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 .

Wild garlic vichyssoise, Parmesan cream and Wild garlic oil

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We are making the must of the wild garlic and the warm weather.

A cool soup for a warm day!

Wild garlic vichyssoise, Parmesan cream and Wild garlic oil

For the soup.   Serves 4 as a starter.

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons butter
6 Leeks white parts only finely chopped
2 Medium sized floury potatoes chopped into small cubes
16 Wild garlic leaves finely chopped
230ml Double cream
230ml Vegetable stock

Method:

In a large, heavy bottom pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the leeks and cook gently for 5 minutes, making sure they are soft but do not take on any color. Add potatoes and wild garlic.  Cook for a minute or two, stirring a few times. Add the stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 mins, or until the potatoes are very soft. Puree the soup and then pass it through a sieve to make it super smooth.

Return to a pan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. Take off the heat and cool, then chill.

Serve cold with parmesan cream (see below), Wild garlic oil (see below) and a scattering of Wild garlic flowers.

Parmesan Cream.   Makes more than you need for this recipe but you can store it in the fridge for a few days and use it with pasta sauces etc.

200ml double cream
Parmesan rinds, about 10 cm square in total.
These are just what you have left over after you have grated all the cheese.  I never want to throw them out but never do much with them. This proves they were worth saving!!

Put the cream and cheese into a small saucepan and simmer until thick. Remove the cheese pieces and season the cream with salt to taste.

Wild garlic oil.   Makes more than you need for this recipe but will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

100ml Olive oil
10 wild garlic leaves finely chopped

Blend oil and garlic together, allow to sit for 30 minutes and then pass through a sieve.

 

 

 

Growing Wild Food Aquaponically

montage for email2Hi Everybody,

Chris and I are excited to share our new plan with you all. We have a project that we hope will inspire you.

Wild Food is so popular now that we would like grow some of these ingredients sustainably and supply local businesses. We have found a way of growing that makes complete sense. – It uses Aquaponics. perch and plantsWe’re going to use UK river fish (Perch) …so no need to heat the water! And grow off grid in a polytunnel, on our land in Yorkshire. We are so inspired by this compact, energy efficient way of growing that we will teach as well when we are up and running.sun rain polytunnel In the meantime, if we get the funding, the technical development of the Off Grid system and the information on growing shade tolerant plants will be freely available to everyone online. This could possibly help with growing projects in urban situations with limited power supply and in remote places where the sun doesn’t always shine. We have technical support from the amazing guys at the Aquaponics Lab in Manchester.rewards montage

Our Kickstarter campaign for ‘The Wild Food Aquagarden’ has gone live! Hope you can spare a minute to have a look through it. We have all sorts of rewards for backers from small gifts to party invites etc etc.

Hope you’re interested, please share this with anybody else you think might be too.

Thanks and kind Regards Rose and Chris

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

 

 

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.

 

Sorrel, onion and potato pierogi

 

Polish dumplings flavoured with wintery Common Sorrel (Rumex Acetosa) (see identification notes below) from the banks of the River Swale.

A recipe inspired by a blustery walk in Calderdale with good friends and talk of Polish comfort food to warm us up.  Thank you Martyna Krol for the recipe advice.

Ingredients: Makes about 40 Pierogi

For the dough.
450g Plain flour.
180ml Boiling water.
60ml Cold water.
1 dessert spoon Olive oil.

For the filling.

600g Potatoes (choose a variety that mashes well).
2 Medium onions.
60g Common Sorrel leaves washed and chopped.
70g butter

Method

Peel the potatoes cut them in half and boil in salted water until soft enough to mash.

While the potatoes are boiling, chop the onions finely and fry them in a large knob of the butter until soft and translucent, you do not want to brown the onions so remove from the heat as soon as they are soft.

IMG_5934Once the potatoes are cooked, mash them or put them through a potato ricer. Add the remaining butter, chopped sorrel and cooked onions (including any cooking fat) to the mashed potato, mix well and season with salt and black pepper.  Put this mixture onto a tray and chill.

 

To make the dough, sieve the flour into a large bowl add the boiling water and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Set aside for 5 mins.  Now add the cold water and oil and mix again, bring the ingredients together to make a soft dough (you may need to add a little extra water depending on your flour).

Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is smooth and pliable, wrap in clingfilm and rest for 15 mins.

Once your dough is rested and your filling is chilled you are ready to make your pierogi!

Flour a surface well, take 1 quarter of the dough and roll out until it is approximately 2mm thick. Use a cup or a 31//2 inch (78mm) cutter to cut out circles from your rolled out dough.

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Put a small ball of filling in the centre of each circle, use your finger and a cup of water to moisten the edge of the dough and close up the parcel like a little pasty. Crimp the edges of your half moon shape with a fork.  Repeat these precesses until you have used all your dough.

IMG_5948

When you are ready to cook your pierogi, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook in batches of about ten at a time until they float to the surface.

Toss the pierogi in a a mixture of melted butter and parley and serve.

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Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.