Mrs BYF is fanatical about not wasting any food that the garden produces. Her attitude has resulted in many memorable dishes ranging from fantastic, better that any world class restaurant, etc. etc., to (seldom, I might add) never to be attempted again, EVER!
I was going to let the cardoon buds flower, because the bees love them, and ‘they’ say that only the stems should be eaten, but Mrs BYF commanded me to “bring them in!”. After all the cardoons grow so well in Dunedin and my plants were well over 3 meters high with lots of flowers. They were all boiled in a big pot of water, with a squeeze of lemon and some salt, then peeled, chokes removed and the hearts put under oil. The taste and texture of the hearts proved to be sensational, perhaps a bit more starchy, at the same time almost creamy, than artichokes. We eat them as antipasto or on panini with roast bell peppers (peperoni) and fried eggplant (melanzane). The real taste of Italy in Dunedin. Unbelievable !
Just to take the non wastage policy a bit further, Mrs BYF used the inedibles for a lovely vegetable arrangement of rosemary, flowering cardoon and fennel fronds. The cardoon flowers are beautiful and, surprisingly, sweet smelling.
We have ( within the next few minutes I have to amendment that to had) a lovely, healthy, large (the only really big tree around here), gum tree growing just outside our fence on council property. Apart from being lovely to look at the tree was home to a pair of breeding kereru and a number of tuis, it was a high nectar producing tree that fed native birds, bees and bumblebees in the area . It flowered in the late winter when few food sources exist. The tree posed no threat at all to the road, any drains or any person, on the contrary, loss of the root system could seriously compromise the stability of the steep verge of the road. The removal happened by stealth, as it where, the crane appearing at 8am opposite my garden with no prior warning and the first cuts were swiftly made. We ran for the phone and tried to speak to the authorities in charge but could not stay the outcome.
As disturbing as the loss of the tree was the stonewalling of the council, perhaps pointing towards a cavalier attitude towards residents in this area. I fear reprisal so can not name the names of people contacted or powerful people who thought so little of this Dunedin resident that they refused to speak to me, but it was implied we were wasting our breath, that the tree will come down regardless, so just go away.
Dunedin residents are footing this bill at the rate of hundreds of dollars and hour from the moment the crane leaves the yard. We guess that the cost of removing this tree will amount to many thousands of dollars since the crane spent 5 hours on this job. The question that needs to be asked is who benefited from this unnecessary work? Who makes such rash decisions, and why do the residents not have a voice, but have to pay the bills?
Very good article about the decline in bee numbers by Slow Food Italia