Dock Pudding – a potato recipe

Here is a recipe I used the other day for a Dock Pudding using mashed potato instead of oatmeal or barley. Oatmeal’s better, but I can’t have it at the moment because of the beeping Lent challenge, oddly enough I never grew a field of oats last year, perhaps I should try this year in case I ever have a silly idea like this again. The “docks” in question are, of course, Bistort (Polygonum bistorta).

15 Bistort leaves
8 comfrey leaves (should have been stinging nettle tops but the ducks have been grazing them)
6 Ladies Mantle leaves (Alchemilla xanthoclora)
6 ground elder leaves
1 chopped leek

Wash and cook all the above together like spinach. Drain, chop and add to mashed potato (think I had about 4 medium tatties). Beat in one egg, and seasoning to taste. Press into a pudding basin and place in a pan of water; simmer for about 25 minutes. (think you could also microwave it, but haven’t tried). Loosen in bowl and invert onto a plate. Garnish with primrose flowers or broom buds (or anything else edible I guess). It’s really nice, even if not oatmeal based.

I’m still feeling rough. Muttered to friend Janet about the odd cystitus symptoms which seem to be getting worse. “Have you been eating too much spinach” she asked. Ummmm….. yes….. It turns out spinach, rhubarb and probably most of the greens I’ve been living on cause a build up of oxalic acid, which CAN cause crystals in the bladder, which can cause infections….. looks like something I have to be careful of, if its not too late… going to see the doctor tomorrow. If I can’t eat greens, it’ll get even more boring.In the interests of my kidneys, I’ve drunk 6 pints of water today, think I actually prefer it to herbal teas!

Anyway, feasted on Solomon’s Seal shoots tonight; they’re bound to be bad for you because they are DELICIOUS. My son who’s a great cook, is home from Uni, which makes me wistful for one of his curries and envious of his dinners ( to be honest, I rarely envy my partner his meals, rice pudding straight from the tin does nothing for me!).

Reed Mace by the Tay EstuaryTried something new in the wild food line – came upon reed mace (Typha angustifolia) by the Tay and extracted some young shoots. They were nice – a bit like asparagus, but tough outer layer needs to be removed. I think I’ll collect some more when they are taller, should get more for the effort. Typha’s an invasive, suckering plant, so no risk to wild population from taking a few shoots. Apparently the root is edible too (and indeed the flowers and even the pollen later), but roots looked a bit fibrous to me.

We’ve set dates for our Plants with Purpose Wild Food Rambles and workshop this week; you can get the details from, or you will be able to once I’ve updated the webpage.

Oh yes – first goose egg tortilla tonight…..

Ullapool – and Beyond

Just back from student field trip to Ullapool. Hotel very accommodating about microwaving my peculiar dishes, and very amused by whole thing. Took enough food, just, but the chef managed to incinerate my last potato which was for on the way home. Never mind! On the shore and various beaches, I saw lots of edible seaweed – bladder wrack and kelp most noticeably – and would have liked to collect some, but decided that would be one thing too far for the hotel. No shellfish, though.

I got really p***ed off with watching people eat interesting soups and chocolate cakes and lamb chops; and smelling other people’s coffee or beer (strangely enjoyable, but not quite the same as drinking it!). The students were all very supportive – even to the point of offering me bits of the plants they’d bought to make tea with! At Inverewe Gardens, in the cause of education, was obliged to break off some leaves of various herbs to demonstrate the smells…. and pocket them for tea or (in the case of the chives) to munch with my cold potato and hard boiled egg. Some delicious curly kale came away in my hand as well – good with the chicken and chilli casserole I’d brought for the evening meal.

Talking of eggs, I think the surfeit is giving me what my mum used to call egg – binding. The digestion is bizarre and sporadic, and I don’t feel too well, to be honest. Think I have a touch of cystitus and wonder if the excretory system is under some stress. Drinking plenty, but it’s so BORING….

And the ducks are laying eggs as well now. New food from the garden: Solomon’s Seal shoots, tastier and more tender than asparagus and a real treat, and lashings of salad stuff. Baby lettuce leaf seedlings nearly ready to cut, and I’ve started the chrysanthemum greens. Only two weeks to go, despite the still cold weather I’m not going to starve, but what wouldn’t I give for a pie…