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

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.

 

 

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 Elder croquetas

One of our favourite comfort foods.  Who could fail to love crispy coated parcels of melting cheese and wild herbs.  Based on a classic Spanish recipe and perfect for tapas these croquetas could be flavoured with many different wild herbs. It all depends on your taste and the time of year.  Wild garlic would be great but we really love the parsley like flavour of Ground elder.

It’s a great time of year to eat your garden weeds!

Ground Elder Aegopodium podagrariaground 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 umbels of white flowers (sometimes pinkish) which smell a bit like parsley and celery with a hint of aniseed.

Ground elder and cheese croquetas  makes 12

Ingredients
75g Butter
75g  Plain flour
450ml  Milk
250g Strong cheddar cheese, grated
50g Young Ground elder leaves and stalks chopped finely
1tbsp olive oil
1 egg, beaten
100g (4 oz) stale white breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Oil for deep frying

Method
Melt the butter in a pan, Add the flour and cook, stirring gently, for 1 minute. Take it off the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Now return to the heat and cook until smooth and thick. Add the cheese and chopped Ground elder, stir well, cover and set aside to cool completely.

Once cooled and firm shape the mixture in to 12 small sausage shapes, dip each one in to the beaten egg then in to the breadcrumbs. Heat your deep frying oil to 185°C and cook the croquettes for 2-3 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.  Serve warm.

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A few photos from this weekends Wildfood weekend course where everyone enjoyed some croquetas.

Barberry and Chocolate flapjack.

This weeks blog recipe is here by popular demand.  I made these flapjacks for our one day foraging courses last weekend, (photos below), using the tart barberries to cut through the intense sweetness of a classic flapjack.  The bitter dark chocolate makes them all the more luxurious without getting too sweet. Everyone loved them and asked for the recipe.

The Barberry, Berberis vulgaris, is not a native plant in the UK but is found in many gardens along with a wide variety of other Berberis species.  Although the different species have berries that range from delicious to very average, so far in my research I have not found any that are poisonous.  I would always make sure through good research that garden species are not poisonous before eating. A good resource for this is Plants for a future, www.pfaf.org an excellent online database of plants that we thoroughly recommend.

Berberis-darwinii

Berberis darwinii

There is a very good and edible species, Berberis darwinii, which is flowering at the moment and you cannot fail to notice its vibrant orange blooms.

The most commonly eaten Berberis berry in Europe is Berberis vulgaris and they are used throughout the middle east in both sweet and savoury dishes and can be bought dried from good delicatessens.  For many years the tart berries would have been used as we would commonly now use lemon peel but are used less now we have imported tropical fruit.

If you are interested in other recipe ideas for the berries have a look at persian dishes, their traditional name is zereshk.

Here is our simple recipe to get you started.

Barberry and Chocolate Flapjack

Ingredients
150g Butter
115g Dark Brown sugar
6x 15ml Tablespoons Golden syrup
225g Porridge oats
15g Dried Barberries
100g Dark chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Put the butter,sugar and syrup into a pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar into the mix.

Put all the other ingredients into a bowl and pour over the sugar mix. Stir well and press into a well greased baking tin approx. 20cm x 30cm.

bake at 180C for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cool, cut into 16 pieces.

Store in a biscuit tin or plastic box.

Goosegrass goujons with Wild Garlic tartar sauce

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Strips of smoked haddock wrapped in Cleavers, deep fried in chickpea batter and served with a creamy gherkin and wild garlic dip.

Cleavers ( Galium aparine) are looking great at the moment and they are just at the stage when they are long enough to wrap things but have not yet become too stringy. They are staple for us at this time of year and an easy plant for budding foragers to identify on our One day foraging courses.

Rose was experimenting with using them  last week and it was a lovely surprise to have this recipe for my dinner as the result of her research.  These could be eaten as part of a bigger meal or would make wonderful tapas as part of a spread of small plates.

By all means try out your own favourite fish in this recipe but the smoked flavour worked really well.

The sauce uses wild garlic puree which is made by blitzing up wild garlic leaves with a little olive oil. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month.  For id notes on Wild Garlic see previous post here.

Cleavers Galium aparine
Cleavers 1One 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  leaves are up to 3cm long. Cleavers 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 little hard ball seeds that stick to your socks.
Cleavers has tiny downward facing prickles on the stems which makes them seem sticky.

Goosegrass goujons with wild garlic tartar sauce.

Ingredients

300g Smoked Haddock fillet
100g Chickpea flour
Half a teaspoon of salt
1 handful of Cleavers stems
Water

For the sauce
2 tsp Wild Garlic puree (see above)
2 tblsp Mayonaise
5 Cornichon gherkins, finely chopped
2 tsp Capers, finely chopped

Method

Slice the fish into strips about 2 cm wide across the fillet. Wrap each strip in a couple of Cleavers stems as in the photo below.

fish wrapped with cleavers

Set these wrapped strips aside whilst you make the batter and sauce.

For the batter put the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in approximately 75ml of water, adjusting this to make a batter the consistency of thick cream.

For the sauce just mix all ingredients together in a bowl until you have and even green colour.

To cook your goujons, dip each little parcel into your batter and then deep fry at 180 degrees C until golden brown. Drain on kitchen roll and serve with your tartar sauce.

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