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

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.

 

 

 

Wild Garlic and Vegetable broth

IMG_6390.JPGSimple Healthy and Delicious: Once you have found a few Wild Garlic leaves this broth only takes 20 minutes to make. You can vary the vegetables if you like and serve it with crusty bread and butter. I have made this for quite a few people now and they all love it – young and old – even my Dad who doesn’t like garlic! He thought it was cabbage… hmmmm  One Day Foraging Course

Wild Garlic and Vegetable Broth Serves 3IMG_6387

1 small onion

1 stick of celery

1 carrot

2 small potatoes

A hand full of green beans

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 vegetable stock cubes

5 Wild Garlic leaves

Salt and Pepper

Peel and chop the vegetables in to very small dice. In a large pan heat the olive oil and saute the onion and celery gently for 5 minutes, add the carrot and potato and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes. Dissolve the stock cubes in 1 litre of boiling water then add this to the pan. Add the chopped green beans and simmer for 10 minutes, until the veg is just tender. Wash the Wild Garlic leaves and cut into small ribbons, add this to the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Photographs from the Cooking with Fire course on Saturday

Mushroom macaroons with truffled ganache filling.

IMG_5785

I had a chocolate covered cep lollipop as a pre-dessert a few weeks ago.

It was really good!

Chocolate with mushroom turns out to be a great, though unusual food combination.
Apparently science backs this up,

“both mushrooms and chocolate contain aldehydes (a compound that imparts nuttiness) and pyrazines (which enhance roasted flavours), says Bernard Lahousse, partner and science director at FoodPairing.com, a Belgium-based site devoted to exploring the chemical underpinnings of flavour combinations. This explains why the two foods, while seemingly dissimilar, work so well together. “The mushrooms also [bring out] umami in the chocolate,” further intensifying its depth of flavour, Lahousse says from his office in Bruges.”       The Globe and Mail.

We had some dried wild mushrooms left over from a great fungi season so I thought I would have a play.

These are the result……and they are good.

Mushroom macaroons with truffled ganache filling
Based on Andre Morton’s plain macaron recipe.

Ingredients:
For the Macaroons.
110g Icing sugar
40g Ground almonds
2 Medium egg whites
40g Caster sugar

For the Ganache.
100g Dark chocolate, chopped finely
100ml Double cream
1 tsp  Truffle oil

Method:

First make the Ganache. Put the cream into a pan over a medium heat until just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and truffle oil to the pan, stirring until completely melted and combined. Pour into a container to cool.

Now for the macaroons.

1. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. This is a different thing to greaseproof paper and is worth the slightly inflated price. In a food processor (or using a blender/stick blender if you don’t have one), grind together the icing sugar and ground almonds until there are no lumps – you want them as powdery as you can.

2. In a large bowl , whisk your egg whites and caster sugar. It helps to own an electric whisk. It might take a while, but they will eventually become filled with air and quite stiff, although it doesn’t matter if you don’t quite reach stiff peaks.

3. Add about half your sugary almond powder to your airy sugary egg whites and very, very carefully fold together with a large metal spoon. This just involves gentle mixing, making sure you scoop from the bottom in order to keep the air in.

4. Add the rest of your powder and  mix everything well. You want to force most of that air you’ve captured out, so that the mixture tumbles from your spoon, gradually but gloopily. Stop when it reaches exactly the consistency of flowing lava – when you drop some into your bowl, the surface should slowly flatten out to leave no visible peak. This might well be looser than you were expecting.

5. If you own a piping bag, great. If not, a freezer or sandwich bag is just as good. Scoop your mixture into your bag and twist the open end to force the mixture into a corner. Cut this corner off using scissors, leaving a hole about 1cm wide. Use this to squeeze little circles onto your prepared baking sheet. You want them anything between 1-2 inches in diameter. Leave plenty of space between each one.

6. Once your macaroons are piped, lift your baking tray about a foot or two above your work surface and drop it so it smashes down dramatically. Repeat 2-3 times – it’s just to remove any big bubbles that might be left in the mixture.

7. This is the most important step. Leave your piped macaroons uncovered and at room temperature for, at the very least, 30 minutes. The longer the better. You want the surface to dry out and a skin to form. At this point, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan – fan is better. Your oven must be properly preheated for at least 30 minutes.

8. Bake for between 10 and 12 minutes, depending on the size you’ve gone for. You must take them out before they begin to go brown. A good tip is to open the oven fully, then quickly close it again, at least twice during cooking. This will remove excess steam.

9. Once baked and cooled, remove from the tray, spread the underside of half of them with Ganache and sandwich together with the other half.

Store in an airtight tin.

 

 

Wild Vermouth, Wild Martini!

We have been experimenting with botanical infusions since our interest in wild ingredients began. Over the years we have had great successes with drinks like Patxaran and May blossom brandy and absolute disasters like ‘Dandelion and Burdock’ Vodka (it seemed like a good idea at the time!). But until this year we have never tried alcoholic infusions into anything but hard spirits.

A couple of weeks ago Rose and I were chatting to Tom, Rose’s son who lives in Galicia and he was telling us about the amazing range of vermouth available in the bars around Ponte vedra where he lives.  This got us thinking that maybe we could use some wild botanicals to produce our own vermouth style fortified wine.

Vermouth is the French pronunciation of the German word Wermut.  Wermut translated into English is Wormwood, the wild herb used to flavour absinthe liquer and obviously Vermouth.

We use the close relation of Wormwood, Mugwort (artemisia vulgaris) as a culinary herb and having some ready dried in the cupboard we thought this was a good place to start. To this we added a balance of floral and herbal botanicals plus a little citrus.

Many vermouths have a huge range of botanical flavourings in them, sometimes up to 30 different plants.  Ours is far more simple but the eight we use does produce a beautifully complex fortified wine.

IMG_5883

Last night we were just sipping it straight and enjoying in it’s simple form but this dry vermouth screams out to be made into a vodka martini and I have included my favourite recipe below.

Wild  Vermouth

ingredients:
Peel of 1 lemon cut into strips
Peel of 1/4 Grapefruit cut into strips
2g (1 tablespoon) dried Mugwort
2g (1 tablespoon) dried Elderflowers
2g (1 tablespoon) dried Hyssop
0.75 g (1 tablespoon) dried Rose petals
1 teaspoon dried Chamomile flowers
1 teaspoon dried Lavender flowers

1 750ml Bottle dry white wine
60 ml Stock syrup
250 ml Brandy

Method:

Put all the flavourings into a medium sized saucepan and add 250ml of the white wine. Bring to a boil over a high heat then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or muslin squeezing to extract all the liquid. Discard all the solids.

Put the strained line into a clean pan and add the rest of the bottle warm the wine and slowly add the stock syrup until completely combined.  Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy.

Cool completely, bottle and store in the fridge. It will be ready to drink 24 hours later.

The Perfect Martini?

Actually not a true martini but a bond style vodkatini . We’re not trying to be secret agents, this drink is all about our Wild Vermouth so we don’t want the botanicals in a good gin competing!

Wild Vodkatini
(Serves 1)
4 parts good Vodka
1 part chilled Wild Vermouth
Ice
1 strip of lemon peel

Put the martini glass in the freezer along with the vodka and chill for at least half an hour.

Half fill a mixing glass with ice and add the vodka and vermouth. Stir for 30 seconds, touching the glass as little as possible to keep it cold, then strain into the chilled glass.

Twist the lemon over the top of the drink, then wipe it around the rim of the glass and drop it in. Serve immediately.

Repeat at your own risk!

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.