Wild mushroom tart, a surprise dinner.

I ran a private fungi course in a friends wood on Sunday and we had a fantastic morning exploring the wide range of mushrooms growing there. As well as the biggest group of the deadly Death cap (amanita phalloides) I have ever seen, we also had huge array of delicious edible varieties.

  • Pied de mouton
  • Brown birch bolete
  • Bay bolete
  • Bulbous honey fungus
  • Ochre brittlegill
  • Deer shield
  • Purple brittlegill
  • Shaggy inkcap
  • The flirt
  • Amethyst deciever
  • The deciever

We returned with our laden basket only for me to find out that everyone on the course was heading to L’enclume for dinner and couldn’t take any of the mushrooms home with them.

All for me! What a treat!  But what to cook?

With beautiful mushrooms and not a lot of time on my hands decided on this tasty puff pastry tart, and it went down a treat.

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Easy Mushroom tart

Ingredientsimg_9877
85 g Breadcrumbs
100g Cheddar finely grated
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
2 cloves Garlic minced
200g Mixed mushrooms sliced
150g Puff pastry  (bought or homemade)
a little milk for glazing
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

Put a large saucepan over a high heat and add a large glug of olive oil. Fry the mushrooms at a high heat, if you only have a small pan then do it in batches so you can evaporate the any moisture quickly and get a little caramelisation on the mushrooms. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Whilst the mushrooms are cooling, roll out the pastry  to an oblong shape about 3mm thick.  Put the pastry onto a greased baking sheet, take a small knife and score a line around the pastry sheet 2cm from the edge.

Add the breadcrumbs, garlic and thyme to the cooled mushrooms and mix well.  Season the mixture with salt and black pepper then pile it onto the centre of the pastry base, keeping inside your scored line.  Sprinkle the cheese on top, glaze the pastry edges with milk and bake in the centre of the oven at 170 degrees C for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

I served this hot with a winter vegetable slaw, but it would be great cold too.

Cider making course

cider 1

If you have ever fancied making cider at home but were never sure where to start, we have created an October day course which gives you a fun day of learning, 5 litres of apple juice in a fermenter, yeast and the skills to turn it in to cider!

Our one day cider making course is a day of emersion in to the world of cider: chopping, pressing, brewing and bottling. Date Weds 12th October 2016

We visit the local cider making cooperative and learn how different types of apples are used to create a good flavour balance and see the techniques used to produce a great quality product. The apple chopping machine and press will be in action and we can help in the apple juicing. Our guide Cameron Smith has a wealth of knowledge and experience. He will explain processes and techniques with us and we will be able to see how the village community produces enough cider to fund lots of local projects.

We have lunch back at the barn in our wood and taste some local ciders. The afternoon is spent with passionate homebrewer Steve, he will show you how to make reliably great cider on a small scale in your own kitchen. You’ll learn about different types of cider making equipment from the very basic household items to more purpose made devices — and have a go at using it. Steve will share his tips and techniques to make successful cider and give everyone a step by step guide. Along with the guide you will take home a 5 litre fermenter full of apple juice an airlock and yeast…all ready to turn into cider

The course starts at 10.00am and finishes at 4pm. The course will run in Taste the wild’s woodland kitchen. (Nr Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire) directions will be sent with course booking confirmation. We will have a 15 minute drive to our local cider makers in the morning.

To book visit our website here www.tastethewild.co.uk/courses-extracourses.html

The cost of the course (£95.00) includes:-

  • all tuition
  • lunch
  • cider tastings
  • 5L apple juice
  • a fermenter
  • an airlock
  • yeast

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

Laverbread Tortellini

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I love Laver seaweed!!  My lovely wife Rose does not. I am trying to convert her and recently tried this recipe out on one of our Coastal Foraging course in Staithes. It went down really well , it even got pronounced “best tortellini ever” by some. Unfortunately I am still trying to convince Rose.

The stuffing for the tortellini is inspired by a traditional South Wales laverbread breakfast, the sauce is a rich onion stock infused with fried pancetta.

Laverbread tortellini with a rich onion and bacon stock.
Serves 4 as a starter.

For the pasta

500g ’00’ pasta flour
5 large eggs

For the filling

1 Shallot finely chopped
large knob of butter
250g Cooked laverbread (simmered for several hours). Finely chopped
1 slice of brown toast, chopped
50ml Double cream

For the stock

3 Red onions sliced
1 sprig of Thyme
3 slices of Pancetta finely chopped. Plus 3 slices finely chopped for garnish.
400ml water

Method

First make the pasta. Put the flour into a bowl, make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs. Mix well until the dough comes together. Take out of the bowl and knead well (10 mins) until smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make filling, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the shallot and cook gently until translucent but not brown. Put the toast, laver and cream into a food processor, add the fried shallot and any melted butter and pulse until smooth. If the mix looks dry, stir in an extra bit of cream  so that the filling is moist. put into a bowl and chill until needed.

Now make the stock.  Place a pan over a medium heat and pour in a glug of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions, Thyme and half the pancetta then cook gently until the onions are a deeply caramelised and brown.

Add the water cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Now check the seasoning and taste. You want a rich onion flavour and if it is not intense enough cook out a little more.  Once you are happy with the taste pour through a sieve into a clean pan and reserve.

Take the pasta dough out of the fridge and roll it out very thinly, preferably with a pasta machine, but if not, as thin as you can with a rolling pin.

Cut the pasta into twenty 10cm squares and put a heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of a square. Dip your finger in a little water and run it along two edges of a square. Fold the square into a triangle, pressing the top together and then working your way along the sides.
Pinch the bottom two corners of the triangle together to form a kerchief shape (see main picture). Press tightly to seal. Toss with flour, set aside on well-floured baking sheet, and cover. Repeat with remaining pasta squares.

To serve

Fry off the remaining pancetta pieces until brown and crispy.  Warm the stock through over a low heat.

Cook the tortellini in a large pan of boiling for  2-3  minutes until they float at the top of the pan, then drain.

Divide the stock between 4 warm bowls, add the tortellini and sprinkle over the crispy pancetta and if you like some chive flowers.

Serve.

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Laver Porphyra sp.

Found at the upper end of the tidal zone, fixed to rocks in sheets. Harvest with scissors to allow the seaweed to regrow. By pulling the seaweed you may also pull off tiny bits of rock that will get into you cooked dishes!

laver1

 

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.

 

 

 

What we believe… and why

deer montageTaste the Wild courses focus on three different issues: sustainability, seasonality and locality. The core of our business is teaching people about wild food foraging. Our courses are run often from the same locations and so we collect wild edible plants from these same places throughout the season. As we teach and forage from these wild places year after year we teach people to look after the environment. We want them to understand the ecosystem that relies on the plants from which we are harvesting and only collect a proportion of what is there.brimstone montageSustainable foraging is what we teach and what we passionately believe in. Our Wild Food Aquagarden would be the ultimate way to supply larger quantities of wild salads and herbs, but it would never replace the joy of collecting a few wild treats from nature’s larder. If you agree with our philosophy have a look at our new project The Wild Food Aquagarden and see if you can support us.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/994301377/the-wild-food-aquagarden

I just walked along the river bank before writing this and saw Hogweed buds starting to form, excellent Ground Elder growing and Common Sorrel that was 12cm long! I love to keep in touch with the plants and the land, things change almost daily at this time of year and it feeds my soul.dandylion montageBesides teaching we also manage Taste the Wild’s eighteen acres of woodland for biodiversity, creating a range of habitats and managing them for both animal and plant life. The woods have become a haven for wildlife such as Buzzards, woodpeckers and deer in an area of predominantly intensive arable farming. We have an area of young conifer species which we are gradually thinning to help the natural regeneration of Birches, willows and oaks. We have created ponds and glades for insects and amphibians and along the rides we are planting smaller native broadleaf species for nuts, berries and fruit. These species give wild food to the birds, insects and mammals of the wood as well as us. We have a growing diversity of flora and fauna as shown by our species list which gets longer every year. Our facilities are basic to keep our carbon foot print as small as possible: cooking is on a wood fire (wood produced from our trees), we have composting toilets and our waste water is filtered through lava stones and sand.http://www.tastethewild.co.uk/community.html

 

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