I am loving spring, feeling uplifted by the warm, fresh spring energy and the promise of new beginnings. This week I have been wandering in my garden, and enjoying these plant friends. I don't have a vege garden, I have a steep, wild and overgrown bank, and these are the nourishing 'weeds' that grow there...
My Herbal teacher told me, "you will find the herbs you need." So I was happy this spring to find Cleavers growing. I covered it in water overnight and then drank the liquid as a strengthening and nourishing spring tonic.
Chickweed is a common garden weed you will find in shady places prolifically in spring, it is high in minerals, particularly zinc, and is safe and tasty to eat in large quantities, delicious added to salad. I made a yummy Chickweed pesto with a bunch of Chickweed, a bunch of Parsley, 1/2 a cup of soaked pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a garlic clove, salt and pepper.
And finally, Rainbow Nasturtium Rice Paper Rolls with a simple satay style dipping sauce. I have been looking forward to making these all week, and spontaneously had the chance last night. We enjoyed them as a light, super quick and easy dinner, and the kids loved them! My kids love hands on meals like these, where they can have fun helping me to grate the veges and then roll them, and also eat with their hands! I also love the experience of eating with my hands. In the Ayurvedic tradition, each finger represents each of the 5 elements and using your hands to prepare and eat food is an important part of the digestion and energetic process.
For the Rainbow Nasturtium Rice Paper Rolls, I used freshly picked Nasturtium flowers, which have a slightly spicy flavour, perfect for this asian inspired meal. Finely chopped asian greens, red cabbage, fennel fronds, mint and coriander. Grated carrot, beetroot and zucchini. Dip the rice paper rolls in warm water for a few seconds then lay flat on the bench, place your beautiful nasturtium flower face down first and then add your rainbow coloured veges, finally roll up tightly. The dipping sauce is a large dollop of homemade nut butter, a small chunk of fresh ginger grated, a tablespoon of Tamari soy sauce and just enough water to mix it to a lovely dipping consistency.
The herb drawings are from the book, "Weeds Heal; A Working Herbal" by Isla Burgess. It is important always to be absolutely sure you have the right plant!