Ground Ivy icecream with candied flowers, crushed pistachios and vanilla tuille

Ground Ivy, Glechoma hederacea, sometimes called Alehoof is one of my favourite wild aromatic herbs and we use it in a wide range of savoury dishes.

This recipe is a bit of a change and uses it in a dessert.  A delicately scented herb icecream served with candied purple Ground ivy flowers and a couple of crunchy extras.

Delicious!

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Ground Ivy icecream

  • 4 sprigs of Ground Ivy
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 250ml double cream

Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat gently to just below simmering point.  Put the sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the egg yolks and beat until well blended. Check the milk is just below a simmer and add the ground ivy sprigs, stir and remove from the heat. Allow the herb to infuse for 1 minute then return the pan to the heat..  When the milk is very close to boiling pour it through a sieve onto the egg and sugar mix, whisk it quickly to combine the ingredients. Now add the cream and stir. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge.

If you have an icecream maker churn this mixture per the manufacturers instructions.

You can make the ice cream without an ice cream maker (it will not be quite as smooth but just as tastey) by freezing the liquid ice cream in a freezer proof box for 1 hour then whisking it. Continue freezing and whisking the mix hourly until you are happy with the consistency.

Serve with crushed pistachios, candied Ground ivy flowers and vanilla tuille.

Candied flowers

  • Ground ivy flowers
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tblsp cold water
  • caster sugar

Mix the egg white and water thoroughly and the paint a thin layer on to each flower. 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 a couple of weeks.

Vanilla tuile

  • 1 large egg white
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 30g plain flour
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Set the oven to 180°C/ 356°F/Gas Mark 4
Put the egg white in a medium bowl. Whisk it lightly with a fork, then whisk in the sugar to a froth. Sift in the flour and mix in the melted butter and vanilla extract.
Next drop teaspoons of the mixture evenly spaced out on  the lined tray, then using a small palette knife spread the mixture thinly and evenly into ovals about 7cm long.  Bake for 9-10 mins.
Cool and store in an airtight tin.

Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea

A native perennial height to 40cm. As the name suggests it creeps along the ground and can form mats. The leaves are approximately 2 – 3cm across and are the shape of a horses hoof print with a scalloped edge. Ground Ivy has a square stem – it is a member of the mint family. When it flowers the stems grow upright and it bears purple flowers. They are similar to those of a violet but with a larger lower petal. There are often purple tints to the leaves and stalks especially near the flowers. The strong aromatic smell is the most distinctive characteristic of this plant.

Ground ivy flowering beautifully

Ground ivy flowering beautifully

Ground ivy and sea salt focaccia plus some photographs of recent courses

We made this delicious bread on our Back to basics bread course last week and it was a great success.  The Ground ivy stands in for the classic Rosemary very well and has the same level of punchy flavour.

Thanks to Tom for delivering another inspirational course and to everyone who came on the day.

A couple of days before that we had a lovely day foraging in the woods on our One day foraging course.  May is such a great time to forage and we found over 30 different wild edibles on the day, as well finding time to make a few Yorkshire pesto pizza bianca to go with lunch.

ground ivy 3

Ground ivy and sea salt focaccia
For the dough
500g strong white flour
7g instant yeast sachet
1 tsp salt
oil, for greasing
For the topping
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for after baking
3 stems of Ground ivy chopped finely
1 tsp sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

 
Method
Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and add up to 350ml lukewarm water, until you have a soft dough.
Knead for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, place into a lined and slightly warmed baking tray of 37 x 27cm. Drizzle with olive oil and top with Ground ivy and sea salt and a little pepper.
Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples and then rest again for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 240C/450F
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until evenly golden-brown. Check the
focaccia from time to time to make sure the bread is cooking evenly, move the tray accordingly.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and immediately drizzle some
olive oil all over. Leave to cool, then cut into squares.

 

 

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.