Rose Petal Cordial

This delicious cordial is so easy to make and fast too. Keep those wonderful rose flavours to use as cordial, for cocktails, to add to desserts, even to add to vinegar. Herbalists say that rose flavour lifts the spirits, I love it. The recipe starts with notes on sterilising equipment – just to keep you safe. 😊
Rose Petal Cordial – makes 1.7 Litres
• 150g well scented rose petals
• 1 litre water
• 1 kg sugar
• 1 lemon zested and sliced
• 35g citric acid
• Screw topped bottles.

Always use sterile equipment, check out the best method for you.
Different ways to achieve this are:
• chemical steriliser e.g. Milton,
• microwave wet for 2 minutes,
• heat in the oven at 125 degrees C for 10 minutes,
• boiling for 10 minutes.

First sterilise a large plastic food container and a stirring spoon. Then boil the water and pour it into the container, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. When warm – but not steaming, add the lemon zest, sliced lemon, rose petals and citric acid. Stir, then cover the container with a lid or tea towel.
Stir twice a day for two days with a very clean spoon (pour boiling water over it – this will remove germs).
After two days the cordial is ready to bottle. Sterilise a large jug, a funnel, bottles, and a muslin cloth (or fine sieve).
Strain the cordial through the muslin in to the jug. Then using the funnel fill the bottles and screw down the caps.
The cordial will keep for up to a month in the fridge or will freeze well.

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

Dandelion Bhajis and Wild Garlic Raita

dandelion flowers.JPGWe have been making these lovely Bhajis for years, we have even been on Countryfile demonstrating how to do it, but the video is lost and so I am giving the recipe out on the Blog for you to try. It only takes 10 minutes to make these scrumptious golden bhajis, you can serve them with plain yoghurt or maybe a Raita made with Wild Garlic..

Dandelion flowers open with the sun and close up overnight or when it rains. On sunny April days it’s often easy to find lots of lovely open flowers and these are the ones to collect.

Dandelion Bhajis and Wild Garlic Raita

You will need a deep pan to hold the frying oil and a thermometer to keep a check on the oil temperature.

Dandelion Bhajis – makes approx 15

  • 200g gram flour
  • ¼ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 45 large dandelion flower heads
  • 1.5 litres sunflower oil for deep frying

Put all the dry ingredients except the dandelions in a bowl and mix. Stir in approximately 100ml of cold water to make a thick batter, now put the dandelions into the batter and mix well to coat.Dandelion bhajis

Heat your deep frying oil to 185 degrees C and then gently drop spoonfuls (about 3 flowers) of the batter covered flowers into the oil. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes until golden, remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and serve seasoned with salt.5 Dandelion BhajisWild Garlic Raita

  • 400ml soured cream/crème fraiche
  • 1 bunch wild garlic washed and chopped
  • 5cm piece of cucumber chopped very small
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.

 

 

Bilberry mousse, Meadowsweet crumb and Heather flowers.

IMG_4964

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.

The Elderflower is out!

We’re trying some new recipes this year as well as the old favourites…recipes and pictures below from our last few One foraging day courses.

Elderflower and Apple pudding – serves 4

  • 4 Bramley apples???????????????????????????????
  • 2 Elderflower heads
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g butter
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 20g porridge oats
  • Creme fraiche

 

Peel, core and cut the apples in to medium sized chunks. As soon as they are cut put them in a large pan with a tablespoonful of water and the lemon juice, stir so that the apple comes in contact with the lemon juice and does not go brown. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir well. If you have a straining bag or some muslin put the Elderflowers in it and hang this over the side of the pan – you want the bag to be in the watery juice underneath the apples. If you don’t have a muslin bag put the Elderflowers in the pan and remove them at the end of cooking. Cook gently for 20 minutes stirring occasionally and squashing the bag against the side of the pan to let the flavour come out in to the juice (try not to mash the apples). Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. When ready set aside.

To make the crumble topping pre heat the oven to 190 degrees C, put the flour in to a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and oats and mix well. Grease a baking tin and spread the crumble 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 store in an airtight container.

Serve the apples warm or cold with crumble and Creme fraiche.

Other Elderflower recipes include Elderflower wine, Elderflower cordial, Elderflower and rose champagne and Elderflower fritters. Click here to explore our Elderflower recipes.

Elderflower wine

This is my recipe for Elderflower wine, I have made wine this way for the last 15 years and it always works well.  There are loads of flowers this year, it’s a bumper year!

Elder.  Sambucus nigra Be sure of your identification!!

Elder. Sambucus nigra
Be sure of your identification!!

I have explained the process in detail for any of you that have not made wine before, you can also scale it up and it still works perfectly. Find elder growing in hedgerows, on disused railway lines, on waste ground – it is a tree that can be found in the countryside and in urban places, so is great for everyone.

You will need 2 wine making buckets with a 1 gallon mark on and a lid, 2 x clear gallon demijohns, a large funnel, a jelly bag or sheet of muslin, bungs and airlocks to fit the demijohns, siphon tubing and 6 wine bottles – either with good lids or buy corks and a corking device. You will also need chemical sterilizer available at wine making supplier.

Makes 6 Bottles

  • 1 pint of elderflowers
  • 3 lemons – grated rind and juice (keep the juice in the fridge until day 5)
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2.5lb sugar
  • 2 campden tablets
  • 1tsp yeast
  • 1tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1tsp tannin
  • 1tsp potassium sorbate (or stabilising tablet)
  • Finings (as per packet instructions)

foraging walk

Day 1. Pick Elderflowers that are fragrant and at their peak, not either in bud or dropping petals. Put them into the wine bucket with the grated rind of the lemons. Boil the water and pour it over the flowers and lemon rind. Cover loosely and leave to cool. When cool add a crushed campden tablet and stir.

Days 2, 3 & 4. Stir twice a day, each day with a sterile spoon (I pour boiling water from the kettle over my plastic spoon and it is fine)

Day 5. Sterilise the mesh bag, plastic spoon and 2nd bucket, then rinse. Strain the liquid through the fine mesh bag into the bucket. Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir until dissolved with the sterile spoon. Then add the yeast, yeast nutrient and tannin, and stir. Cover loosely.

Days 6, 7, 8 & 9, Leave to ferment. Try to keep the wine at about 20 degrees C.

Day 10. Sterilise your demijohn, mesh bag, funnel, bung and airlock and spoon if using. Strain the wine through the mesh bag into the demijohn using the funnel. Fit the bung and airlock. (put boiled water in the airlock) Again keep the temperature as close to 20oC as poss. Leave for approx 15 days until the wine stops fermenting.

Day 25. Sterilise your other demijohn, airlock and bung, and the siphon tubing. Siphon the wine into the clean demijohn leaving the sediment behind. Add 1 crushed campden tablet and 1 tsp Potassium Sorbate to the wine, and swish it around to remove gas. Then add the finings as per the packet instructions (probably 2 tsps) Put a clean airlock and bung on the demijohn and leave it to clear. Put the wine in a place now where it can settle out and won’t get knocked or moved  – you will need to be able to get to it later to siphon it out.

Day 50 – approx. Your wine should be clear as a bell. Now sterilize your bottles and siphon tubing and carefully fill the bottles without disturbing the sediment in the bottom of the demijohn. This is best done by 2 people one filling bottles and one making sure the tube doesn’t pick up sediment. Cork or cap your bottles I sterilise mine by putting them in boiling water for a few minutes

…You can drink it straight away but it improves with keeping.

elderflower med size

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.