Wild mushroom tart, a surprise dinner.

I ran a private fungi course in a friends wood on Sunday and we had a fantastic morning exploring the wide range of mushrooms growing there. As well as the biggest group of the deadly Death cap (amanita phalloides) I have ever seen, we also had huge array of delicious edible varieties.

  • Pied de mouton
  • Brown birch bolete
  • Bay bolete
  • Bulbous honey fungus
  • Ochre brittlegill
  • Deer shield
  • Purple brittlegill
  • Shaggy inkcap
  • The flirt
  • Amethyst deciever
  • The deciever

We returned with our laden basket only for me to find out that everyone on the course was heading to L’enclume for dinner and couldn’t take any of the mushrooms home with them.

All for me! What a treat!  But what to cook?

With beautiful mushrooms and not a lot of time on my hands decided on this tasty puff pastry tart, and it went down a treat.

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Easy Mushroom tart

Ingredientsimg_9877
85 g Breadcrumbs
100g Cheddar finely grated
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
2 cloves Garlic minced
200g Mixed mushrooms sliced
150g Puff pastry  (bought or homemade)
a little milk for glazing
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

Put a large saucepan over a high heat and add a large glug of olive oil. Fry the mushrooms at a high heat, if you only have a small pan then do it in batches so you can evaporate the any moisture quickly and get a little caramelisation on the mushrooms. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Whilst the mushrooms are cooling, roll out the pastry  to an oblong shape about 3mm thick.  Put the pastry onto a greased baking sheet, take a small knife and score a line around the pastry sheet 2cm from the edge.

Add the breadcrumbs, garlic and thyme to the cooled mushrooms and mix well.  Season the mixture with salt and black pepper then pile it onto the centre of the pastry base, keeping inside your scored line.  Sprinkle the cheese on top, glaze the pastry edges with milk and bake in the centre of the oven at 170 degrees C for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

I served this hot with a winter vegetable slaw, but it would be great cold too.

Making natural skin and hair care products

We have spent a lot of years looking in to the culinary uses of wild plants and along the way have discovered that they also have some fantastic therapeutic benefits. Many of our everyday wild plants have amazing ways to help our skin and hair.

hair and skin care

Rose has designed a great new course to teach about some of these exciting plant uses. Come along and learn to make natural skin and hair products at home, for yourself and for others!

The beauty of this course is that you can choose the wild ingredients that are perfect for your own hair and skin. For example some strengthen hair, some encourage it to grow, there are plants for reducing wrinkles and some that help with eczema.

Course itinerary

  • Introduction to the benefits of using wild plants in skin and hair care.
  • Demonstration on making infused oils
  • Hands-on session making shampoo for your own hair type.
  • Demo, then everyone makes a bath bomb
  • All make bath salts
  • Tea, coffee and biscuits
  • Demonstration on making lip balm
  • Hands on session making lip balm and herb salve
  • Talk about emulsifying and demonstration of making cream
  • Q & A

Herbal hair and skin care is extremely personal and this course gives you the chance to make products for your own needs. You will receive hands-on experience in making, natural skin and hair care products along with an introduction to the raw materials used. No previous knowledge or experience needed.

The course runs from 10.00am until 1.00pm on Tuesday 22nd November, at Pilmoor Grange, close to our wood in North Yorkshire. We will be in a beautiful stone and oak barn and there will be heaters but it would be advisable to wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes and to bring an apron. Course materials, herbal plant guide sheets and recipe sheets are provided for each student as well as tea, coffee and biscuits. Full directions are given when you book. Places are limited to 8 people.  £60.00 per person.

Of course you’ll take home all of the products that you make:

  • Herbal shampoo
  • Bath bomb
  • Bath salts
  • Lip balm
  • Herbal salve

To book visit our website here www.tastethewild.co.uk/courses-extracourses.html

Wild food cookery course

We have had many requests for an ‘in depth’ wild food cookery course, so here it is!

We have designed this day to give you real taste of seasonal wild ingredients and during the day Chris will teach you, as if in your own kitchen, how to cook great dishes that will bring new  flavours to your table.

The venue for the course is The Yorkshire Wolds cookery school, near Driffield, which gives us all the facilities we need for a fabulous day of cooking and eating.

The use of the cookery school allows us to explore some more refined recipes that we would find hard to do over an open fire in the woods. Chris has created dishes that make the most of autumn’s bounty and also teach you some great core cookery skills like game preparation, curing and preserving as well as the processing of interesting wild ingredients like Burdock and acorns.

cured venison

The day will be a mixture of demonstrations from Chris and plenty of hands on cooking sessions in the schools beautiful teaching kitchen.  Lunch will be cooked as part of the course and you will also take away a goody bag and a comprehensive set of recipes for all the dishes.

Planned menu

A terrine of rabbit, black pudding and cobnut with apple and hawthorn.

Cured venison loin, elderberry ketchup, pickled berries and smoked oil.

Roast partridge, hogweed spiced squash, and burdock chips

Acorn panna cotta

Skills covered on the day

Jointing a rabbit.
Terrine making.
Simple curing.
Ketchup making.
Preparing and roasting game birds.
Preparing and cooking with burdock.
Preparing and processing acorns.
Making panna cotta.

To book the course go to our main website here www.tastethewild.co.uk/courses-extracourses.html 

Accommodation is available at the Yorkshire Wolds cookery school and this can be booked directly with Highfield farm. http://highfieldfarm.co.uk/bed-breakfast .

Rhubarb, Gorse Flower and Mascarpone Cake

3 Rhubarb and Gorse flower cake

If you’ve never tasted Gorse flowers and you see some, pick a couple of handfuls and celebrate Spring with this fabulous cake

This is a Victoria sponge made extra special by the addition of fruit, flowers and cream cheese. A decadent indulgence for a special occasion. Gorse flowers have a fragrant, almost tropical taste that really complements the acidity of rhubarb.

      Cake

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g softened butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Filling

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 250g softened butter
  • 280g cream cheese
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g icing sugar

Decoration

  • 2 hand-fulls of Gorse flowers
  • 1 egg white
  • Caster sugar

First wash the Gorse flowers if necessary, gently pat dry and lay them out on a tray so that any insects fly away.

2 Rhubarb and Gorse flowers

Then start making the cake. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C, then grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins. Sieve the flour in to a bowl with the salt and mix together. In a separate bowl or food mixer beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy (about 5 mins). Beat in the eggs one at a time adding a tablespoon of flour with each egg. Add the rest of the flour and vanilla extract and fold in with a metal spoon. Add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff then divide it between the tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until springy on top. Leave to cool in the tins.

Wash and cut the rhubarb in to 5cm lengths. Put it in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water, 100g sugar and 15g butter. Heat very gently to poach the rhubarb, carefully turning it occasionally, after about 20 minutes it will be tender. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool and drain. Save the poaching syrup to serve with the cake.

To crystalize the Gorse flowers, first prepare 2 drying trays by laying greaseproof paper on to baking sheets and pour some caster sugar in to shallow dish. Now put the egg white and a teaspoon full of water in to a bowl, mix with a fork to loosen then add the flowers. Mix well in the egg white, then remove the flowers squeezing well to remove excess egg. Coat the flowers as thoroughly as possible in caster sugar then lay them out on the drying trays. Dry the flowers in the oven on the coolest setting or in another warm airy place. They take around 2 hours in the oven. When you think they are dry squeeze one to check that is not moist in the middle. When dry store in an air tight container.

1 Crystalizing Gorse flowers

To decorate the cake

Beat the softened butter then add the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract   mix well then the sieved icing sugar and mix again. This filling will go inside the cake and coat the sides and top. Assemble the cake spreading some filling inside and half the rhubarb. Then coat the sides and top with the remaining mix and top with rhubarb. Blitz up most of the Gorse flowers in a spice grinder or food processor (saving some for decoration) Just before serving sprinkle the Gorse powder on the top and sides of the cake and put the whole flowers on the top.

 

Evergreen Ice Cream

We served this to a friend last week and he said it was the best ice cream he had ever tasted! So here is the recipe.

This recipe requires you to make a tincture of Pine needles 24 hours before you make the Ice Cream. It’s very simple to do with Pine, Spruce or Fir tree needles.  

Pine Needle Tincture

  • 3 tablespoons of washed and finely chopped Pine needles
  • 30ml Vodka
  • ¼ teaspoonful of sugar
pine tincture

There has been no colour enhancement here. It really does turn this green!!

Dry the pine needles on a piece of kitchen roll, chop very finely and put them in to a small jar. Add the vodka and sugar, put on the lid and give it a good shake. Leave for 24 hours shaking it every few hours. When you are ready to use it strain through a tea strainer into a small clean cup or jug.

 

Pine Chocolate Chip Ice CreamPine Choc Chip ice cream

  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • A few grains of salt
  • 200ml Milk
  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 2tbsp/30ml Pine Needle Tincture
  • 100g Dark Chocolate Chips
  • A couple of drops of green food colouring (optional)

Put the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Put the milk in a pan and heat gently until very hot but not boiling. Then pour immediately onto the egg and sugar mixture stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the double cream and Pine needle Tincture then leave to cool. If you have an ice cream maker pre-cool it, add the Ice cream mixture and churn for 30 minutes or until nearly ready, add the Chocolate chips and churn for another few minutes. Then put it in a sandwich box and store in the freezer. If you do not have an ice cream maker put the mixture in a freezer proof box and freeze until nearly set, then stir vigorously. Repeat this until the mix becomes ice cream again adding the Chocolate Chips when nearly set.

I made some little tuile biscuits to go with the Ice Cream. (recipe below) The orange in them complimented the pine and chocolate nicely. A pine syrup would be good as well… Let us know if you come up with other good combinations.

Gluten Free Almond and Orange Tuiles

  • 50g Ground Almonds
  • 30g Potato flour (or plain flour)
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 70g butter melted
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange or lemon zest

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with baking parchment.In a bowl mix together ground almonds, potato flour, sugar and salt then whisk in the egg whites, butter, zest, and vanilla extract until combined well. Drop rounded teaspoons or batter about 10cm apart onto baking sheet and with back of a spoon spread into 7cm ovals. Try to keep these distances – if you let the tuiles get too close, they’ll morph into one giant slab. This is fine, but it won’t look as nice when cut into squares. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden on the edges.

Working quickly, remove the tuiles, from the baking sheet with a thin spatula and rest over a rolling pin to make then curl. If you want flat tuiles transfer them straight on to a cooling rack.

Continue until the remaining batter is used up. You can re-use the baking parchment until it becomes damp and wobbly, then replace. When the tuiles are completely cool store in an airtight container. They can be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container.

Bilberry mousse, Meadowsweet crumb and Heather flowers.

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It has been such a busy summer so far and we have been having a great time running our foraging and cooking courses and meeting some incredible people from around the country. With all this outdoor activity going on I have been neglecting both my cooking and blogging duties.   Sorry….

It was my birthday last week and Rose and I spent the morning on the moors picking our favourite berry… the Bilberry.
Despite Bilberry pie being, in my opinion anyway, the best fruit pie in the world! I thought that as I had a bit of free time I should come up with something a bit different to do with our beautiful blue bounty. I have paired up the delicious berries with a couple of choice Summer flower flavours and a bit of crunch.

Hope you like it!

Bilberry mousse, Meadowsweet crumb and Heather flowers.

Serves 2 (quite generously)

For the mousse.
50g Bilberries. Plus a few more to decorate.
50g Caster sugar.
2 leaves of Gelatin
1/2 pint Double cream.
1 tsp Heather flowers.

For the crumb.
50g Doves farm gluten free plain flour  (or plain flour)
30g Butter.
2 tsp Caster sugar.
1 tsp Ground flax seed (optional, but does give a great nutiness and earthyness that works well with the sweet berries).
1 level tsp Dried Meadowsweet flowers pulled off the stems and crumbled..

To make the mousse. Put the berries and sugar in a the cup of a stick blender and blend to a loose puree. Soak the gelatin sheets as per the packet instructions. Scrape the puree into a small pan and put over a low heat to warm through, stirring constantly. When the sugar has all dissolved in the berry mix, squeeze all the water from the soaking gelatin and add to the warm pan. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved and set aside. Whip the cream to very soft peaks and then fold in the berry mix until you have a good even consistency with no lumps of cream. Pour/scrape this mixture into a shallow dish and put into the fridge for 1 hour to set.

While the mousse is setting make the crumb.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
Put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and ground flax seed and mix well. Grease a baking tin and spread the crumb out on it. Bake for 10 mins then remove from the oven and stir the crumbs around, return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, then stir again. Do this once more and after 20-25 mins the crumble will be pale golden and ready. Leave to cool completely then add the Meadowsweet flowers. You could scale this up and make a whole jar full of the crumb as it stores well and can be used with all sorts of Summer fruit.

To serve, spoon the mousse onto a bed of the crumb, add some fresh berries and a sprinkling of heather flowers.

***

Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

bilberries

A woody little shrub 20-50cm tall, the mid green leaves are 1-3cm long and are a pointed oval shape. They have very tiny serrations around the edge and have reddish tints towards the end of summer. The greenish pink bell shaped flowers open in early summer, to be followed by green berries. These ripen through red to a purplish black. By late summer they are about 8mm across, blue/black and often with a grey bloom. The flat top of the berry has a raised circle around it with a dot in the middle.
Look for these on acid moorland and heathland, often with Heather.

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria

meadowsweet flower1

A perennial plant up to 1.2m tall. The leaf is made up of several pairs of dark green leaflets that have sharply toothed edges. At the end of the leaf rib three are fused together. Along the leaf there are also very tiny leaflets in opposite pairs. The leaves are coarse textured, slightly shiny on top and pale underneath. Leaf ribs and flowering stems are often coloured reddish. The flower is actually a mass of creamy coloured tiny flowers they usually reach about 1m tall, they have a distinctive scent which smells like honey and almond if mild or, if strong, like antiseptic!
Flowering time June – September.

Heather Calluna vulgaris

heather

A native small shrub that grows up to 60cm tall. It has very woody old stems that are dark brown in colour. The old wood branches into lots of softer top growth. The leaves are hard and tiny, they grow along small branches giving the impression of green twigs. Pinky purple flowers open along the top section of the stems in late summer.

Wild herb Dukkah

I have never been keen on dipping bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Of course if you are fortunate enough to have some terrifically good oil or deliciously aged balsamic it makes sense, but more often than not the condiments in my cupboard are not top notch.

If you want to create a dipping experience that makes up for the imperfections of your oil,here is a perfect solution.

Dukkah.  A crunchy mix of herbs, seeds and nuts that makes dipping delicious again.  The original recipe is from Egypt, its name coming from the word ‘to crush ‘ or ‘to pound’ and that describes its preparation perfectly.

This simple version uses three ingredients we regularly forage for and preserve. Nettle, Wild garlic and Sumac.  For this recipe they are all used in their dried form.

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Wild herb Dukkah

Ingredients

 2 tablespoons Golden linseed
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 heaped tablespoon dried nettle powder
1 heaped tablespoon dried garlic powder
1 Teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 Teaspoon Sumac (foraged or bought) For foraging tips see this related article.
Black pepper to taste.

Toast the seeds gently in a hot pan. Once toasted golden brown, set aside to cool. Once cool add the rest of the ingredients, put into a pestle and mortar or food processor and grind to a rough granular texture.  Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with bread and good olive oil.

Dip your bread in the oil, then the Dukkah to create a delicious, crunchy aromatic crust.

 

Wild Garlic or nettle powder
(Nettle powder is made in the same way using just the top 4 sets of leaves from each plant.  Leave the stems on until after drying and remove before crushing leaves to a powder)

For this preserve you need a large carrier bag full of leaves.

Wash and dry the leaves and chop off the stems (you can use these in a stir fry or similar). Now lay the leaves on the shelves of the oven with a large baking tray on the bottom to catch any bits. Put the oven on at a low heat 50-80 degrees C with the door open a crack. In our fan oven the leaves dry in about an hour. Periodically check the leaves and move them around if there are wet and dry patches. Once the leaves are bone dry put them in a pestle and mortar or a food processor with a sprinkling of sea salt flakes. Grind or blitz them until you have a rough powder and then store it in an airtight container. This powder is incredibly versatile and  is a perfect way to have delicious wild garlic flavour all year round.