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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A few years ago we were looking for a sweetner for some granola recipes, something UK produced and minimally processed. When our apple syrup order from Liberty Fields arrived we knew we were onto something special - we quickly added them to our short list of brilliant Guest Producers
We've launched ten pulses and grains from British farms as part of Holland & Barrett's transformation of their food range, available in their stores across the UK. It's a fantastic opportunity to make British-grown fava beans, carlin peas and quinoa, along with other pulses and cereals, available more widely and to support more diverse farming.
Down a warren of country lanes, not far from the Tamar Valley in Cornwall, is Julie Bailey's orchard Lower Trelabe, where she grows historic local varieties of apple and makes her delicious Apple Natural apple shreds, traditional fruit leathers that contain only the natural plant sugars.