Last autumn Christine Smallwood, good friend of Hodmedod and a writer with a passion for Italian food, sent me a small packet of Cicerchia (Lathyrus sativus also called 'grass pea') to try cooking with.
Cicerchia is widely eaten in Southern Italy and North Africa and, because of it's hardiness and determination to grow even in the most unforgiving years, has a reputation as a useful famine food for man and beast alike.
I cooked most of the packet, but I couldn't resist the temptation to grow a few plants in my garden; yesterday the first of its beautiful blue-pink flowers opened.
The weather is unlikely to be good enough for me to harvest any peas this autumn and I think there's little prospect of them being commercially grown in the UK - but who knows!
If you fancy finding out more about this amazing legume you might want to dip into this little pamphlet produced by Biodiversity International - fascinating stuff.
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With the summer festival season in full swing we're getting out and about with our British-grown pulses, grains and seeds. They're superb ingredients not just for comforting winter fare but excellent in lighter summer dishes too.