Category Archives: Posts about recipes

Posts about recipes

Super Spring Soup

I’m often asked, on my walks how I’ve made the things I bring along for people to try- mushroom pâté, picked seeds, wild kimchi and warming soups are some of the favourites. Here’s the recipe for a very tasty soup I’ve been dishing out during the colder months. It’s different every time, depending which leaves I’ve  foraged that day. I added some favourite dried ingredients and just played with the flavours, following my instincts. Whoever said don’t play with your food? Feel free to adapt this recipe according to what you have at hand, wild or bought. I don’t recommend picking Wild Chervil AKA Cow Parsley or Alexanders unless you know the carrot family very well- you might instead use Parsley and Celery.

Ingredients:

Nettles (tips) – Main leafy ingredient

Cleavers – a handful of tips from younger plants

Alexanders leaves – a few sprigs

Wild Chervil (Cow Parsley) – a handful of leaves

Wild Garlic – less or more depending on desire taste

One large potato

One large onion

Coconut oil for cooking

Truffle Salt

Pepper

Dried Seaweed

Miso paste

Nutmeg

For topping/garnish:

Pickled wild garlic seeds

Lovage seeds

Mixed bought seeds

Olive oil

Wild Chervil

Coconut yogurt

Wild garlic flowers

Method:

Lightly sauté your onions for a few minutes then add potatoes.

Add water and stock, turn up the heat to bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are getting close to cooked. At this point add your chopped Garlic, Nettles and Alexanders then cook for few minutes more.

Allow to cool then whizz soup with a handheld blender. Reheat and add more miso paste if required.

Serve in pretty bowls with any or all of the suggested toppings.

Mushroom pâté

161105_goforaging_mushroom_59I’m posting this recipe due to popular demand. It’s simple and easy to make as well as being versatile- whichever mushrooms you happen to have will work, although my favourites for pâté are Ceps and Bay Boletes. It’s a great way of using up older, perhaps less attractive members of your collection and if you don’t have any wild mushrooms, shop bought ones will do just fine- simply ask your local greengrocer for half a kilo of Agaricus Bisporus! Try spreading pâté on toasted sourdough with some soft goat’s cheese and kimchi… For vegan pâté, simply leave out the butter. It will still taste great!

Ingredients

40 ml olive oil

500 g mushrooms

200g butter

75g whole grain mustard

Method

Heat a wide based frying pan, add a glug of olive oil and a knob of butter (if using). Fry your mushrooms for longer than you usually would then add some stock. I use either powdered mushroom (cep) stock or Bouillon stock.

Continue cooking for another 5 or 10 minutes then add wholegrain mustard.

Take off the heat and blend to a smooth consistency (I personally don’t like lumps in my pâté) with a hand held blender.

Then, while the mixture is still hot, fold in the rest of your butter, put back on a low heat and stir for a minute.

Take off the heat and blend again.

Spoon into sterilised jars. Replace the lids, then leave for a few hours to cool.

Label your jars and store in the fridge.

Your pâté will keep for a few months, in theory, although I don’t think it will last this long once you have tasted it!

Rice, roast veg and mushrooms with dill and saffron yogurt.

IMG_1102Rice cooked with star anise and fennel, roasted vegetables, chestnuts, mange tout and last of the garden beans. Wax Cap mushrooms sautéed with thyme and sage, then further cooked with Elderberry vinegar. To accompany: Kefir yogurt with dill and rose water.  This was one of those  unplanned meals that evolved from what I had in the store cupboard, plus what I had foraged that day. I’m sharing because it worked well and I thought the colours looked great! Starting with a base of mixed camargue, wild and long grain rice, I then added everything else, tasting as I went along.

N.B. I had previously been marinading beefsteak fungus in my Elderberry vinegar. The vinegar tasted fantastic so I used in this dish- I think it could have been great added a mushroom risotto too! A balsamic glaze would work really well if you don’t have Elderberry vinegar. 

Method

Firstly I added olive oil to a large frying pan, turned on the heat and sautéed my onion for a few minutes. I then added the rice, fennel and star anise, stirring for a few more minutes, before pouring in the stock (making sure the liquid level was around a centimetre above the rice). Next I placed the lid on the pan, turned the heat down about as low as it would go and cooked the rice for thirty five minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate, frying pan I cooked the mushrooms in olive oil and butter, adding some seasoning.

I combined the rice with the mushrooms and added to a large, heavy based cooking pot, along with a glug of olive oil.  Turning to a low heat, I stirred in the roasted vegetables, beans and mange tout (having steamed and strained the beans). I then added mushrooms, Chestnuts, herbs and vinegar and further cooked for ten minutes.

To accompany the meal, I mixed together yogurt, rose water, a pinch  of salt and freshly chopped dill.

 

Ingredients

  • 250g mixed rice
  • Boullion stock
  • Olive oil
  • 5 or so Chestnuts, roasted, de-shelled and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • Green beans, topped and tailed
  • Mange tout
  • Roasted vegetables; onion, garlic, courgette and leek
  • Meadow and Scarlet Wax Caps
  • Elderberry vinegar
  • Thyme
  • Alexanders, chopped
  • Sage, chopped
  • Star anise
  • Fennel
  • Seasoning
  • Kefir yogurt
  • Fresh dill
  • Rose water

N.B. for Elderberry vinegar recipe see my fruit vinegars post.

Sloe & Mulberry chocolates

IMG_9380
Delicious and healthy chocolates- the perfect snack to take on those Autumn mushroom forays!   Raw cacao contains bitter tasting flavonols – a class of flavanoids antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.  Lucuma is gluten-free with essential trace elements, fibre, vitamins and minerals… And coconut butter contains potassium, magnesium, and iron plus has anti-microbial properties. Suffice to say the berries and nuts are very good for you too!
The non-foraged ingredients in this recipe can be found in most health food shops.

Note:  You might try adapting this recipe, adding Meadowsweet pollen or substituting Sloes for Sea Buckthorn berries.

Ingredients:
  • Mulberries, half a packet
  • Lucuma, 1 tbsp
  • Hazelnuts, 10-15
  • Sloes from Sloe gin, de-stoned,
  • Creamed coconut butter, 150g
  • Cacao paste, 150g
  • Cacao butter, 150g
  • Hot water

You will need:

  • A medium sized saucepan for your bain-marie.
  • A second, slightly smaller pan.

 Method:

Pour hot water into the saucepan- enough so that it does not spill over the sides when you add the second pan to the saucepan or bain-marie.

Add the creamed coconut butter, lucuma, cacao paste and cacao butter to the second pan, then place this in the bain-marie. Let the ingredients melt, without putting a lid on the pan. This is to avoid condensation (you do not want water in your mixture as fat and water do not mix).

Keep the mixture over the hot water as you prepare the other ingredients.

Chop the Mulberries and gin soaked Sloes and whiz the Hazelnuts.

Add these ingredients to the mixture once it is melted and stir.

Finally spoon the mixture into your moulds and very carefully put in the fridge. Leave to set overnight.

IMG_9058

IMG_9064

IMG_9069

IMG_9072

IMG_9091

IMG_9094

IMG_9099

IMG_9126

 

Wild Asparagus: Verging on perfect!

1508986_687788044614625_4317093626562217607_nBath Asparagus, Ornithogalum pyrenaicum grows in scattered pockets along the hedgerows of country lanes near Bath. It also exists in more expansive colonies in certain woodlands thereabouts. Thought to have been a Roman import, the plant has flowers that give rise to it’s other name: The Spiked Star of Bethlehem. Though a protected species, the tasty young flower buds and stalks are often cut down in their prime by the dreaded hedge strimmers – this green roadkill then makes for a delicious meal! My favourite thing to do with this wild vegetable is to steam it for a few minutes,  season  then add a squeeze of lemon juice.  For a breakfast to remember, serve it on sourdough bread with hollandaise sauce and poached duck eggs. This year, with the late season for St George’s mushrooms I might make a mushroom and asparagus risotto- the taste of Bath Asparagus is less strong than it’s cultivated cousin, so it won’t overpower the flavour of the mushrooms.

IMG_5971

Bath Asparagus growing in woodland near Bath.

Wonderful Hogweed

Unknown-1The young shoots and green flower buds of Common Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium are one of our best wild vegetables.  They are fantastic in risottos, fried in coconut oil and eaten as a green or as tempura (see picture and recipe below)  As well as this,  being a cut and come again vegetable,  you can enjoy harvesting from the same patch for weeks on end.

Some caution needs to be taken as the sap from the plant can cause phytophotodermititus; a  burning of the skin, when exposed to sunlight.  For this reason gloves should be worn when picking and the plant should not be eaten raw.  Take care not to mistake Hogweed for its relative: Giant Hogweed, which has more serrated leaves and a purple, blotchy stem.  Another, deadly member of the carrot family is Hemlock and eating just a small amount of this plant can be enough to kill you. You really need to be 100% certain you can identify plants in this family before consuming any of them. I’ll write more about the carrot family soon but for now I recommend going out with an experienced guide who can show you what to look for. There’s some excellent reference books out there, including Miles Irvin’s Forager’s Handbook with silhouette images of plants (good for pattern recognition) and useful descriptions of the characteristics of different species.
For more information about Hogweed and Giant Hogweed I recommend reading Mark William’s excellent article: http://www.gallowaywildfoods.com/?page_id=94
IMG_5698
Hogweed tempura recipe:
This is a lot of fun to make,  utterly delicious and you will love some of the alien-like shapes which manifest.  Like a lot of my favourite recipes,  it works well with various  ingredients;  Nettle leaves, Wild Garlic seed heads,  Ground Ivy leaves,  Oxeye Daisy leaves and flowers… to name but a few.
Ingredients:
  • A few handfuls of Hogweed shoots/ green flower buds
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour
  • 1 egg
  • 100g sunflower oil
  • 400ml of cold water
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce
Method:
Sift flour, egg and salt into a bowl. Whisk in the water,  but don’t over beat as you want the mixture to be light and fluffy. Coat the Hogweed shoots and flower heads then deep-fry in batches.

Hop frittata

IMG_3558

This idea came from forager Henry Ashby. It’s a simple recipe that works really well. Hop shoots have a delicate flavour so the important thing with this recipe is go easy on the Wild Garlic leaves!

Ingredients;

  • Sunflower oil
  • Hop shoots: A handful, washed and trimmed
  • Leftover cooked new potatoes, sliced: 300g
  • Eggs beaten: 5
  • Wild Garlic leaves: 2 or 3
  • Cream: 1 tablespoon

In a small non-stick frying pan, heat oil over a medium heat. Add potatoes, then fry until beginning to crisp (about 8 mins).  In a bowl, whisk together eggs, Wild Garlic leaves and some seasoning. Turn on  the grill.  Add eggs to the frying pan,  mix quickly,  lower the heat, then sprinkle over cheese.  Once the top side has almost set,  pop under the grill for a few minutes, until cooked and golden.  Slide out of the pan.  Serve and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter-Ledge Pudding

 

IMG_4246

There are numerous versions of this savoury pudding recipe. The one I have used and adapted is by Roger Phillips.  Instead of Bistort I used Dandelion leaves. Bitter or aromatic flavours work particularly well so you could  try Cow Parsley, Ground Elder or Sorrel. That is if you are one hundred percent certain that you can safely identifying these plants.

 

 

  • 450 g Dandelion and young Nettle tops
  • 1 large onion
  • 125g Pearl barley
  • A large knob of butter
  • 1 egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Chop the greens and onion finely and sprinkle the washed barley among them, adding the salt.

Boil in a muslin bag for around one and a half hours, then strain.

Before serving, beat the mixture in a dish with the egg,  a large knob of butter,  salt and pepper.  I add oatmeal and breadcrumbs to the mixture as well.

Form into cakes,  roll in more breadcrumbs,  then fry in sunflower oil.

Serve with potato wedges,  on a bed of Sea Spinach or with a wild leaf salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Winter Salad

IMG_2199

Adding foraged ingredients to couscous works really well. You can truly let your imagination run wild,  adding various leaves, shoots and seeds as well as store cupboard ingredients until you are satisfied.  I always taste what I’m making as I go so I don’t overdo it with any one ingredient and I have favourite additions which I include every time; toasted pine nuts, lemon zest, avocado and Elderberry vinegar work really well. Leaves-wise this time I added Wild Garlic, Three Cornered Garlic flowers, Common Sorrel, Alexanders, Hairy Bittercress, and Garlic Mustard. I also added some Lady’s Smock leaves (chopped finely as their taste is particularly strong), Fennel and Yarrow leaves.

Regular couscous is good but I love the spelt variety with it’s nutty taste.

I added my own dressing to taste. This was made from Elderberry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, whole grain mustard, paprika, olive oil, thyme and seasoning.

Slightly wild chutney

IMG_9001

Chutneys are a great way to combine wild food with home grown produce.  Every Autumn I have a huge surplus of runner beans and this is how I put them to good use:

Runner-bean chutney

Makes 5 medium sized jars. 

  • Three cornered garlic bulbs  25-30
  • Malt vinegar 150ml
  • Allspice berries 9
  • Coriander seeds 1 tsp
  • Garlic Mustard seeds 2 tsp
  • Runner beans 750g
  • English mustard powder 1 tbsp
  • Wholegrain mustard 2 tsp
  • Turmeric 2 tsp
  • Cider vinegar 150ml
  • Organic cane sugar 200g
  • Salt 1 heaped tsp 
  • Tomatoes 300g
  • Cornflour 30g

Peel and halve the three cornered garlic bulbs, put them into a medium-sized saucepan with the malt vinegar, coriander and Garlic Mustard seeds. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

String the beans, removing the stalks. Thinly slice each bean, cutting diagonally to give fine shreds about 4 or 5cm long. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the beans and cook for a full minute. Drain and set aside.

Mix the mustards, turmeric, sugar, salt and half the cider vinegar in a small basin. Dice the tomatoes then add to the saucepan with the vinegar and garlic bulbs, stir in the beans and mustard mixture then add the remaining cider vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. The beans should be tender but don’t overcook – remember they will soften in the jars.

Remove a few spoonfuls of liquid and use it to mix the cornflour to a paste. Stir gently back into the beans. Leave to simmer for a minute or two until the mixture has thickened slightly. Ladle into warm, sterilised preserving jars and seal.

You could substitute the Garlic Mustard seeds for bought yellow mustard seeds as it is too late to forage your own seeds at this point in the year – I collect them during mid-late Summer and store for later use.

Three Cornered Garlic bulbs can be found all year round but you could use shallots or onions instead.