Posted: June 14th, 2016 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events | Tags: wild food, workshops | No Comments »
Boom! It’s that great tasting hogweed. Never heard of it? You don’t need to hear about it, just eat it. It’s one of our top most delicious wild foods.
Come on, we got another wild food workshop all lined up. We’ll do a little studying, to tell it apart from giant hogweed (heracleum mantegazzianum), which is poisonous to touch. It gives you full on peeling, blistering sunburn to make you feel like a proper Brit on tour in August. Then, onceonce that’s worked up an appetite in you and put you in the mood for food, we’ll steam the flower buds and serve them with butter/margarine and lemon juice.
The thrilling photo above shows young common hogweed (heracleum sphondylium), which is all there on the Grow Heathrow site, in the top left, alongside its poisonous Giant cousin in the bottom right. If you want to swot up beforehand, check out these tidal waves of fact that’ll make you very, very brainy.
So if you want to not have peeling sunburn but to eat something that tastes like asparagus, and let’s face it – who hasn’t been searching for that yin yang combo in life – you can either get some normal asparagus or come to the workshop.
Posted: May 10th, 2016 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events | Tags: food, wild food | No Comments »
If you’ve hung out at Grow Heathrow in the spring you might have eaten from our salads which, unlike the Beatles’ self-important claim, are what is genuinely bigger than Jesus. So what makes them so big? So huge, if you will?
Well, the answer is linden (tilia spp.) leaves. These mild flavoured, slightly thick leaves are just bursting into leaf now, at the start of May, and will get large enough to harvest in a few weeks. They’re in season while they’re still lime green and see-through and before they become darker green and tough. The tree is also known as lime but has nothing to do with the citrus fruit that brought us mojitos and shaking limes in coconuts. They’re everywhere lining streets and parks in west London, and it’s quick to harvest bucketloads and mix them in a salad with the stronger flavours that are much more common in wild foods, for example wild garlic (allium ursinum) or sour, lemony sorrel (rumex acetosa).
From 1 till 4 on Sunday 22 May, we’ll kick off with an ID walk, learning or recapping some of the common springtime wild salads such as chickweed (stellaria media), garlic mustard (alliaria petiolata), oxeye daisy (leucanthemum vulgare), and common poisonous plants – god knows there’s enough hemlock (conium maculatum) around on site. As hemlock was good enough to kill Socrates, it’s definitely good enough to do us some mischief, so it’s worth taking a moment to snatch sideways glances at with wide eyes and thumping hearts while we fearfully fill our humungous salad pot.
Then we’ll enjoy eating the salad. Sounds like a good day, doesn’t it? I’m definitely going. See you there if you like salad. If you don’t like salad, you’ll be underwhelmed.
Posted: August 9th, 2015 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events | Tags: airport expansion | No Comments »
Saturday, 12th September Bloomsbury Baptist Church, London 2pm. No New Runways: People fighting airport expansion are often branded NIMBYS by those who want more runways but the damage caused by such developments goes beyond the local areas. This event is focused on climate change. I’ve no doubt we will all learn something from this event. Not just about the impact of aviation on climate change but also about what can be done. Christine Taylor of SHE is scheduled to open the event with speakers including Dr Alice Bows-Larkin (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research); Keith Taylor MEP; Brendon Sewill (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign); Leo Murray (A Free Ride); Greenpeace; Asad Rehman (Friends of the Earth). Details and bookings at http://www.segreens.com/no_new_runways or go to the Facebook page: No New Runways.
Saturday, 19th September A national gathering of groups and individuals will be meeting up at Heathrow Primary School to look at ways to fight Heathrow expansion. Wherever you live, if you are likely to be impacted by a third runway this is your chance to have a say in how the campaign moves forward. A whole range of topics will be under discussion so there should be chance to ensure your voice is heard on your biggest concerns. The official time is 10am-4.30pm but we understand the organisers are still looking at the best way to incorporate a trip into Harmondsworth, one of the villages that would be destroyed, where an open house event is taking place. Initial details are below with more to follow. Please circulate the news of this event widely so that as many people as possible can book a place to take part.
Saturday, 10th October (provisional date) National Rally against a Third Runway is expected to take-place in Parliament Square with big-name speakers. This is one not to be missed. We will give you more details when we have them.
Posted: July 7th, 2015 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: food, wild food, workshops | No Comments »
Along with steamed hogweed buds (and blackberries), the other favourite foraged edible at Grow Heathrow is elderberry vinegar. Come on Saturday 5 September from 1 till 5 and join us.
As always, we’ll big you up and thank you loads for any/as many clean empty jars as you can bring :). So – elderberries. This widespread, delicious wild food has been one of Britain’s best loved hedgerow treasures for centuries, brewed into a unique smooth, rich and port-like wine with a flavour unmatched by anything on supermarket shelves (see recipe). The tree (sambucus nigra) is easy to identify if you’ve smelled the sweet elderflowers around May and June; they turn into drooping clusters of shiny purplish-black elderberries hanging down from purple stems from mid August till October.
Its best kept secret is definitely elderberry balsamic vinegar. This is fun, quick to make and leaves you with a result that transforms cheap vinegar into posh balsamic: a bit like Jesus turning water into wine, but more directly useful for climbing the greasy pole of Britain’s entrenched system of class hierarchy.
Strip the berries from the stems using your hands or a fork; compost the stems. Take a litre of British cider vinegar (ie, the perfect amount for a small portion of chips) and add a kilo of elderberries. Chuck them together in a covered stainless steel, glass or enamelled container for a week. Then strain, put the liquid on the hob, let it simmer for ten minutes and bottle. Now order a small portion of chips to go with your litre of vinegar and enjoy. Congratulations: the balsamic vinegar in front of you means you’re going up in the world!
Living in broken rotting greenhouses has its perks. What plant books flatteringly call ‘wasteland species’ may not have the looks but as we like to say here, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And autumn is coming up, with our Garden of Eden maze of elderberries and blackberries.
You can also check out the Urban Harvest info on eating elderberries.
Posted: January 24th, 2015 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Cool Projects | Tags: charity, cycling, palestine | No Comments »
Edinburgh to London: step on your bike and stand up for Palestine in tandem with 1,000 other fellow cyclists. Combine the challenge of cycling from Edinburgh to London with fundraising in support of a Palestinian children’s charity.
THE BIG RIDE will follow a stunning route from Edinburgh to London, clocking up an impressive daily mileage. From the Scottish Lowlands and Northumberland we cycle through Yorkshire and then head gradually southwards to London cutting a path through the middle of England. Following national cycle routes, we avoid the busiest and fastest roads in favour of natural surroundings, satisfyingly challenging distances with stops in some great cities along our capital-to-capital journey.
Event organiser Dermot MacWard describes his vision for the event:
“My friend Musheir El Farra lost 8 members of his family (including 5 children) in the recent war in Gaza. His sister Dr. Mona El-Farra the Vice President of the Red Crescent society for the Gaza Strip and Director of Middle Eastern Children Alliance has asked for help. Mona wants us to help raise awareness of the situation in Palestine and also help the children’s projects she’s involved with in The Gaza Strip.
Consequently we’re planning for 1,000 cyclists to join us in one of the largest mass participation cycling events of its kind in Britain. If you do nothing else this year – dust off your bike, pump up your tyres and oil your chain for a fabulous week of pedalling and help the people of Palestine.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 11th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events | Tags: growing | No Comments »
Posted: September 4th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: friends of cranford park, Harlington, Hayes, transition | No Comments »
This is an exciting month in Cranford Park.
We are celebrating the world’s biggest coffee morning in one of the smallest gardens (Sunday 14th September, 10am – 12 noon). The event is in the Secret Garden (near the information centre and stables) as part of Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’. We would be grateful if you could invite friends, make a cake or help on the day. There is an invitation attached.
On 20-21 September, the Berkeley stables, Secret Garden and St. Dunstan’s Church open their doors as part of London Open House weekend. There is an exhibition in the stables and members of the Friends will be in attendance to answer questions and collect memories. Sat. From 10.30am. On the Sunday (from 11.30am), classic motorcycles gather in the courtyard. Refreshments available, admission free.
Booking has opened for an open-air theatre production on 27 and 28 September (3pm).
Outline Theatre’s ‘Wheat to War’ is a celebration of local life and history, using song, dance and drama. Suitable for the whole family, the show features the coming of the Grand Union Canal, the building of the Great Western Railway and World War I, paying tribute to local heroes. Produced in partnership with the Imperial War Museum.
Tickets are £4 (four for £14, under fives free) via www.outlinetheatre.co.uk, ortel. 01895 851936.
Cranford Park is served by bus E6, road access is beside M4 junction 3/A312 on The Parkway. Parking is free, satnav TW5 9RZ.
Posted: August 11th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: food, sipson, wild food | No Comments »
The highlight of our foraging year.
If Grow Heathrow hasn’t been evicted, we’re going to bottle loads of blackberries. Bring clean empty jars and you will earn respect, win honour and know true righteousness. It’ll be the tail end but we should get lots of juicy buckets. You can taste some of last year’s (they’re great) and take some of this year’s jars home so you can fish for compliments from your family.
If we have been evicted, we’ll just go and eat blackberries. To be honest it might turn into just eating blackberries either way. See you there!
Posted: July 19th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Cool Projects, Events | Tags: art, film, No Third Runway | No Comments »
In October 2009 before he became Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts,” Within 30 months of taking power he set up a Commission widely expected to recommend airport expansion after his manifesto pledge runs out next year.
On Wednesday 18th June, more than 800 people packed into the Richmond Theatre to watch and judge the best viral films reminding Mr Cameron of his promise, and pressing the case against Heathrow expansion.
The No Ifs No Buts Film Competition staged by Zac Goldsmith MP in conjunction with the campaign group HACAN attracted well over 50 videos. Fifteen were shown at the event on 18th June.
In First Place: the residents’ film
In Second Place: the film beyond words
In Third Place: the comedy film
The 12 runners up are well worth watching.
Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: wild food | No Comments »
Living in broken rotting greenhouses has its perks.
What plant books flatteringly call ‘wasteland species’ may not have the looks but as we like to say here, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And autumn is coming up, with our Garden of Eden maze of elderberries and blackberries. There’s even a volunteer from abroad staying at Grow Heathrow at the moment who despite getting to know all of us, the site and what we do there has privately admitted she’s now really there for the blackberries; after they finish she might be off to somewhere else.
On Friday 18th July, from 1pm to 4 we’ll be pickling green elderberries. We pickled loads of ripe and less ripe purple elderberries last year but they just weren’t amazing – they taste a lot of vinegar and a little bit of that rich, slightly unpleasant ‘elder smell’ that you get when you crush elder leaves. You can try them if you come round (no need to thank us). But the green ones we pickled got gobbled up with chips as comfort food in the dark winter – crunchier and less strong. So this year we know how to prepare to liven those winter moments when there’s ten men sat around the old wood burning stove and someone brings out a guitar with four strings and delights in another repeat singing ‘Wagon Wheel’. Green pickled elderberries for hot chips (and daal)! (You can also check out the Urban Harvest info on eating elderberries)
If you want to join the party, be there.