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

 

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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Talking foraging at the Leatherhead Taste trends conference 2014

Plus a recipe for seaweed scones

Yesterday I was very proud to be talking about foraged ingredients at the Leatherhead food research ‘Taste trends 2014’ conference. http://www.leatherheadfood.com

I am constantly amazed where foraging takes me and the incredibly interesting people I meet along the way.  My natural habitat is in the outdoors, knees muddy from the forest floor or feet wet from rockpools and lapping waves, so to be standing in a rather sterile conference room behind a lectern and in front of an audience of food producers definitely took me a country mile from my usual environment.

The day persuaded me that I need to get out of my favoured environment more! It is very easy to get a little too comfortable in your own little world, and I am guilty of this. There cannot be many places more lovely to live than North Yorkshire and the opportunity to have this beautiful landscape as a workplace is a dream, so maybe I can be forgiven for being comfortable. But speaking at Taste trends 2014 and spending the day with a great group of people from all walks of the food industry was an amazing experience and one that has given me a huge amount of knowledge and inspiration.

The 3 highlights of the day for me were:

Steve Wallis from Tastebillion www.tastebillion.4ormat.com/.
His insight into trends and innovation within the food industry was truly inspirational. The future looks exciting.

Sara Danesin Medio  www.saradanesinmedio.com/ .
Sara’s passion for good quality simple ingredients filled the room and held everyone’s attention throughout.  Hearing Sara speak reinforced my own belief in great ingredients and good cooking and I really hope that one day we might be able to combine our knowledge and work together.

Jennifer Arthur. Strategic insight manager, Leatherhead food research.
Another look at the future through different but no less exciting eyes!  So much in depth research to produce a vision of the future that is both exciting and positive. Health and wellbeing both of consumers and the planet seems to be top of the agenda which has got to be a good thing.

The most important idea that reccured throughout the day, the one that makes me optimistic and hopeful for the future and is so much part of our own ethos at Taste the wild was the importance of Sustainability.  Virtually every speaker during the day had sustainability playing a major part in all sectors of the food industry, driving both manufacturers practice and policy as well as consumers buying and eating habits.

I really hope that all their predictions are correct.

Thanks to everyone at Leatherhead food research, especially Laura and Guida who looked after us so well.

I now know I need to get out more!!

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We were asked to produce some canapes for the lunchtime break and one of the three we came up with was a Seaweed scone with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

The scones are delicious and have a great hit of marine freshness, I hope you like them.
Serve with smoked salmon and cream cheese or as an accompaniment to fish soup.

Seaweed scones.  makes about 14-16

 

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Ingredients

12g dried Bladderwrack Ground up very small
7g dried Gutweed Ground fine and mixed with 2g fine sea salt.

60g Butter
250g S.R. Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 Egg
150ml Milk

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the Bladdewrack .

Break the egg into a measuring jug and make up to 150ml with milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix to a soft dough.

Press the dough out to a 2cm deep layer using your fingers. Using a 4cm cutter stamp out your scones. brush the tops with a little milk and sprinkle with the Gutweed/salt mixture.

Bake on a greased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes and cool on a rack.

 

Gutweed

Gutweed

 

Gutweed  Ulva intestinalis
This annual seaweed grows through spring and summer. It is a bright, light green in colour and can cover rocks looking like a carpet. The individual fronds are hollow tubes and these fill with oxygen so that it can float. The tubes are a little like guts and are approximately 6-10mm wide and 10-30cm long. If they don’t have any air in, the weed looks like stringy sea lettuce.

 

 

Bladderwrack

Bladderwrack

 

Bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus
This seaweed grows to approximately 50-100cm. It is a dark greenish brown colour sometimes with lighter areas. The fronds are branched with smooth edges. The midrib is quite pronounced and there are rounded air bladders along the fronds, usually in pairs.

 

Charity Auction for a bespoke coastal foraging course with Taste the wild.

mastGrab this great opportunity to join us for your own bespoke coastal foraging course and raise money for charity too!!

The Yorkshire Post has launched it’s 2014 Christmas Appeal with a charity auction and we are one of the prizes.

You can bid here for your own bespoke coastal foraging course in Staithes, North Yorkshire.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/yorkshire_post_christmas_charity_auction 

All the proceeds will go to the RNLI,  a charity close to our hearts.  The auction is running on ebay until Friday 28th November at 5.00pm.

Please make a bid and help raise plenty of money for a great cause.

Stepping stones on Staithes beck

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Coastal foraging courses. Staithes, Summer 2013.

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The weather has been very kind to us at Staithes this year and we have enjoyed great fishing, great foraging and the company of some lovely people.  As ever the British coastline offered us a wide array of forageable foods that inspired new recipes and dinner dishes.

The quantity and quality of the seaweed on the North East coast has been particularly good this year and It always amazes me that this incredible resource is so underused in the UK.  How can it be that an island nation that is surrounded by such an abundant, tasty and nutritious foodstuff can almost completely ignore its potential as food.

In fact seaweed is not completely ignored in Great Britain, the Welsh have Laver bread , once described as “Welshman’s caviar” by Richard Burton and the Irish have Dillisk which is eaten as crisps as well as being added to  everything from apple to bread dough. But even when you take these into consideration we are still missing a trick!

One of the best facts about seaweed on the British coast is that they are all edible. Any seaweed that is attached, not washed up or just floating about, but actually attached in the intertidal zone is edible. So there are none of the worries about poisoning that we have with plants and fungi.

However, edible is one thing and palatable is another and although you will not be poisoned you might find some of the tastes and textures a little ‘challenging’ as food. Having grazed on many different seaweeds we have developed a list of 10 that we regularly use in cooking and thoroughly enjoy.

  • Laver porphyra sp.
  • Sea lettuce Ulva lactuca
  • Dulse Palmaria palmate
  • Pepper dulse  Osmundea pinnatifida
  • Sea spaghetti himanthalia elongata
  • Gutweed Ulva intestinalis
  • Oarweed Laminaria digitalis
  • Sugar kelp Laminaria sacharina
  • Carrageen Chondrus crispus
  • Bladder and toothed wrack Fucus sp.

In the following recipe we use a selection of these to make a delicious alternative to tartar sauce. We have replaced the capers and gerkins with crispy seaweeds and used lemon juice to give it a bit of extra tang.

Sea weeds used in Seaweed tartar sauce. (clockwise from the green one at the top) Gutweed, Sea spaghetti, Dulse, Sea lettuce, Oarweed, Pepper dulse.

Sea weeds used in Seaweed tartar sauce.
(clockwise from the green one at the top) Gutweed, Sea spaghetti, Dulse, Sea lettuce, Oarweed, Pepper dulse.

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Ingredients
50 g of chopped mixed seaweed ( I would definately include some pepper dulse for its garlicy taste)
4 tblsp  mayonnaise
Lemon juice to taste.

Mix all the ingredients together and serve with white fish.

Go and experiment with seaweeds. Just remember to follow these rules.

  • You must not collect seaweeds that are washed up on the shore.
  •  You must always harvest living seaweed that is still attached rocks and other seaweeds.
  • Always cut the seaweed leaving the’ holdfast’ behind. This means that the seaweed will grow back. Scissors are great for this.
  • There are no coastal seaweeds in Britain that are poisonous, so experiment!
  • Always be aware of the tides and weather conditions in the area you are foraging in. Be safe.
  • Check that the area where you are foraging does not have water quality problems.  (You can check this on the environment agency website.)

For those of you on last weeks courses here are some great photos!

Edible seaweed in a tasty Asian treat.

We like to be relaxed about our foraging: it’s nice to have an idea of what you’re looking for, but very good to be open Kelp and Dulseminded – you never know what you might find. This recipe follows that relaxed principle, as we’re after different textures and flavours not particular types of seaweed

On Saturday we ran a one day coastal foraging course at Staithes, North Yorkshire. The rocky foreshore there has an abundance of seaweeds that are good to eat and at low tide we collected Dulse, Kelp, Laver, and Pepper dulse for our lunchtime broth. There are many others that you could use for example Sea lettuce, Sugar kelp, Gutweed and Sea spaghetti and on a different day or in a different place the seaweed that we collected might not have been the same. There are some photos from the course at the bottom of the blog – thanks to all for coming, happy foraging!

Thai style lobster and seaweed broth -serves 4

  • 1 lobster, cooked

    Clockwise from the left Dulse,Kelp,Laver, Pepper dulse

    Clockwise from the left Dulse,Kelp,Laver, Pepper dulse

  • 1 lime
  • 1 small bunch of coriander
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • 2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 chilli, chopped finely (more if you like it hot)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 lt fish stock
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 x 150g/5oz packet udon noodles
  • 150g mixed edible seaweed, washed and chopped (if you are using kelp chop it into very fine strips)

Start by removing the meat from the lobster and cut it in to large chunks. Divide the lobster between 4 soup bowls and into each bowl put a wedge of lime and a dessertspoonful of coriander leaves.

For the broth. Chop the coriander stalks finely. In a large pan gently heat the oil then add the ginger, chilli, garlic and coriander stalks and cook for 2 minutes until soft. Now add the fish stock and soy sauce to the pan and bring to a  simmer. When the broth is simmering add the noodles and seaweed and cook for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are heated through. Ladle the broth into the 4 bowls and serve with extra coriander and lime wedges.

One day coastal foraging 23rd June 2013 – to see more photos click here.