Photo from: SantiMB.Photos
retama, ginesta (obs), OCast henista, hiniesta, L. Spartium junceum, Ar. ratamah, Hisp Ar ratámah, Fr. plante de genet, Eng. Spanish broom. As a member of the broom family, it is confused with all its other relatives. It is abundant in the mountains and dunes of Spain, France and England.
The Plantagent Kings of England (1154-1483) received their surname when Geoffrey, Prince of France, husband of Matilde of England and father of Henry II, placed a sprig of “plante de genet” in his helmet for his friends to recognize him during the ensuing battle. As a result, his friends jokingly gave him “Plantegent” as nickname never thinking it would become the family surname.
The yellow flowers have been used as dye. The leaves produce an indigo shade, also used as dye.
Medicinally, Spanish broom is five to six times more active than common broom. The seeds were used for dropsy at one time and the seeds and flowers were thought good for kidney and gallbladder stones. Overdoses produced vomiting, which cause ill effects on the nerves and circulatory and respiratory systems.
Shepherds from the Middle Ages noted the narcotic properties of it. Sheep after consuming broom become keyed up and then dazed. Although this intoxicating effect passes, professionals warn that ill use of this medicine by humans can lead to death.
There is no mention of using this plant in cookery but Sent Soví calls a dish ginestradawith almond milk and Nola names two dishes after the plant. In both recipes he calls for enough saffron to make the dish yellow like Spanish broom. See ginestada, piorno, piorno amarillo, piorno serrano, and retama negra. [Anón/Grewe. 1982:LVI:100-101; ES: Carroll-Mann. Jun 6, 01:ftn 28; ES: Descendants. 2001: ES: Grieve. “Spanish Broom.” Apr 23, 03; ES: Lord. Almendras Amargas. Aug 16, 11; Martínez Llopis. Historia.1981:139; Nola. 1989:xxi-2:xxviii-4:lxix-2; and Nola/Pérez. 1992:199-200]
BROOM FLOWER PUDDING ADAPTED FROM NOLA’S xxi-2 GINEFTADA
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 c rice
1 qt goat, sheep or almond milk
⅔ c diced dates
1 tsp fine spices
⅛ c pine kernels
sugar or ground cinnamon
bitter pomegranate seeds
(or as desired)
Grind rice in a food processor. Put it in a pot. Add milk little by little stirring continuously until the mixture thickens, about 30 minutes. Add sugar continue stirring. Add diced dates spices. and nuts When the mixture thickens. remove from heat and let sit 15-20 minutes before pouring into serving bowl(s). Sprinkle with garnish seeds if desired.
 Salsas finas, see blog titled dárselo published November 29, 2013 for recipe.
LIBRO DE COCINA DE RUPERTO NOLA
39. BROOM-FLOWER DISH
TRANSTLATED INTO ENGLISH
BY LADY BRIGHID NI CHIARAIN
FROM NOLA’S GINESTADA (28)
|You will take the breasts of mutton or the flanks, and give them a boil, so that they lose the color of blood; and then make pieces as big as your thumb. and take very fatty bacon and make little slices of it, small and thin as a feather; and cast each piece lengthwise along that cut bacon and then take the bacon and melt it; and when you have extracted all the grease, gently fry the said meat with it; and then put it into a pot with the broth of another pot; and then take a hen's liver, and a little mutton, and make everything boil together and then take toasted bread, and grind everything together; and strain everything through a woolen cloth; and then blend it with good pot-broth mixed with verjuice and vinegar, and small spices, and give it the color of a hare; and this is very good sauce.|