Filed under: Cooking, winter seasonal food | Tags: dessert, funnel chantarelle, hemp, lingonberry, rye, vegan croquettes
Permaculture, in case you never heard the word before, is the art of designing sustainable habitats by imitating natural ecosystems. I was invited to one permaculturalist – gathering in one ecovillage, and then to another ecological community, to teach permaculture on an Ecovillage Design Education – course. Permaculture is a design system that searches for solutions for ecovillages, organic gardening, sustainable agriculture and social change, or anything else that gears towards a more sustainable life. The first ecovillage I visited was young and punky, and the second one a bit older and more established, but anyway it was interesting for me to do this little road trip to my past.
I was picked up from the trainstation by the old Hiace full of backbacks and hippies, and we hit the dark snowy roads towards Central Finland. The three – year – old chattered away on the front seat, I got the see mobile phone photos from a demonstration in England, and we stoppes and peed in a row on the roadside snow (yes, alternative people do that). Late at night, we arrived at the ecovillage, and got greeted with a plate of broad bean soup and a house full of friendly people, children and dogs. It was the eve of Spring Equinox, and everybody in the house was bursting with energy for outdoor life, after a winter spent indoors.
In the second ecovillage I get to teach on a Ecovillage Design Education – course, so we talk about permaculture principles: 1. Follow nature’s patterns. 2. If you are not having fun, you are not doing it right! 3. Imagination is the only limit to the system’s yield 4. Start small, observe and interact! 5. Design from pattern to details, et cetera. We also think about closed loops and sustainability. What kind of system is sustainable, and why?
After permaculture we discuss local food and the eco – footprint of different foodstuffs. Which is better, ordinary tea or organic coffee? Which has a heavier footprint, organic local cheese or a canned coconut milk? Sometimes we teachers even don’t know the answers, but after the class we do a hands – on approach on local food, and cook seitan, hemp sauce, nettle pancakes with lingonberries and oven cooked whole oats for the group, and as dessert some whipped rye with berries. It’s chaotic, and fun, and the food is delicious.
In the evenings the communal kitchen is lit and the people clean away the leftovers of dinner. They laugh softly, talk about small things: ” We should put more dish rags on the shopping list!”, somebody leans on the counter, sips a cup of herbal tea. Somehow, I’m a little jealous of that easy companionship, the fellowship of the kitchen counter, even if I once lived here and doomed it not to be for me.
The course is very interesting, and I’m becoming very fond of the morning heart sharing circles: I simple excercise in which we four randomly chosen, very different people talk about our lives and the expectations we have for it. It’s very powerful, and in the end there is no way but to like the people in my group very much. The last morning, we do the hippie classic, a group hug, and it feels like the most natural thing to do in the world.We have woven a surprising little web of connection, in this time and space.
Most likely, if you are a Finnish person trying to eat locally grown food, you are at this time of the year pretty stuffed with root vegetables, delicious that they are, after eating them for months. Now the first green wild veggies are sprouting in the nature, but you can still use some imaginative recipes that don’t require too many fresh ingredients.
Hemp and Funnel Chanterelle Croquettes
These are delicious vegan croquettes, though they ask for a fair amount of mushrooms. But last autumn was really good for funnel chantarelles, so there is plenty to eat. These patties stay together very well, thanks to the proteins of hemp.
This recipe I learned from my friend Aino, thank you!
2, 5 dl dried funnel chantarelles, soaked
2 dl hemp meal
2 dl bread crumbs + 1/2 dl for breading
1 – 2 dl oat milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried paprika
1 tsp dried basil
oil for frying
Soak the funnel chantarelles in water for 10 minutes. Chop the onion finely, and the mushrooms too. Sauté both on a pan, in oil, for a few minutes, then mix together with the hemp meal, bread crumbs and spices. Add oat milk, enough to make a nice dense paste that can easily be made into patties. Let the paste sit for a few minutes, and then make small balls or patties. Roll them in bread crumbs, and fry both sides in oil.
Hemp meal can be easily ground using a food processor.
Serve with mashed potatoes, lingonberry mush and sauerkraut.
Whipped Rye with Berries
This is a surprising dessert! The rye flour will turn light and fluffy, if you have the patience to whip it for several minutes. You can make it with lingonberries, blackcurrants or any other slightly tangy berries
1,5 dl extra fine rye flour
2,5 dl boiling water
0,5 dl sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 dl berries (if frozen, thawed)
Blend all the ingredients, and whisk with an electric whisk for a few minutes, until fluffy.
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