Farwell’s to the valley n Foraged Bounties

Ok I had my mums car yesterday so I decided I would head up the valley to say goodbye to a friend n see my father n grandfather one more time before I leave n maybe just maybe do some foraging on the way to fill the stores before I leave. Surprisingly I ended up with quite a big haul, I went with the intention ov gathering Hawthorn berries n rose hips but ended up with a lot more, on the way I called into the Bushy Park show grounds n in the distance I could see promising bright green patches lying in the low lands in the dappled shade of the weeping willow trees (Salix babylonica) one of my favorite trees, when I got closer I could see a lot of hemlock (Conium maculatum) n my heart sank but on closer inspection I could see there were many young edible plants among the hemlock so I carefully picked what I wanted trying not to touch the hemlock to much as it is very toxic if you have server reactions to hemlock I dont suggest to do this ok.
The plants I gathered all together are as follows-  Hawthorn berries (Crataegus monogyna), plantain (Plantago lanceolata), puha (Sonchus sp.), prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola), fat hen (Chenopodium album), mustard greens (Brassica juncea), Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) crab apples n wild apples (Malus sp.). 

Foraged bounty

Ok I’m going to crush n ferment the crab apples n make a wild fermented cider then let it turn into vinegar, I have made the cider before n I love it it is going to be very hard to leave it alone to turn to vinegar but I really want to see how the vinegar will taste so I have to be good n not touch it other than sipping to check how it is progressing that is 😉
I’m drying all the other greens except the fat hen which I’m eating fresh, as usual I will dry n powder the puha n mustard greens for later use but two first’s for me are I’m going to dry the plantain to make a balm later which I will share when done n I’m going to put the dried prickly lettuce into my sleepy time tea as it is known as a sedative.
Now I want to show you guys the difference between the puha n prickly lettuce now I have them together like this, see pic’s below

Puha (Sonchus sp.) n Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

Puha (Sonchus sp.) n Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) leaf comparison FRONT

Puha (Sonchus sp.) n Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) leaf comparison BACK










Ok as you can see the puha on the rite is smooth n the prickly lettuce as the name suggests on the left is very prickly funny that a, jokes aside they are also a completely different shape n I couldn’t find any good pictures on line showing them side by side so there you go.

Now to the Hawthorns wild apples hot relish yummmmmm, I cooked for a few hour today n ended up with a scrumptious relish to take with me, you can just use any relish recipe n replace some ov or all ov the tomatoes in the recipe with the hawthorn pulp, mine is onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, curry powder, chilly flakes n spices, this is all fried off then I add the hawthorn pulp n stewed wild apples, vinegar n lemon juice then I simmer this until the onions are all tender then I add raw sugar n boil until thick then bottle. Also I’m drying a heap as you can see in picture with jam below I intend on putting them in my herbal teas.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) n wild apple hot relish.

The Guelder rose is another first for me I spotted it when travelling up for my last visit but forgot to stop n check them out on the way back out ov the valley but I didn’t forget this time. I pulled ova n with my scissors I snipped off the bunches I could reach they were hanging over the fence of someone yard n I was parked on a precarious corner on the road so I had to be quick.

Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) berries
I managed a small basket full enough to experiment with, I wasn’t exactly sure which species I had n I had read one was better tasting than the other so I was hoping for the better one obviously but I think I lucked out with this lot, the difference is hard to distinguish n most say taste is the best indicator one is bitter n one is tart plus what made it harder with these is I think the ones I picked weren’t completely ripe. Unfortunately upon biting into a lovely looking red orange juicy berry I soon realized I didn’t have to nice tart tasting one which is Viburnum trilobum or high bush cranberry, sounds good a, well I had the Viburnum opulus the less desirable one of the two but this didn’t deter me from experimenting with it, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to make a jam n see how it taste now I had them anyway.
It is bitter but it is nowhere near as bitter as rowan berries (Sorbus aucuparia) that people manage to eat n I have tried several times but I just couldn’t stand there bitterness.
I added Chinese five spice, chillie n lemon juice to the fruit pulp to mask some ov the bitterness n I think it worked well, it isn’t one I would be gagging at the bit to make each year but I like it it is unusual n definitely worth making if they  are around for something different that is if you like bitter taste which I do.
well that’s it for this one hopefully I will get another blog in before I go I’m hoping for rose hips. 🙂

Summer in2 Autmun in Maydena

Ok visiting the family in my old home town has been good for the pantry, I was hoping the black berries would be ready n I bought raw sugar n vinegar just encase to make jam n syrup. On the way up the valley I noticed some fruit on my favorite plum tree n stopped to grab what I thought was a handful to eat n I ended up with a basket full about 6 or 8 kg, they are so sweet n if I had the time to dry them n put them in a sugar syrup I would prepare them like that, it is my favorite way n they last for ages but no time so plum hot sauce it is.

foraged goodies, Maydena, Autumn
Now I will tell you the sad story first when I got back to my grandfathers I thought oh I will go see if there is any Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium) left n one of my uncles had decided to whipper snip the whole garden bed back to virtually nothing they had been completely massacred…. I have no idea why someone would do this, they had taken many years to grow n fruit, I was very upset but I managed to scrounge some berries off the ground n off some of the dead cutting that were left stuck in the bushes, I will dry these n put them in my herbal tea as they are partly sun dried already, such a shame 😦

Later on I went looking for nettle (Urtica dioica) with dad around his property to no avail but I scoured a heap ov yummy goodies from my old yard, there had been a bit ov rain in between my visits so there was self seeded rocket (Eruca sativa) everywhere, young plantain (Plantago lanceolata), fat hen (Chenopodium album), sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) n some gorgeous young Puha (Sonchus sp.) I will mix all the green together n make a mixed salad to use over the next few days n dry the rest.
The elderberry (Sambucus nigra) hedge I had put in the season before I left has grown up nicely n they had some fruit on so I picked this as well, there was a small amount of horse radish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) that I put in the plum hot sauce along with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, horse radish, vinegar, raw sugar, chilly flakes, curry powder, paprika n the plums.

Also from my old yard we got some white fleshed nectarines not quite ripe, I’m hoping they will ripen before going moldy. On the way back dad n I picked a bucket ov blackberries n I this morning I cooked everything up, I ended up with 8 jar ov jam, 8 bottles of syrup, 5 bottles of plum hot sauce n heaps ov greens, so I am well stoked up now for my travels n I’m still hoping to make a heap of Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) sauce before I leave, I will pick these on the way to my next destination then I will be back with a blog then.

Sorry about this picture, it is shocking but it was under my grandfathers patio n it has clear yellow roofing so it looks a weird color n it isn’t focused properly, I didn’t realize it had come out like this until after I had processed stuff.

Endings n New Berries Discoveries.

Ok guys sorry haven’t blogged for awhile I had to drop everything n head north as a sista ov mine was dying but I was lucky enough to just arrive in time to say my good byes n hold her hand as she physically passed once the machine was turned off n I was very glad to be there for her family at that time, so big luv to my sista n I thank you for all the food knowledge you passed to me x.

Ok so whilst up in the tropics again I did manage some foraging mostly purslane (Portulaca oleracea) coconuts and wild passion fruits (Passiflora foetida) to the delight of my friends which loved the foraged food experience.  I spent a couple weeks with friends in Melbourne before coming back to trouwunna n Jess n I managed to foraged more purslane several different species of mint for fresh mint tea, heaps of fat hen (Chenopodium album) and a few others I can’t think of of the top of my head rite now. It was very very dry in Melbourne so it was hard going there wasn’t much around at all but we managed to get something most outings.

Now I am back in trouwunna n before I rushed off I had made yellow plum leathers my favorite leathers see below.
Yellow plum fruit leathers

Now to the new berries, how exiting I love things that are new to me. Whilst visiting my grandfather before I left the state I noticed the mohonia or Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium) were ripe on the two bushes my grandmother had in the garden, I have known about these for years but never been in the rite place at the rite time for them so I managed to pick a small bowl full that I took back to were I was staying and I cooked them up like any other jam but it set really hard like a tough candy so I don’t have pic’s of this I can’t get it out of the jar but I have picture of the gorgeous fruits. I really like the flavor of these wish they were more abundant here.

Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) The next new berry for me is the mirror bush berry (Coprosma repens) I have know about these for awhile to, actually I have known about all three for awhile but just never got around to experimenting with them, the mirror berries are one of those plants were I’m having to go every second day and collect the ripe berries as they are in many cluster along the tip of the end of the branches n ripen at different stages but that’s ok because I’m parked at my friends place just two blocks up the road n so far I have managed the short walk every other day to pick them, I am putting the ones I pick in the freezer until I have enough to play with, exiting…..

Mirror bush berries (Coprosma repens)

Lastly the prickly pyracanthus berries (Pyracantus sp.) also known as firethorn, I tickled off the ripe berries placed them in a pot covered with water and simmered until tender I then mashed them so the flesh separated from the seeds you don’t want to eat the seeds as these contains amounts of arsenic like other Rosaceae species such as apples it isn’t a huge concern unless consumed in large amounts but I think it will be less bitter as well so it is a taste thing as well. Once mashed I strained them by pushing the pulp through a stainless steel strainer I put this seedless pulp back in the pot added salt, pepper, chilly flakes, garlic, vinegar and a small amount of cornflour to thicken the liquid I then boiled rapidly then bottled. The flavor is tart n appley with a hint of bitterness which isn’t unpleasant, I really like it it is similar to hawthorns (Crataegus sp.) n they are in the same family n they have a similar method of preparation, the pyracanthus berries are more tart and not quite as mealy as hawthorns they are definitely worth a try I will be using them in the future as they are a prolific fruiter and everywhere here in trouwunna/Tasmania.
Firethorn berries (Pyracanthus sp.) n sauce.

I’m sitting here writing this blog enjoying a fresh lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) tea with birch twigs n trouwunna tea tree honey or Manuka honey if you are kiwi. I have a new found appreciation for the good old lemon balm after studying up on her a bit more she is a very powerful medicinal plant so I intend to partake in more of her healing benefits into the future I have never really loved lemon balm she isn’t my favorite lemon flavored plant lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) n lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) are and I took her for granted but no more I have sincerely apologized n respect her now as she deserves. I’m sure she healed the cold sore in the corner of my eye n I got my friend Nat to use a cold lemon balm tea on her face n lips when they were red n inflamed n she said it really helped her.

The birch twigs are lovely they remind me of fall in my home town as most of the fall trees there were birches it has a slight sweetness that reminds me of maple syrup also and I assume it would be more similar to birch syrup of which my first attempt was a big fat fail anyway you should try it it is as easy as picking up fallen branches, breaking them up adding to water and simmering for a couple of minutes in a pot.

Well that’s it for now I am not mobile once again so not sure when I will get to do any real major foraging until I fix this van or get towed to somewhere else for a change in habitat but until then cheers n enjoy 🙂

New Focus

Ok guys there is a blog coming after this but I just needed to express how I’m feeling and to let you all know I have made a personal decision to not share any more knowledge on Australian native foods. This is something I have been struggling with for quite some time now, the struggle for me is I do not want to be responsible for people using the knowledge I share here to disrespect the beautiful cultures to whom it belongs too n I don’t want people bashing through the bush disrespectfully just taking whatever they want with no gratitude n respect for the cultures, people n land.
I do not trust that we as none indigenous people even understand the real meaning of respect with rare exceptions, in saying this I do not wish to disrespect anyone but I believe our understanding of respect is a very twisted version that we use in a form that suits our egocentric, materialistic greedy lives/society. The whole colonization n occupation of this country is based on the criminal act of attempted genocide, steeling n lying.

This is an illegally occupied country sovereignty was never ceded and every person that benefits from this great land n are privileged enough to call it “home” is a part of this use n abuse in their own way, our illegal occupation, raping n pillaging ov this lands natural resources for our own use in blissful or purposeful ignorance to the plight of the first people of this land are the continuation of the pain n suffering the first people experience every day of their lives.

When I say natural resources I also include in this intellectual property, we do not have a god given rite to any of their knowledge to use how ever n when ever we want for our own benefit monetary or otherwise n fuck (excuse the language) the cultures, people n land which it comes from, this is sacred n precious knowledge n it is theirs it is the lands, the land gave it to them they are not separate from it something we could never understand, people cant even seem to grasp the concept of women’s business n men’s business n even if you don’t understand the numerous details which change from culture to culture with in this land it is pretty explanatory isn’t it, WOMEN’S business n MEN’S, think about it. (n I will not go into this with people here, it is time we all took the initiative to learn n find out for ourselves how to be respectful n how to behave appropriately)

My understanding of my own people is not at all flattering n is probably slightly confronting to those wallowing in their blissful ignorance or denial, we came here n stole everything from them, we tried to wipe them from existence, it is a SHAME we will forever pay for until we are genuinely SORRY also a concept I don’t think we really grasp again we are only sorry when it suits us to be, we aren’t so sorry that everything changes because you are so effected by seeing the truth of responsibility.
All our understandings are perverted by our greedy Sickening money base systems n society that we have created, our white privilege blind us to the shameful world record topping average death rates n shocking health, suicide n incarceration statistics of this countries first peoples.

And I say sick because I do believe it is a sickness, white privilege is a sickness n the society we have created is sick n degenerate, we are the savages. I have look deep inside myself n my people/”culture” to reveal all these truths, it was a hard, painful ego destroying journey not yet ended by far but it has changed my life, the truth the brutal truth sets you free, it acts upon you once fully seen n felt your only option is to turn your back n try to pretend like it all isn’t happening n spend the rest of your days trying to delude n convince yourself that you have nothing to do with any of it, it wont work because you know deep down inside that is not the truth, there is this niggling feeling in the pit of your stomach every time you see or here about these shocking things we have done n are still doing whilst living the GOOD life n it will haunt you to the your very last breath if you have any conscious at all.

So that said I’m sorry to the people here to gain that particular knowledge or who just have a general interest in it, I will not be apart of it, I have to live with my actions n at the end of the day n of my life know I was true of heart n that it ends with me, my ancestral family ignorance ends with me, I pay it back every moment of every day in remorse, love, respect n joy, that is all that matters to me.

Thanks for listening if you did.

Cheers P.

Black as night Cherrie delights

I will say SORRY now to you all for what is to follow, be warned you may feel a funny disturbance deep down in your tummy it will be a mixture of cherry envy n hunger pangs n your mouth may start to drawl ever so slightly 🙂 🙂
Black CherriesBlack Cherries

Black Cherries

Did you feel it?
The shade of velvet black was stunning I have never seen cherries this black n I can’t even tell you how good these were but I’ll try ok- let see they were crisp n made that delicious pop when you teeth broke through the tight skin the juices exploding in your mouth with an almost candy caramel sweetness n your eyes roll back in your head n you are lost for a few seconds then when you come back from that place you take a quick glance around to see if anyone noticed your pleasure face hehehehe how’s that 🙂

Weed & Flower Pesto

Weed & Flower Pesto

Today I scrounged around my mothers yard for some food and I ended up picking enough weeds & flowers to make a nice pesto.
Weed & Flower Pesto

Nettels (Urtica dioica) Sow thistles (Sonchus sp.) Lambs quarters (Chenopodium album) Mallow (Malva sylvestris) leaves and flowers, Daylilly (Hemerocallis sp.) flower buds, Zuchinni flowers and Parsley plus I added to all this yummy fresh greeness my special salt mix which is made up of salt, white & black pepper, Tassie pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata) leaves & berries, powdered sea letuce (Ulva lactuca), I also added chilly flakes, paprika and olive oil. If I could afford nice organic garlic I would have put some roast garlic into it as well but it is still good without it.
I had to hand chop it all because my mums Bamix is broken so I now have a blister on my knife hand but it was worth it in the end. I will add this to things like pasta, noodles, stew, toast and what ever I can think off.

Hot Cherry Plum Sauce

Still processing plums galore here this time I made a hot plum sauce listed below are the ingredients not in exact amounts ok.
Plum sauce

  • Cherry plums about 4 kgs worth = about 2ish kgs of pulp
  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar
  • Red wine
  • Raw sugar
  • Kecap manis sauce
  • Malt vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Brown onions
  • Garlic
  • Cloves
  • Bay leaves
  • Chilly
  • Sumac
  • Tassie pepper berries & leaves powder (Tasmannia lanceolata)
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Black & white pepper ground
  • Salt
  • Pickling spices

I boiled the fruit down with vinegar & lemon juice then mashed the plums into a pulp & then strained the seeds & skin out and put the pulp back in a large pot to boiled until reduced by half. In a separate pan in olive oil I fried of the onions & garlic then added all the spices heating them carefully to bring out their aromas then I added the kecap manis, malt vinegar & red wine then simmered until this mixture was tender I then blended this until thick & smooth, I added this paste to the fruit pulp a bit more vinegar & the sugar I then boiled this until thick then I bottled it, it turned out so good.