Campfire Baba ganoush and a few pictures from our ‘Cooking with fire’ course.

A very simple recipe this week, but one that went down so well on our cooking with fire course on Monday that I had to put it on here. Especially for Steve.

“Just a note to say thank you for a great day on Monday, thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and came away with some great cooking ideas and some useful tips (controlling the direction of smoke from a fire was a hoot).
Food was fantastic and I would ask is there any chance you could send me the recipe (or tell me where to get it) for the Baba Ghanoush – indescribably good.  Thank you once again.”    Steve 

Campfire Baba ganoush

A delicious smokey aubergine dip makes the most of cooking over real flames or hot coals. We used wild garlic leaves as we are at the height of the season, but you could use 3 cloves of garlic instead.  Try it with flat breads as a dip or as part of a middle eastern mezze.

5 aubergines
100g light tahini paste
3 tblsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (maybe more to taste)
10-15 wild garlic leaves very finely chopped

Roast the aubergines directly on the hot coals at the side of the fire until soft and slightly charred (this gives the great smokey taste that is essential for the dish).  Remove from the fire, allow to cool slightly then cut in half and scrape out the flesh into a bowl. Add all the other ingredients to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and mash to a rough paste.  Taste and re-adjust seasoning with salt,pepper and lemon juice if necessary.


We were blessed with glorious weather for the first cooking with fire course of the year and had a great day learning to light and manage a cooking fire and creating dishes using a range of cooking techniques.

  • Elderberry drop scones
  • Spiced spit roast chicken
  • Hot smoked tofu
  • Chappati
  • Baba ganoush
  • Clay baked onions
  • Easter soda bread cooked in a dutch oven
  • Pit roast Trout with fennel and tomato


Hogweed spiced pumpkin tortellini recipe and October Wildfood weekend course photos

We have a NEW  pasta recipe! Once you’ve tried this recipe you will never use another…it’s soooo simple and tastes great. Given to Chris by Italian friend Luisa, this easy pasta is great filled with warming Autumnal vegetables and served with wild herb butter. The recipe is below and some course photos from the excellent wild food weekend held in our wood 4th – 6th October.

Pumpkin and Hogweed spiced Tortellini with Ground Ivy butter sauce – serves 5

  • 5 eggspumpkin and hogweed tortellini
  • 500g pasta flour
  • 600g peeled pumpkin cut in to small dice
  • 200g shallots peeled and chopped small
  • 150g butter diced
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp Hogweed seeds roasted and ground (identification notes below)
  • 25 Ground Ivy leaves approx (identification notes below or you could use a few sage leaves)
  • 1 lemon

Put the flour in to a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and bring the mix together with a spoon. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is smooth then wrap it in cling film and leave in a cool place for ½ an hour. While the pasta is resting fry the shallots and pumpkin in the oil and a knob of butter butter for 5-10 minutes until soft adding the ground Hogweed seeds after about 2 minutes . Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, mashing a little until it has a soft consistency. Set aside to cool.

Pumpkin tortellini stage 1Roll out the pasta in to strips approximately 10cm wide and 1.0mm thick. We use a pasta machine and roll in the pasta on the finest setting but if you don’t have one use a rolling pin. Use plenty of flour to prevent sticking. Now cut the pasta in to 8cm squares and put a heaped teaspoonful of filling into the centre of each. Dampen a strip 1cm wide down the right hand edge and the bottom edge of the pasta square. Pumpkin tortellini stage 2Now take the opposite corner of the square and fold it over pressing the edges of the pasta together to seal, thus forming a triangle. To create the tortellini shape, bring the two furthest corners of the triangle to meet the middle corner and press together to seal.Pumpkin tortellini stage 3

Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the tortellini for 5 minutes. While it is cooking chop the ground Ivy finely.  Heat a heavy bottomed pan on a high heat until very hot, add the rest of the diced butter and watch carefully until it turns a nut brown colour, now quickly add the juice of a lemon to cool the butter and stop it burning, Remove from the heat add the chopped ground ivy and leave to infuse for a minute or two.  When the tortellini is cooked drain it well and pour over the herb butter and season with freshly ground pepper.

 Ground Ivy  Glechoma hederaceaGround Ivy in winter

As the name suggests Ground Ivy creeps along the ground often in the shade of hedges or under trees on sloping banks. It is a perennial and can be found all year round. The leaves are approximately 2 – 3cm across, they are hoof shaped with a scalloped edge. Ground Ivy has a square stem – it is a member of the mint family. It has purple flowers in April when the stems grow more upright. The strong aromatic smell is the most distinctive part of this plant. The smell is similar to sage but with a little rosemary mixed in. If it does not smell like this you have the wrong plant!


Hogweed  Heracleum sphondyliumhogweed 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 cardamom/caraway 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.

Some photographs from our Wild food weekend 4th-6th October.

Thanks and credit goes out to Freddie Milles for some great photos.

Coconut scented sunshine. (Wild Food Weekend Course. 26th-28th April 2013)

The Gorse is flowering so well it seemed a good idea to share my recipes for gorse flavoured desserts. The lovely folk on our wildfood weekend really enjoyed the syrup and crystalised flowers so here for you all are the recipes.

To crystalised gorse flowers

Mix an egg white with a tablespoon of water and paint the flowers with it (or you can mix the flowers with the egg white mix and then spin off the excess in a salad spinner) Toss the flowers in caster sugar and lay them on baking parchment. Dry them in an airing cupboard or similar warm place. When they are completely dry you can store the flowers in an airtight container for 2 -3 weeks.

Gorse Flower syrupgorse

  • ½ ltr water
  • 2 large handfuls of Gorse flowers
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Citric Acid

Put the water, flowers, sugar and citric acid into a pan and bring to the boil stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. When the flowery syrup comes to the boil remove it from the heat and leave, with the lid on, for around 5 minutes for the flavour to develop. Taste the syrup and when the flavour is good strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a sterilised bottle.

Gorse Flower jelly

  • ½ ltr gorse flower syrup (see above)
  • 4 sheets of Gelatine

Put the Gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften for 5 minutes. Bring the gorse flower syrup to a gentle simmer keeping it covered. Remove the gelatine from the water when it is ready and squeeze out any excess liquid. Put it into a clean bowl big enough to hold all the liquid. Pour the syrup onto the gelatine and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to set the jelly.

Gorse Flower Ice cream

  • 200ml MilkGorse flower jelly & Ice cream
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 150g Sugar
  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 2 large handfuls of Gorse flowers
  • A few grains of salt

Put the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Put the milk and flowers in a pan and heat on a medium heat until very nearly 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 pressing the flowers to extract all the flavour. Add the double cream and leave to cool. If you have an ice cream maker, pre-cooled it and churn for 30 minutes or until ready. 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.

Wild food weekend course 26th-28th April 2013.

Here are some of the recipes from this weekends course at Taste the Wild, along with some great photos taken by Caco and Rose.

To Dean, Kate, Sheila, Lee, Laura,Charles,Dave, Louise,Malcolm and Emily, thank you all for coming and happy foraging!

Wild greens soup – serves 4

  • 1 leek chopped
  • 50g  butter
  • 2 x large floury potatoes
  • 1.5ltrs veg stock
  • 350g  wild greens (a mixture of nettles, cleavers, chickweed, bittercress, and wild garlic)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and soften the chopped leeks in it. Peel and chop the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Add the potatoes and cook for 1 minute.  Pour the stock into the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Wash and roughly chop the mixed greens and add to the pan (wear gloves if you are using nettles!) Let the leaves wilt down and soften for 5 minutes or so.  Season well with salt and pepper.

Blitz in a blender until smooth and return to the pan to reheat.

Wild garlic soda bread – serves 6

  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400ml live yoghurt or buttermilk
  • 1 large handful of wild garlic – chopped
  • A little milk to bind (if necessary)

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and wild garlic and bring together to form a dough. Do not knead the dough. Oil a dutch oven if you are cooking on a camp fire or a baking tray if you are using a conventional oven. Form the dough in to a dome and either put it in the dutch oven or on the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes on the camp fire or half and hour in an oven at 180 degrees / gas mark 4

Wood avens bread sauce – serves 6

  • 4 oz (110 g) freshly made white breadcrumbs
  • 1 large onion cut into 4
  • 15 Wood avens roots tied in a bundle
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 pint (570 ml) breakfast milk
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Place the onion, wood avens roots, bay leaf and the peppercorns, in a saucepan together with the milk. Add some salt then bring everything up to boiling point. Take off the heat, cover the pan and leave in a warm place for the milk to infuse for two hours or more.

When you’re ready to make the sauce, remove the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns and keep them on one side. Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk and add 1 oz (25 g) of the butter. Leave the saucepan on a very low heat, stirring now and then, until the crumbs have swollen and thickened the sauce – about 15 minutes. Now replace the onion, wood avens, bay leaf and the peppercorns and again leave the pan in a warm place until the sauce is needed. Just before serving, remove the onion and spices. Reheat gently then beat in the remaining butter and the cream and taste to check the seasoning. Pour into a warm serving jug.

Sorrel drop scones – makes approx 8

  • 110g Self raising flour
  • 25g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 150ml Milk (full fat)
  • 1 handful of Sorrel leaves chopped.

Put the flour and sugar into a bowl and mix.  Make a well in the middle of the mixture and drop in the egg and half the milk.  Mix to a batter. Now mix in the rest of the milk.

Add the sorrel leaves and mix in.

Heat a flat griddle pan or heavy based saucepan until hot and grease with lard. Drop dessert spoonfuls of the batter onto the pan leaving room for them to spread.

Cook until bubbles rise to the top and then flip over and cook for approx. 1 minute more. Remove to a cooling rack and cover.

 Nettle and Wensleydale pesto – makes approx 200ml

  • 50g (1 large handful) of blanched nettle tops
  • 25g hazelnuts
  • 25g Wensleydale cheese grated
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper.

Put the nettles, cheese and pine nuts in a blender and blitz to a paste.

Slowly add olive oil to this paste in the blender until it has a thick sauce like consistency.

Season to taste.

Spruce toffee brittle (Pine Dime) – makes 100g/3 bars

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g butter, cut in to cubes
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 desert spoonful pine or spruce essence

You will also need a silicone baking sheet or waxed paper and a temperature probe.

Heat the caster sugar and salt over a medium heat stirring very gently until it becomes caramel. Take it off the heat and add the butter. Stir quickly with a whisk, it will bubble and foam. Keep stirring and return to a low heat, put the temperature probe in to the pan and heat to 136 degrees c. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute until the temperature lowers to 120 degrees c. Now add the essence stir well and pour the toffee out on to the silicone sheet. You can mark out squares if you want to break up the toffee evenly or leave it and break in to random pieces when it is cold. Store in an airtight container.

Nettle soda bread

Nettle Soda bread

  • 500g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400ml live yoghurt or buttermilk
  • 2 large handfuls of nettles (blanched, drained and chopped)

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and nettles and bring together to form a dough. Do not knead the dough. Oil a dutch oven if you are cooking on a camp fire or a baking tray if you are using a conventional oven. Form the dough in to a dome and  either put it in the dutch oven or on the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes on the camp fire or half and hour in an oven at 180 degrees / gas mark 4

If you want to make herb soda bread omit the nettles, add herbs of your choice, and a little milk to bind.

Nicola and Ian.JPG

Rose petal icecream

If you love Turkish Delight and you love Ice cream, you’ve got to try this.

Rose petal ice cream.jpg

Rose petal Ice cream

  • 2 handfuls of well scented rose petals (I used Rosa rugosa, the Japanese rose)
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 250ml double cream

Make sure the rose petals are free from bugs, chop them a little and put them into a pan. Pour on the milk and vanilla extract, stir and put the lid on the pan. Heat gently, do not boil. While the rose flavour is infusing into the milk prepare the eggs and sugar. Put the sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the egg yolks and beat until well blended. Check the milk and rose infusion and stir occasionally. Keeping the lid on the pan will stop the precious rose fragrance from evaporating. When the milk is very close to boiling pour it through a sieve onto the egg and sugar mix, whisk it quickly to combine the ingredients. Squeeze the last of the milk from the petals into the mix and put the petals on one side. Now add the cream and stir. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge. If you have an ice cream maker churn the chilled mixture for half and hour. If you want to have little pieces of rose petal in your ice cream chop the squeezed out petals finely and add them to the ice cream just before the end of the freezing process. You can make the ice cream without an ice cream maker by freezing the liquid ice cream in a freezer proof box for 1 hour then whisking it. Continue freezing and whisking the mix hourly until you are happy with the consistency. As before, add the chopped rose petals just before the ice cream is frozen if you want the texture and colour.