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 .

Courses in Aquaponics

Picture1.pngAlthough the Wild Food Aquagarden will produce delicious food for us to supply to local people and businesses, we are setting it up so that we can use it as a teaching facility as well. We want to teach about Aquaponic growing, we have been inspired by what we’ve learnt and want to spread the word. Our core business has always been teaching, our customers are intelligent, environmentally aware people who love nature, food and doing things …

People say “what can we do now… we’ve done foraging, coastal, fungi, what else can we do?”

Well join us in The Wild Food Aquagarden!

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

We have set up a small Aquagarden at home in our kitchen and this has taught is lot, when we have set up the Wild Food Aquagarden we will  run courses to teach at a day course level. Advanced courses will be run by The Aquaponics lab at our site and hosted by us. We want to inspire people and teach them how to set up their own Aquaponic garden. Whether it’s in a garage or a basement, or it’s a large enterprise or a little fish tank, the principle is the same.Picture7

The day course in Aquaponic growing will explain how the system works and how to set it up, where the components can be purchased, how the monitoring works, when and what to plant and how to keep your fish happy and healthy. This kind of gardening is easy and clean once the system set up, it’s undercover so there’s no wind and rain, and no bending down because the grow beds are at waist height. On the course we will look at possible problems that people could encounter and how to sort them out.

Aquaponic gardening can produce delicious food in a small space using very little power, whether you’re growing wild or cultivated plants. We think it is time the world looked at food production and the environment together, hopefully with your support we can do our little bit. Please have a look at the rewards and see if there is a way you can join with us to create our goal. Thank you.Picture2

 

 

 

Sweet pickled wild vegetables.

We served this last weekend with smoked beetroot, curd cheese and potato bread.
It makes a delicious light lunch served like this but it would be equally good with a succulent piece of fish.

Great flavours and colours.

Give it a go.

Vegy weekend May 15 022

Sweet pickled wild vegetables

For the pickling liquor
Cider vinegar (I like Aspall’s organic)
sugar
water

To make the liquor warm 1 part vinegar, 2 parts sugar and 3 parts water in a pan until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring all the time.  Once you have a clear liquid set it aside to cool a bit.

For the vegetables

Most recently we used a mix of Thistle stems, Ground Elder leaf stems and Hogweed buds (plus a few ‘un wild’ sliced radishes).

Blanch the veg (apart from the radish) in boiling water for 40 seconds then immediately refresh in very cold water. Once cool, drain thoroughly.

About 1 hour before serving, put the veg into a bowl and pour over the pickling liquor.

Allow to marinate and serve.

Vegetarian weekend May 15 027

Smoked beetroot, sweet pickled wild veg, curd cheese, vetch shoot and sorrel salad with potato bread.

 

 

Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium

hogweed

 
This biennial/perennial plant flowers from June to August, it can reach 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 stalk. 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 encased in a papery wrapper and open in to an umbrella of grey white flowers approx 10-20cm across.

Ground Elder Aegopodium podagraria

ground elder

A 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.

 

There are few photos below from our Vegetarian wildfood weekend. Next date for this course has just been released.

 

 

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

 

Raise a glass to this year’s fabulous hedgerow harvest

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The participants on last Saturday’s One day foraging course enjoying Hedgerow Vodka. Click this link for the recipe

……………… and see below some photos from the day.

Potted Morecambe bay shrimp and marsh samphire risotto

 

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We have just had terrific week teaching on the south lakes peninsula in Cumbria.  On the journey over I was thinking about how to use some of the fantastic wild produce available to us at this time of year as well as one of my favourite things, potted Morecambe bay shrimps.  I thought that it would be a good bet that we would find samphire on the salt marsh and you can guarantee to find somebody potting shrimps in Flookburgh so I started to think of possibilities for these two great ingredients.

The next evening, after a great afternoon on the salt marsh looking at a host of beautifully crunchy and succulent wild veg and a few hours out on the sands with fisherman Steve Manning, we arrived back at the kitchen with set of ingredients to make any cook happy!  As I thought, the newly filled store cupboard did include marsh samphire and potted shrimps so I decided to combine them in a risotto as a starter for dinner.

The result went down very well with our guests so I thought I would share it here.

Potted Morecambe bay shrimp and marsh samphire risotto.    Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g risotto rice
  • 1 White onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • 1 glass of White wine
  • 1 litre Water (approx.)
  • 60g Potted shrimp
  • 60g Marsh samphire chopped into rice length pieces.
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

On a low heat sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft but not coloured. While this is cooking heat the water in a separate pan. Add the rice to the onion and garlic and stir. Once the rice is completely coated with oil, add the white wine and stir until the liquid has almost been absorbed. Now gradually add the hot water a ladle at a time, stirring until each ladleful is absorbed. After about 15 minutes, check the rice is cooked and not chalky. The rice might not need all the water.

Now add the shrimps, the butter from their pots  and the samphire and mix very well. You should have a slightly oozing consistency not solid, if it is too thick at a little more water. Have a taste at this point and season with salt and pepper.

Now put the lid on the pan and let the risotto rest for a couple of minutes before serving.  You could finish the dish with a drizzle of good olive oil if you wish.

shrimp amd samphire risotto

***

Marsh Samphire 

???????????????????????????????This plant is an annual, growing to a maximum of about 20cm by mid summer and then dying in autumn with the first frosts. It is an unusual plant the stalks are fleshy and are made up of segments. There are no leaves in the usual sense but stalky branches that come out from the main stem, making the plant look almost cactus like. The colour is quite a bright green and with a shiny texture.

When you are collecting samphire always use scissors and snip off the top of the plant as it is easy to uproot the whole plant if you just pull at it.

 

Here are a few more photographs from our Foraging courses in Flookburgh last week.

Wild Herbs for First Aid and Healing.

Our first course with herbalist Sarah Hughes was a great day…there was even a real wound to dress!!

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Gillian didn’t hurt herself on the course but was eager to have her grazed knee looked at by our course tutor, medical herbalist Sarah Hughes.

The plant Sarah recommended for a healing poultice was Ribwort Plantain. It has the ability to draw out dirt or sand impurities and effectively clean the wound. Ribwort Plantain also has antiseptic properties which kills germs and create a clean environment for the wound to heal.

mashed up Ribwort PlantainRibwort Plantain Poultice
To make the poultice collect up a good handful of leaves, wash and dry, then chop well. Grind up in a pestle and mortar, then put the resulting green paste onto a gauze pad. Carefully place this poultice on to the wound then tie the dressing pad on with a bandage. Cover the whole dressing with cling film. Replace the dressing every 6 hours for 24 hours and then leave to heal in the open air. If the wound becomes inflamed or red see a doctor.

When we emailed to find out how Gillie’s knee was doing she replied “Knee doing very well…looking very clean and much less red. Complete convert.”

Gillies knee with Ribwort poultice

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Identification notes
Ribwort Plantain flowering
Ribwort Plantain is a common plant of road side verges and field edges, waste ground and often along the edge of footpaths.

It has a strap shaped leaf with distinct ribs – hence the name. The flowering stems grow up to 60cm and are topped with black torpedo shaped buds which become brown as a ring of pollen covered anthers work their way up the flower. It is a perennial plant so can be found year after year.