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 herb and ricotta pithivier

Rose wanted me to call this a pasty, she thought I was being pretentious but I’m sticking to my guns because I think they are a little more refined than a true pasty.  Of course you could make them much bigger if you wanted to use them for a lunch dish or a picnic but these are perfect for a starter size with nice dressed salad.

I had a walk along the riverbank yesterday morning and collected some lovely young wild greens/herbs. I just needed a few handfuls and fifteen minutes of foraging gave me a lovely selection of Ground elder, Stinging nettles, Common sorrel and Cleavers.

Common Sorrel rumex acetosa

Common sorrel

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.

 

Cleavers galium aparine

Cleavers 2One of the first plants to emerge in spring. This annual plant has a distinctive growth pattern where rings of narrow slightly bristly leaves are borne at regular intervals along the slightly bristly stem. The plants leaves are up to 3cm long. It will generally climb up the plants near it, managing to grow through hedges up to 1.5m. The tiny greenish white flowers open in summer to be followed by little hard ball seeds that stick to your socks.

 

Ground elder  Aegopodium podagraria

ground elderA 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 and aniseed.

 

Wild herb and ricotta pithivier  Makes 6

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Ingredients

500g pack of puff pastry
250g Ricotta cheese
30g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 large leaves of wild garlic
3 Handfuls of wild greens
Salt and pepper
1 egg,  beaten for egg washing

Method

Wash the wild greens very well, blanch them in boiling water for 20 seconds and refresh in very cold water.  Once completely cold, squeeze out as much water as possible from the greens and blend to a paste with the olive oil and Wild garlic in a pestle and mortar or stick blender.

In a bowl, stir together the Ricotta, Parmesan and herb paste until you have a nice even mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set this filling aside and prepare a well floured surface to roll out your pastry. Divide the pastry into two and roll each piece out to about a 2mm thickness, you really need to get the pastry this thin as it will overwhelm the flavours of the filling if it is too thick. Out of one sheet cut out six circles 11cm in diameter put onto baking parchment and set aside. Now cut six 12cm circles from the second sheet, these will form the tops of the pithivier and need to be this slightly bigger size to accommodate the filling.

Lay out the bases (smaller circle) and divide the filling between the discs making sure you leave enough pastry around the edge to seal it, about 1cm should be good. Egg wash this outside ring of pastry and place a larger pastry circle on top , push down the sides and seal the egg washed edges You can then use a larger circular cutter to trim the sealed parcels into a perfect circle if you wish.  I then use a fork to seal the edges further by pressing the tines all around the edge where I have sealed it with my fingers.   Repeat for the other pastry discs. Use a knife to make two holes in the top of of each sealed parcel.

Egg wash the pithivier, place on a lined baking sheet (or two) and bake at 180 centigrade for 20 minutes until golden and puffed up. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving with a dressed salad.

 

Sweet Cicely sorbet, a great palate cleanser.

Here is a recipe from a couple of courses we ran last week in the beautiful Derbyshire peak district for Hartingtons School of Food, Bakewell.

It is always great to explore a different landscape and we thoroughly enjoyed a couple of days working in  and around Bakewell.

The weather was very kind on the second day which was lucky as we were being filmed for Central TV!  (I will post the video as soon as possible).

The intense aniseed scent of Sweet Cicely is captured in this simple sorbet recipe. It works well on its own as a palate cleanser but goes extremely well with rhubarb desserts. Give it a try, the Sweet Cicely is great right now.

As always, remember to be absolutely sure of your identification before eating anything from the wild!

TTW Woodland  094

Sweet Cicely sorbet.

300ml water

250g Sugar

8 sprigs of Sweet Cicely leaves , flowers or green seeds (add more if you need to to get a good flavour)

Method:

Put the water and sugar into a pan and heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring up to the boil and continue to let the syrup boil for 5 minutes. The syrup should now be quite clear.  Remove from the heat and immediately add the Sweet Cicely. Cover the pan with a lid or cling film to stop the aroma being lost. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool pass the syrup through a fine sieve to remove the Sweet Cicely and then if you have an ice cream machine churn it as per the machine instructions.

If you do not have a machine then whilst the syrup is cooling put a 1 litre ice cream tub in the freezer to thoroughly chill down. Once the container is very cold, pour in the sieved syrup and return to the freezer. Leave for 1 hour then take out of the freezer, stir in the frozen edges vigorously and return to the freezer. Repeat this hourly for three hours then leave in the freezer to fully freeze.

 

 

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.

 

 

Nettle soda bread

Nettle Soda bread

  • 500g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400ml live yoghurt or buttermilk
  • 2 large handfuls of nettles (blanched, drained and chopped)

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and nettles 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

If you want to make herb soda bread omit the nettles, add herbs of your choice, and a little milk to bind.

Nicola and Ian.JPG

Rose petal icecream

If you love Turkish Delight and you love Ice cream, you’ve got to try this.

Rose petal ice cream.jpg

Rose petal Ice cream

  • 2 handfuls of well scented rose petals (I used Rosa rugosa, the Japanese rose)
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 250ml double cream

Make sure the rose petals are free from bugs, chop them a little and put them into a pan. Pour on the milk and vanilla extract, stir and put the lid on the pan. Heat gently, do not boil. While the rose flavour is infusing into the milk prepare the eggs and sugar. 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 and rose infusion and stir occasionally. Keeping the lid on the pan will stop the precious rose fragrance from evaporating. 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. Squeeze the last of the milk from the petals into the mix and put the petals on one side. Now add the cream and stir. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge. If you have an ice cream maker churn the chilled mixture for half and hour. If you want to have little pieces of rose petal in your ice cream chop the squeezed out petals finely and add them to the ice cream just before the end of the freezing process. You can make the ice cream without an ice cream maker 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. As before, add the chopped rose petals just before the ice cream is frozen if you want the texture and colour.