Andy Hamilton’s delicous knotweed vodka

At this time of year Japanese knotweed Fallopia japonica is growing very quickly – 20cm a day. The top 20cm is the most tender and flavoursome so it’s best to catch it early, before it gets woody. It can still be used at a later stage but you have to peel it.

Glass of Knotweed vodka

Knotweed vodka by Roy Hunt

Knotweed can be found along riverbanks, waste grounds and, frankly, anywhere it chooses. To remove it organically you would have to dig 5m down and burn all the soil. The area I forage for it is huge,about half the size of a football field. It was most likely spread from builders’ waste, as is often the case. Before you know it, a 6ft maze makes it impossible for all around to grow, like a supermarket moving into a small town.

Andy Hamilton with KnotweedGrowing at 20cm a day in April

Knotweed is a controlled substance, so take care when transporting cuttings, and be sure to burn any leftovers to avoid breaking the law.

Knotweed Vodka Ingredients 450g knotweed 750ml vodka 225g sugar Gather knotweed shoots and chop into 3cm pieces, then put into a 1 litre jar. Add the sugar and vodka and seal. Shake well and leave for at least 3 – 4 weeks. Strain back into bottle through muslin/cheesecloth and place in a cool dark place for 3 months.

The discarded knotweed can be eaten and, as it tastes remarkably like rhubarb, works well in a crumble – simply follow the recipe for a rhubarb crumble replacing knotweed for rhubarb, weight for weight.

This article was first published in 2011 on the Observer organic allotment blog

Living with less a course by Andy Hamilton

Living with less

Andy having a wee dram

Rampant consumerism has been targeted as one of the reasons for last year’s riots, we are being sold more and more stuff we don’t need, whilst our abilities to earn money are being taken away and the cost of basic amenities is rising. Something has to change and someone has to help change it, be that change you want to see in the world and join Andy Hamilton bestselling Author of Booze for Free, co-founder of, occasional broadcaster and general skinflint on a truly unique course as he teaches you how to live with less.

The Living with less day course you will be taken round the streets of Bristol and shown how the other half live. We meet in a greasy spoon cafe for a 99p breakfast of burnt toast, cold bacon and overly crispy eggs followed by a ride on the top deck of a bus where we will be regaled by street music played through the modern media of a tiny mobile phone speaker before reaching our destination and workshop HQ, an authentic mobile home on bricks outside a red brick 1930’s terrace house.

The Living with less course will teach the 1% to live like the other 99%. Learn valuable life skills for the city such as how to queue at bank for the whole of your 30 minute lunch break just to be told youcan’t have an extension on your overdraft, how to talk to bailiffs, how to roll a cigarette from an ashtray, enjoying wine from a box, cooking with frozen food and living with disappointment.

There will be a countryside and pursuits element  to the Living with Less course too which will cover how to walk rather than drive, the rubber dingy the new yacht, fishing in canals and which hat to wear at the betting shop.

By the end of the Living with less course you will not feel alienated from most of the world and will learn that most situations can be laughed at.

Andy, having lived on the breadline for the last 13 years is a true hands on expert in living well for less. He brews his own beer and wine, forages and grows his own food, uses cheap cuts of meat, mends his own clothing, favours a bike over a car, adopts a host of energy saving tips in the home and moved into a cheaper house to reduce his mortgage.

Taking bookings now for next April 1st(2013) to secure a place please email

The total course cost for Living with less is £15 million and anything less will be considered a donation. For terms and conditions see small print at the bottom of the page.
















Course does not actually exist and is meant as an April fools joke, however, if you really want to live with less and part with a large sum of money may I suggest donating it to a charity. Such as this one, this one or this one.