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

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!

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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.

 

 

Hawthorn blossom pastry dessert – The English hedgerow meets the Lebanese kitchen.

This recipe is inspired by a trip to Yalla Yalla, a great Lebanese restaurant just off Oxford St. in London.  We popped in for supper after running a foraging and fishing evening for Slow food week and had a great range of dishes, all packed with flavour and completely delicious.  The stand out dish of the night was dessert, a type of tart that neither of us had had before called Knefe.  The orange blossom flavours got us thinking and Rose thought we should use some of the amazing Hawthorn blossom that is covering the hedgerows around North Yorkshire to make our own version.

We served the Knefe with Hawthorn blossom ice cream, which is equally good served with a lump of chocolate cake!

knefe tart with hawthorn blossom ice cream

Hawthorn and orange knefe dessert -serves 10

  • 2 large handfuls of well scented hawthorn blossom
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 150ml water
  • 100ml sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 100g cold butter cut in to chunks
  • 200g plain flour
  • 400g block of mozzarella cheese coarsely grated
  • 110g white breadcrumbs
  • 90g ground almonds

Start by making the syrup. To do this gently heat the water, sugar and honey in a pan, when the sugar has dissolved add the hawthorn blossom and orange zest. Stir to make sure all the petals are well coated in syrup and heat just to simmering point, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes and then strain the syrup into a jug.

For the dessert it’s self you will need a greased 25cm tart tin or pie dish. The pastry is very simple just ‘rub in’ the flour and butter, either with your fingers in a bowl or whizz it up in a food processor. Add a tablespoon or two of water to the mix and it will start to come together. At this point you can line the tart tin, just take little bits of the pastry and press it in to the tin with your fingers. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees C. Now remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper and return the tart case to the oven for another 5 minutes. When the case has cooled spread the grated mozzarella evenly in to it. Mix together the breadcrumbs and ground almonds and add to the flan case on top of the cheese. Lightly press down and smooth over the top of the flan. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C. While the flan is still warm pour over the hawthorn and orange syrup covering the flan completely. Serve warm with Hawthorn blossom or rose ice cream.

Hawthorn Blossom Ice cream -makes 1litre

  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • ½ litre of well scented Hawthorn blossom
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 220g sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Put the milk and cream in a pan with the hawthorn blossom and heat gently for 10 minutes. Meanwhile put the egg yolks, salt and sugar in to a large bowl and mix until pale. Bring the milk mixture nearly to the boil then strain through a sieve on to the egg and sugar. Quickly whisk then set aside to cool. When cool churn in an ice cream maker or put in the freezer and mix with a fork every hour until it turns to ice cream.

One day foraging course 8th and 9th June 2013

Another sunny weekend spent teaching about wild edible plants to some lovely people.  Thank you all for coming – happy foraging!

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.

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.