Showing posts with label Acacia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Acacia. Show all posts

01/05/2012

Strawberries with Acacia Blossoms (Black Locust)

In Italy the tree and blossoms are referred to as Acacia, Gaggia or Robinia. In fact they are not real acacia, but pseudoacacia (Robinia Pseudoacacia).They are originally from North America, but have become very established in Europe and are  considered invasive. In America the trees are known as "Black Locust Trees".
They grow pretty quickly, but need to be kept in check, we have alot  outside our garden.The branches are covered in spikey thorns and those which fall to the ground have caused more than one bike puncture in our household.



This is an adaptation of a recipe (well it's not really a recipe, more a way of eating )that I found  in a book titled "My kitchen with wildplants" by Meret Bissegger. It's a beautiful book with high quality photos for advanced foragers, but I think it's only published in German and Italian.



Strawberries with Acacia Blossoms

500g strawberries (washed and quartered/halved depending on their size)
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
2 spoons honey (acacia if poss.)
2 handfuls of acacia flowers (debugged)

Put the strawberries in a bowl with juice and honey and leave to marinate for 30/45 minutes. This makes a wonderful syrup. 10 minutes before eating, add the flowers and mix gently.
Delicious served with cream, ice-cream, pannacotta or thick yoghurt.



28/04/2012

Acacia Blossom fritters (Black Locust)



Oh Happy Days! It's warm and everything is growing and bursting open. The trees are weighed down. There are  elderflowers, acacia blossoms/flowers, poppies, buttercups, mallow flowers etc.,etc. and lots of others that I don't know the names of yet....YET, but  I will learn.
The air is also full of pollen and fluffy seeds(from poplar trees and dandelion clocks), not good for the allergy sufferers, like my son for example.
The scent in the air is amazing. Intoxicating. The scent of Elder, Acacia(Robinia) blossom  and soon to be  Linden penetrates into the house. The Acacia (black locust) flowers are opening now. If you haven't ever tasted acacia and have the possibility, try one.







They are fresh and delicious. When they are still closed they taste rather like freshly shelled peas and when they are open they are perfumed. If you do, be careful, bees love them, the trees near my house are humming with them. Acacia honey is my favourite. I get it from a local producer and it's gorgeous.




I first ate fried blossoms  quite a few years ago now, they were prepared by a  neighbour. She made us  Elderflowers, Acacia and Sage leaf fritters. I think the basic recipe was similar to Japanese tempura.
I remember going home with a very heavy stomach as I couldn't stop eating.
As with other Italian recipes everyone has there own version and regional differences can vary enormously.
Not every Italian eats fried blossoms, but most have tried them or knows someone who makes them, especially the older generations.

Here is my version(adapted).  Experiment and create your own.

 Acacia Blossom fritter Recipe

About 12/14 acacia blossoms (newly opened if possible)
about 150/200ml sparkling water (as cold as possible-put in the freezer before)
about 100g self-raising flour (seived)
2 eggs
pinch salt
a tablespoon of  sugar
Oil for frying ( I use organic sunflower oil)


The measures are approximate as you need to make a fairly thick batter which will stick to the flowers.
Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat. (Some people separate and whisk the whites-I don't).
Add some flour, a pinch of salt  and some water and beat and keep mixing a little at a time to obtain a smooth,thick batter. When you are happy with the batter add the sugar(you can add more if you have a sweet-tooth).


 Coat the blossoms in the batter and  deep fry in pre-heated oil (about 170°C). I fry the blossoms as they are, some people remove the central stem and fry the flowers seperately like popcorn.(I remove the stem while eating).Fry until lighly golden. After frying place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Serve dredged with icing sugar or with acacia honey.


 (We like to put our own sugar on, as we all prefer varying amounts). Yum. Eat quickly...Acacia blossoms aren't around for long.