Wild herb and ricotta pithivier

Rose wanted me to call this a pasty, she thought I was being pretentious but I’m sticking to my guns because I think they are a little more refined than a true pasty.  Of course you could make them much bigger if you wanted to use them for a lunch dish or a picnic but these are perfect for a starter size with nice dressed salad.

I had a walk along the riverbank yesterday morning and collected some lovely young wild greens/herbs. I just needed a few handfuls and fifteen minutes of foraging gave me a lovely selection of Ground elder, Stinging nettles, Common sorrel and Cleavers.

Common Sorrel rumex acetosa

Common sorrel

A perennial plant that grows to 80cm tall when flowering. Outside its flowering season common sorrel has oval dark green leaves up to 12cm long and 4cm wide. The leaves have two pointed lobes that stick back from the leaf stem. The flowers grow on stems up to 80cm tall and are like little red and green beads. The leaves on the flowering stalks are smaller and more pointed than those that grow from the ground. They clasp around the stem.

 

Cleavers galium aparine

Cleavers 2One of the first plants to emerge in spring. This annual plant has a distinctive growth pattern where rings of narrow slightly bristly leaves are borne at regular intervals along the slightly bristly stem. The plants leaves are up to 3cm long. It will generally climb up the plants near it, managing to grow through hedges up to 1.5m. The tiny greenish white flowers open in summer to be followed by little hard ball seeds that stick to your socks.

 

Ground elder  Aegopodium podagraria

ground elderA perennial plant that can spread to form dense patches. The leaves grow to approximately 30cm tall, the flowering stalks to 70cm. The leaves grow straight out of the ground in early spring. They have a grooved stalk which divides into 3 and each of these 3 stalks has 3 leaves on it. These oval leaves have a serrated edge and a pointed end. There are also smaller leaves with fewer leaflets. In early summer the plant sends up a grooved flowering stem. This branches and has umbrellas of white flowers (sometimes pinkish) which smell a bit like celery and aniseed.

 

Wild herb and ricotta pithivier  Makes 6

IMG_3119[1]

Ingredients

500g pack of puff pastry
250g Ricotta cheese
30g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 large leaves of wild garlic
3 Handfuls of wild greens
Salt and pepper
1 egg,  beaten for egg washing

Method

Wash the wild greens very well, blanch them in boiling water for 20 seconds and refresh in very cold water.  Once completely cold, squeeze out as much water as possible from the greens and blend to a paste with the olive oil and Wild garlic in a pestle and mortar or stick blender.

In a bowl, stir together the Ricotta, Parmesan and herb paste until you have a nice even mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set this filling aside and prepare a well floured surface to roll out your pastry. Divide the pastry into two and roll each piece out to about a 2mm thickness, you really need to get the pastry this thin as it will overwhelm the flavours of the filling if it is too thick. Out of one sheet cut out six circles 11cm in diameter put onto baking parchment and set aside. Now cut six 12cm circles from the second sheet, these will form the tops of the pithivier and need to be this slightly bigger size to accommodate the filling.

Lay out the bases (smaller circle) and divide the filling between the discs making sure you leave enough pastry around the edge to seal it, about 1cm should be good. Egg wash this outside ring of pastry and place a larger pastry circle on top , push down the sides and seal the egg washed edges You can then use a larger circular cutter to trim the sealed parcels into a perfect circle if you wish.  I then use a fork to seal the edges further by pressing the tines all around the edge where I have sealed it with my fingers.   Repeat for the other pastry discs. Use a knife to make two holes in the top of of each sealed parcel.

Egg wash the pithivier, place on a lined baking sheet (or two) and bake at 180 centigrade for 20 minutes until golden and puffed up. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving with a dressed salad.

 

It’s Spring and things have started to get exciting in the woods and the kitchen too!……………….. Wild garlic gnocchi with slow cooked venison ragu.

Sorry we have been quiet for this winter, but we are back in foraging/cooking mode and will be posting lot’s of new recipes.

The Wild garlic season comes to us a little later in Yorkshire, my southern friends have been harvesting for what seems like almost a month, but it has arrived and what a treat it is to have it back in the kitchen.

This recipe was my dinner last night.  A simple, warming dish (it might be Spring but its still a bit chilly) that is easy to make and tastes great.  I love gnocchi, they are extremely satisfying to both make and eat and when flavoured with something like wild garlic they only need the simplest of sauces.  However!  I had a real treat as our butchery tutors Colin and Alan had given me some beautiful venison and I used it to make a lovely slow cooked ragu.

I really enjoyed this hearty supper I hope you do too.

If you have not picked wild garlic before here are some identification notes. Remember!  Do not anything unless you are 100% positive of your identification. With Wild garlic trust your nose, if it doesn’t smell of garlic don’t eat it.

Wild Garlic   Allium ursinum

wild garlic flw

A hairless perennial that forms large patches. The leaves emerge in early spring growing to 30cm long. They are smooth, oval and pointed and come straight out of the ground on a short leaf stalk. Crush part of a leaf – it smells of Garlic. The flowers follow in April/May and are like little umbrellas of white stars held above the leaves on stalks about 30cm tall. These turn into seeds after a few weeks and what was white stars is now green balls. The whole plant dies back in late spring not to be seen again until the following year.

Wild Garlic Gnocchi with slow cooked Venison ragu.  Serves 2 greedy people

For the Gnocchi
1kg Floury potatoes.
350g Plain flour.
2 eggs beaten.
1 large handful of wild garlic leaves finely chopped.
large pinch of salt.

For the venison ragu
500g Venison
1 Carrots finely chopped
2 Onions finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic minced
A little flour
Olive oil
2 Tablespoons tomato puree
3 sprigs of Thyme
1 sprig of Rosemary
1 Teaspoon of Juniper berries
500ml dark meat stock (beef or venison).  Maybe a little extra.

First get the ragu on the go as it needs long slow cooking.

Cut the meat into 3cm cubes and dust in seasoned flour. Put a little olive oil a heavy based casserole over a fairly high heat and brown the meat in batches. Set the browned meat aside. In the same pan lightly fry the carrot, onion and garlic until soft. Now return the meat and any resting juices to the pan and add the Tomato puree, Thyme, Rosemary, Juniper and stock. When you have added the stock scrape around the bottom of the casserole to release any of the sticky bits from frying the meat and veg. Cover the casserole and place in the oven at 180 degrees for at least 2 hours top up with extra stock if it looks like it is getting too thick. Serve immediately or cool and chill until required

To make the Gnocchi

Take the potatoes and prick them all over with a fork, put them into the oven with the casserole and bake for approximately 1 hour or until cooked through.  Once the potatoes are baked remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly before scooping out the fluffy insides into a large bowl. Add the flour and eggs to the bowl along with the wild garlic and season well. work the mixture into a thick dough with your hands. Just bring the mixture together do not knead as this will make your gnocchi tough.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll 1 piece into a long sausage about 2 cm thick. Once you have your sausage, use a large knife to cut it into 2cm slices they should look like little pillows.  Put these formed gnocchi onto a lightly floured baking sheet until required. Repeat with the other three pieces of dough

When you are ready to finish off the dish heat your ragu until it is piping hot. Bring a very large pan of salted water to the boil and drop in your gnocchi, cook until they rise to the top of the water and remove with a slotted spoon.  If you don’t have a big pan cook them in batches.

Serve warm with venison ragu or the sauce of your choice. I finished the plate off with a grating of parmesan.IMG_3035

 

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.

 

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

Ground ivy and sea salt focaccia plus some photographs of recent courses

We made this delicious bread on our Back to basics bread course last week and it was a great success.  The Ground ivy stands in for the classic Rosemary very well and has the same level of punchy flavour.

Thanks to Tom for delivering another inspirational course and to everyone who came on the day.

A couple of days before that we had a lovely day foraging in the woods on our One day foraging course.  May is such a great time to forage and we found over 30 different wild edibles on the day, as well finding time to make a few Yorkshire pesto pizza bianca to go with lunch.

ground ivy 3

Ground ivy and sea salt focaccia
For the dough
500g strong white flour
7g instant yeast sachet
1 tsp salt
oil, for greasing
For the topping
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for after baking
3 stems of Ground ivy chopped finely
1 tsp sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

 
Method
Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and add up to 350ml lukewarm water, until you have a soft dough.
Knead for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, place into a lined and slightly warmed baking tray of 37 x 27cm. Drizzle with olive oil and top with Ground ivy and sea salt and a little pepper.
Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples and then rest again for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 240C/450F
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until evenly golden-brown. Check the
focaccia from time to time to make sure the bread is cooking evenly, move the tray accordingly.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and immediately drizzle some
olive oil all over. Leave to cool, then cut into squares.

 

 

Wild chicken pie!!!

 What a find, three different summer fungi in as many days: Chicken of the woods, Dryads saddle, and St chicken of the woodsGeorge’s mushrooms. We are really lucky to have found them all, and in perfect condition to eat. Below is a recipe using all three, I’ve called it wild chicken pie because the chicken of the woods fungi has a flavour and texture similar to chicken breast. There are also very nice photos from our wild food foraging day course on Saturday 18th May 2013 …we braved the rain!

The warm weather we had a couple of weeks ago has been followed by recent cold nights and rain, this has brought out the fungi. Chicken of the woods or Sulphur polypore is a bracket fungi which usually grows on rotting oak stumps. It can also be found on living trees including oak, chestnut and beech. It is easy to identify by its tiered golden brackets, the underneath of which are sulphur yellow. Although Chicken of the woods is commonly eaten a small minority of people do experience nausea and dizziness after eating it so we advise you to be cautious.

summer fungi and wild garlicThe Dryad’s Saddle often grows on large logs and the stumps of broadleaf trees, particularly sycamore, horse chestnut, beech and ash. The story goes that Dryad’s are little woodland elves and this fungus is the one they use to saddle their mythical horses. This bracket fungus can only be eaten when it is young and soft, by the time it is large and flat it not only looks like a saddle it has the same texture! Look up this fungi in a book you should find it an easy one to identify. With distinctive brown scales on a light brown upper side and creamy white pores underneath.

St George’s mushroom is named after St George’s day when it is meant to be found. Although these mushrooms are usually a week or two after the event they are really quite late this year. It grows in grass often on calcareous soil. It has densely packed white gills under a creamy cap, the stem is also white and it does not have a ring. I could go into great detail but if you are a novice then you should really learn more about fungi before risking a positive identification. There is a similar poisonous mushroom with a brown spore print. The spore print for St George’s mushroom is white.

The fungi courses at our own wood are all full, but we are looking at more locations. We will announce new fungi course dates through our facebook site but if you prefer please email us at info@tastethewild.co.uk and will let you know when new courses are available.

Wild chicken pie – serves 4

  • 1 small onion, skinned and chopped small
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g wild garlic, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • 275g Chicken of the woods, torn into strips
  • 175g Dryads saddle, sliced into bite size pieces
  • 100g St Georges mushrooms, halved and sliced
  • 250ml double cream
  • 100-200ml milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g readymade puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Saute the onion in a good knob of butter for 2-3 minutes until soft but not coloured, add the chopped wild garlic stalks to the pan, cook for another minute then set aside. Now fry each of the wild mushroom types separately in butter with a little oil added (this stops the butter from burning) You need to fry on a high heat to seal the mushroom pieces and get a little colour on to them. They will take about 3-4 minutes for each type and probably use up all the butter in your ingredients list!

Don’t be tempted to put them all in together as cooking times may vary.fungi and garlic in pan

Now put the fried onion and garlic and all the mushrooms back into the pan, add the cream, half of the milk, the chopped wild garlic leaves and salt and pepper to taste, stir well and cook for a couple of minutes. Add more milk and seasoning if necessary to achieve a nice consistency and flavour to the sauce. Pour in to a suitable pie dish and leave to cool.

Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees C – gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board to 5cm larger all the way round than your pie dish. Cut a strip from the outside edge of the pastry, moisten the rim of the pie dish and stick the strip to the rim. Moisten the pastry on the rim and then lay the remaining pastry over the whole pie to form the lid. Trim off any excess and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked. Serve hot with steamed vegetables.

'wild chicken pie'

wild food foraging day course on Saturday 18th May 2013

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.