Thursday, 18 May 2017


“Memory believes before knowing remembers.” ― William Faulkner 

I was reminiscing about my grandmother and the special dishes that she used to cook when I was holidaying at my grandparents place in Greece when I was young. One of the wonderful tastes/aromas I remember were the “wild greens pies” (hortópittes) that she made. These were based on stewed spinach leaves from her garden, to which had been added Spring onions, leeks, silverbeet leaves, and more importantly, wild greens and herbs that were collected from the hills near their house. These greens were fragrant and according to the season they were gathered and the various types and quantities included, gave a special taste and aroma to the spinach.

Included in these wild greens and herbs were: Greek dock (Rumex cristatus); wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare); common mallow (Malva sylvestris); chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium); common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica); wild poppy (Papaver rhoeas); red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum); red valerian (Centranthus ruber); Mediterranean hartwort (Tordylium apulum). All of these were harvested fresh and only the tender green parts were gathered. They were stewed together with all the other ingredients and then used to fill parcels of dough, which were fried in olive oil. One of the herbs I have not found elsewhere is the white hedge-nettle… 

Prasium, common name white hedge-nettle, is a genus of flowering plant in the Lamiaceae family, first extensively described in 1982. It contains only one known species, Prasium majus, first reported for modern science in 1753. It is native to Madeira, the Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean region of Europe (Italy and Greece, especially), North Africa, and the Middle East, as far East as Turkey and Israel.

 This is a small spreading herb found on rocky ground. The purplish stems are square in cross section, a feature typical of the mint family. The bright green, nettle-like (but non-stinging, i.e. “dead” nettle) leaves are arranged in pairs along the stem, as are the flowers. The pretty white flowers have fine purple lines leading to the nectary. The protruding stamens are also purple tipped. Prasium majus is often found in thorny underbrush, scrambling through bushes. The flavour of this herb is lovely and contributes greatly to a number of dishes, including my grandmother’s “wild greens pies” (the recipe for them is here)…

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme.

1 comment:

  1. How great to have this awesome memory and to also have the recipe. I'm sure that I would never think to put greens from my garden into a pie but it makes sense to use what you have available.
    I didn't know you had this blog!