Talking foraging at the Leatherhead Taste trends conference 2014

Plus a recipe for seaweed scones

Yesterday I was very proud to be talking about foraged ingredients at the Leatherhead food research ‘Taste trends 2014’ conference. http://www.leatherheadfood.com

I am constantly amazed where foraging takes me and the incredibly interesting people I meet along the way.  My natural habitat is in the outdoors, knees muddy from the forest floor or feet wet from rockpools and lapping waves, so to be standing in a rather sterile conference room behind a lectern and in front of an audience of food producers definitely took me a country mile from my usual environment.

The day persuaded me that I need to get out of my favoured environment more! It is very easy to get a little too comfortable in your own little world, and I am guilty of this. There cannot be many places more lovely to live than North Yorkshire and the opportunity to have this beautiful landscape as a workplace is a dream, so maybe I can be forgiven for being comfortable. But speaking at Taste trends 2014 and spending the day with a great group of people from all walks of the food industry was an amazing experience and one that has given me a huge amount of knowledge and inspiration.

The 3 highlights of the day for me were:

Steve Wallis from Tastebillion www.tastebillion.4ormat.com/.
His insight into trends and innovation within the food industry was truly inspirational. The future looks exciting.

Sara Danesin Medio  www.saradanesinmedio.com/ .
Sara’s passion for good quality simple ingredients filled the room and held everyone’s attention throughout.  Hearing Sara speak reinforced my own belief in great ingredients and good cooking and I really hope that one day we might be able to combine our knowledge and work together.

Jennifer Arthur. Strategic insight manager, Leatherhead food research.
Another look at the future through different but no less exciting eyes!  So much in depth research to produce a vision of the future that is both exciting and positive. Health and wellbeing both of consumers and the planet seems to be top of the agenda which has got to be a good thing.

The most important idea that reccured throughout the day, the one that makes me optimistic and hopeful for the future and is so much part of our own ethos at Taste the wild was the importance of Sustainability.  Virtually every speaker during the day had sustainability playing a major part in all sectors of the food industry, driving both manufacturers practice and policy as well as consumers buying and eating habits.

I really hope that all their predictions are correct.

Thanks to everyone at Leatherhead food research, especially Laura and Guida who looked after us so well.

I now know I need to get out more!!

+++

We were asked to produce some canapes for the lunchtime break and one of the three we came up with was a Seaweed scone with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

The scones are delicious and have a great hit of marine freshness, I hope you like them.
Serve with smoked salmon and cream cheese or as an accompaniment to fish soup.

Seaweed scones.  makes about 14-16

 

IMG_0424

 

Ingredients

12g dried Bladderwrack Ground up very small
7g dried Gutweed Ground fine and mixed with 2g fine sea salt.

60g Butter
250g S.R. Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 Egg
150ml Milk

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the Bladdewrack .

Break the egg into a measuring jug and make up to 150ml with milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix to a soft dough.

Press the dough out to a 2cm deep layer using your fingers. Using a 4cm cutter stamp out your scones. brush the tops with a little milk and sprinkle with the Gutweed/salt mixture.

Bake on a greased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes and cool on a rack.

 

Gutweed

Gutweed

 

Gutweed  Ulva intestinalis
This annual seaweed grows through spring and summer. It is a bright, light green in colour and can cover rocks looking like a carpet. The individual fronds are hollow tubes and these fill with oxygen so that it can float. The tubes are a little like guts and are approximately 6-10mm wide and 10-30cm long. If they don’t have any air in, the weed looks like stringy sea lettuce.

 

 

Bladderwrack

Bladderwrack

 

Bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus
This seaweed grows to approximately 50-100cm. It is a dark greenish brown colour sometimes with lighter areas. The fronds are branched with smooth edges. The midrib is quite pronounced and there are rounded air bladders along the fronds, usually in pairs.

 

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