Growing Wild Food Aquaponically

montage for email2Hi Everybody,

Chris and I are excited to share our new plan with you all. We have a project that we hope will inspire you.

Wild Food is so popular now that we would like grow some of these ingredients sustainably and supply local businesses. We have found a way of growing that makes complete sense. – It uses Aquaponics. perch and plantsWe’re going to use UK river fish (Perch) …so no need to heat the water! And grow off grid in a polytunnel, on our land in Yorkshire. We are so inspired by this compact, energy efficient way of growing that we will teach as well when we are up and running.sun rain polytunnel In the meantime, if we get the funding, the technical development of the Off Grid system and the information on growing shade tolerant plants will be freely available to everyone online. This could possibly help with growing projects in urban situations with limited power supply and in remote places where the sun doesn’t always shine. We have technical support from the amazing guys at the Aquaponics Lab in Manchester.rewards montage

Our Kickstarter campaign for ‘The Wild Food Aquagarden’ has gone live! Hope you can spare a minute to have a look through it. We have all sorts of rewards for backers from small gifts to party invites etc etc.

Hope you’re interested, please share this with anybody else you think might be too.

Thanks and kind Regards Rose and Chris

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/994301377/the-wild-food-aquagarden

 

 

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!!

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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

 

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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.

 

Autumn hedgerow spices make a warming soup extra special

We have made this soup on recent foraging courses in our wood and chef Chris Parry adapted it for our recent ‘foragers supper’ at the Exeter Arms in Derby  The recipe is here along with photos from the event in Derby and the recent vegetarian wild food weekend course.

Hogweed spiced sweet potato soup – serves 4

  • 1 onion skinned and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g sweet potato peeled cut in to chunks
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp Hogweed seeds roasted and ground (identification notes below)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 1litre vegetable stock
  • Ground black pepper
  • Double cream (optional)

First roast the Hogweed seeds, to do this remove them from the stalks and measure out 1 tablespoon, put them into a heavy based frying pan and cook for a few minutes, moving them around so that they toast on both sides. A lovely orangey, cardamom like fragrance will come from the seeds as they toast – be careful they don’t burn. Once roasted grind them up in a pestle and mortar with a teaspoon of flaky sea salt.

 

vegy WF weekend Sept 14 107Meanwhile in a large saucepan, cook the onions slowly in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft, then add the ground Hogweed and salt mix and stir to coat the spices. Now add the butter and sweet potato and stir well, cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Add the stock and leave to simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft. Puree the soup with a stick blender, add pepper to taste and salt if necessary. Re-heat the soup and add a couple of spoonfuls of cream if you want a little luxury.

 

Chris Parry chef at the Exeter Arms swirled chorizo oil through his version of the soup.

Hogweed  – Heraclum sphodylium

hogweed seeds (2)

This perennial plant flowers from June to August, growing to 2m tall. It has hairy stems and leaves. The stems are hollow and grooved and usually have greyish purple tints. The leaves are very large at the base of the plant becoming smaller up the flowering stem. Each leaf is made up of usually 5 leaflets these have a coarsely toothed wavy edge making the leaflet look irregular. The flower buds appear in June encased in a papery wrapper and open in to an umbrella of grey white flowers approx 20cm across from June onwards. The seeds follow first as green discs which then dry out to form brown seeds as in the photo. Look carefully at the leaf shape to confirm your identification and check that the seed has a citrus, cardamom like scent.

Be sure of your identification. Hogweed is part of the umbelliferae family whose members can be tricky to identify, it does contain poisonous species so be careful. We recommend that you check your identification in a few different plant books or ideally come on a foraging course.

Urban foraging in Derby with the Exeter arms.

 

 

Vegetarian weekend course September 2014

Summer berry syrup

Last week we were teaching for the North York Moors National Park on Sutton Bank and making a Wild Summer Berry Syrup for everyone to take home.

Wild Raspberries, Bilberries, Elderberries and blackberries made a deliciously fruity syrup to pour over ice cream. Collect some up and have a go at this simple summer treat.

wild raspberries Aug - Copy

 

Wild Raspberries grow in scrubby woodland, on waste ground and field edges etc. They grow on arching thorny stems approximately 1m tall and like a sunny position to fruit well.

 

bilberries compressed - Copy

 

The Bilberry is a small woody shrub which grows on moorland often with heather. It’s berries are blue/black, the flat top of the berry has a distinctive raised circle around it.

 

 

early elderberries

 

Elderberries are just ripening now on the Elder trees, you will find them on field edges, open woodland and on waste ground. The trees grow up to 3m tall usually.

 

 

2013 bumper blackberries - CopyBlackberries are ripe in sunny spots, you may also find lower growing Dewberries, they look similar to a blackberry but with fewer round segments (drupes). They often have a blue/grey bloom and like well drained ground.

 

 Wild Summer Berry Syrup

  • 1 litre (volume) of mixed summer berries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250ml (volume) sugar
  • 250ml water

To make the fruit syrup wash the berries and place in a pan with the lemon juice. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain the fruit through a sieve pushing through as much of the pulp as possible. In a clean pan heat equal quantities of sugar and water until it boils. This makes a stock syrup to which you add your flavouring, in this case the wild berry pulp. This basic recipe may need more lemon or sugar depending on the mix of fruit you have collected. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations. If you add less water and sugar you will have a fruit compote, you could freeze the syrup mixture and have a lovely summer granita or sorbet. Have a go and let us know how you get on.

As always be sure of your identification…come on a course if you want to learn more about Wild food and Foraging www.tastethewild/courses

Wild Berry compote with ice cream - Copy

Below are a few photos from our afternoon on Sutton Bank, thank you to Emma for organising the event, everyone had a good time learning, tasting, foraging and watching us make a wild berry syrup, we hope to do more with the National park next year.

‘Create a fifteen minute foodie challenge for 500 people.’

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This was the brief set by Eventuality events for the Boden (the fashion retailer) summer party. We already have a range of corporate events that we run at our own wood based around food, craft, nature and camp skills, www.tastethewild.co.uk/courses-corporate but none of these fitted the bill, so we put our thinking caps on.

The summer party is an outdoor event at which Boden’s staff enjoy an amazing treat filled day out. The 500 guests are divided into 16 teams and have challenges to perform throughout the day, to earn points and eventually win prizes. This year the party venue was the amazingly beautiful Stowe school and grounds in Buckinghamshire.

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We came up with a taste challenge – using techniques pioneered by chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, we created test tubes of crazy coloured liquids varying in taste from Smokey Bacon to Apple pie, Black truffle to Bubblegum.  In a blind tasting the teams had to analyse the tastes and won points for how many they guessed correctly.

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Everyone loved it, even though some of them found the bright purple, blue cheese drink a little challenging!

 

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As part of an all day treasure hunt we also designed a foraging challenge which involved the teams of staff hunting out five edible plants in the ground of the venue using plant identification sheets and GPS units.

Thanks to Alison Tait at http://www.eventualityevents.co.uk for using Taste the Wild for this corporate entertainment day again. It is always great to work with such professional partners.

 

Fantastical food at the Boden summer party!

Boden team challenge

Team Boden enjoying their taste challenge in the shade.

The staff summer party where the ‘Fantastical Food’ looks like one thing but tastes completely different!

The Boden summer party at Knebworth Run by Eventuality events  involved Taste the Wild again for the 3rd year running. As part of the diverse range of activities on offer Taste the Wild designed and ran a taste test challenge where the teams had a party food platter to test their taste buds and score points.

Boden party platter

Fantastical food party platter

Imagine – sausages on sticks that taste of banana and raisin bread, or battenburg cake with smoked paprika, curry and chilli jam!

boden foraging sheets

Foraging guides

Other challenges included a foraging treasure hunt using hand held GPS units to help find five wild edible plants in the beautiful Knebworth parkland.

 

Thanks to eventualityevents.com for using Taste the Wild for this corporate entertainment day. It is always a pleasure to play a part at these amazing events.