I remember on car rides home from holidays or day trips we would sometimes stop at the side of the road so Nonna and Nonno could pick dandelion leaves or wild finocchio. I’ve taken on this foraging habit, always spotting wonderful things to collect. One time I pulled over on the Frankston Freeway because I saw this tree stump that was covered in fungi and I wanted to pick them for an artwork or animation. After stepping out of the car and beginning to walk to the stump, a man also pulled over. I kind of assumed he was stopping to look at them too, they were pretty spectacular. He asked if I was alright? I was surprised by this and told him I just going to look at the fungi and he said ‘uhh okay...’ and drove off. Afterwards I realised he probably thought my car had broken down.
Tomatoey Broad Beans and Wild Fennel
2 cups podded broad beans (don’t worry about double-shelling)
2 cups tomato sugo or diced tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic sliced
1 small onion diced
handful of wild fennel leaves
salt to taste
Heat a big drizzle of oil in fry pan and add onion, cook until translucent. Add garlic and broad beans and lightly fry for a few minutes.
Add sugo or diced tomatoes and bring to boil. Then add fennel leaves turn down to simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid has thickened and the beans are soft and grey coloured, about 20-30 mins.
Season to taste with salt and add water if sauce is too thick.
Serve warm with crusty bread to mop up sauce.
This recipe also works well with cannellini or kidney beans (just add them in after the sauce has come to boil). You can also add in kale or silverbeet for extra greens.