Here’s a recipe with a difference, from cookbook Milkwood (Murdoch Books) by Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar. This wonderful compilation offers creative ideas about tomatoes, mushrooms, beekeeping, seaweed and other wild foods. A lot of fun!

This is a variation on our standard family stew, which is actually a lot more exciting than it sounds. It’s hearty and warming and delicious, without being heavy. And it’s great to put in a thermos and head for the beach or the mountains, or just out to the backyard to eat around a fire pit with some crusty bread spread with seaweed butter. It will serve about six people. The lamb is optional. You could use any great-quality, ethically sourced meat for this stew, and  tempeh works beautifully too.


2 onions, sliced

Olive oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

About 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) lamb (stewing chops with 
the bones in are most delicious, but diced lamb is fine too)

190 g (1 cup) dried kidney beans, soaked in water for 24 hours (they’ll swell to about double the volume after soaking)

400 g (2 cups) chopped tomatoes (or tomato passata, see page 52)

6 good bits of dried or fresh kelp, chopped 
into small pieces (about 50 g/1 cup)

100 g (2 cups) roughly chopped wild greens or English spinach

Salt and pepper, to taste


Fry your onions with a big lug of olive oil in a heavy-based pot for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Then add the garlic, cumin seeds and lamb. Stir around until the lamb is a bit browned and the cumin seeds smell amazing.

Add the drained kidney beans, tomatoes, kelp and enough water to cover everything well. Bring to a gentle boil and give it all a stir, then turn the heat right down to low, put the lid on and go and do something else for a few hours.

During this slow-cooking phase (we often do this bit in the oven, at about 150ºC/300°F), check every hour or so how the beans are going, as they are the important bit – everything else will just happily cook away, getting better and better. When the beans are soft but not too mushy (about 2 hours, but this varies),turn off the heat. Stir in the wild greens or spinach, season to taste and let stand for 5 minutes to wilt the greens. Serve in bowls with some crusty bread and seaweed butter.



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