Wild mushroom tart, a surprise dinner.

I ran a private fungi course in a friends wood on Sunday and we had a fantastic morning exploring the wide range of mushrooms growing there. As well as the biggest group of the deadly Death cap (amanita phalloides) I have ever seen, we also had huge array of delicious edible varieties.

  • Pied de mouton
  • Brown birch bolete
  • Bay bolete
  • Bulbous honey fungus
  • Ochre brittlegill
  • Deer shield
  • Purple brittlegill
  • Shaggy inkcap
  • The flirt
  • Amethyst deciever
  • The deciever

We returned with our laden basket only for me to find out that everyone on the course was heading to L’enclume for dinner and couldn’t take any of the mushrooms home with them.

All for me! What a treat!  But what to cook?

With beautiful mushrooms and not a lot of time on my hands decided on this tasty puff pastry tart, and it went down a treat.

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Easy Mushroom tart

Ingredientsimg_9877
85 g Breadcrumbs
100g Cheddar finely grated
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
2 cloves Garlic minced
200g Mixed mushrooms sliced
150g Puff pastry  (bought or homemade)
a little milk for glazing
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

Put a large saucepan over a high heat and add a large glug of olive oil. Fry the mushrooms at a high heat, if you only have a small pan then do it in batches so you can evaporate the any moisture quickly and get a little caramelisation on the mushrooms. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Whilst the mushrooms are cooling, roll out the pastry  to an oblong shape about 3mm thick.  Put the pastry onto a greased baking sheet, take a small knife and score a line around the pastry sheet 2cm from the edge.

Add the breadcrumbs, garlic and thyme to the cooled mushrooms and mix well.  Season the mixture with salt and black pepper then pile it onto the centre of the pastry base, keeping inside your scored line.  Sprinkle the cheese on top, glaze the pastry edges with milk and bake in the centre of the oven at 170 degrees C for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

I served this hot with a winter vegetable slaw, but it would be great cold too.

What we believe… and why

deer montageTaste the Wild courses focus on three different issues: sustainability, seasonality and locality. The core of our business is teaching people about wild food foraging. Our courses are run often from the same locations and so we collect wild edible plants from these same places throughout the season. As we teach and forage from these wild places year after year we teach people to look after the environment. We want them to understand the ecosystem that relies on the plants from which we are harvesting and only collect a proportion of what is there.brimstone montageSustainable foraging is what we teach and what we passionately believe in. Our Wild Food Aquagarden would be the ultimate way to supply larger quantities of wild salads and herbs, but it would never replace the joy of collecting a few wild treats from nature’s larder. If you agree with our philosophy have a look at our new project The Wild Food Aquagarden and see if you can support us.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/994301377/the-wild-food-aquagarden

I just walked along the river bank before writing this and saw Hogweed buds starting to form, excellent Ground Elder growing and Common Sorrel that was 12cm long! I love to keep in touch with the plants and the land, things change almost daily at this time of year and it feeds my soul.dandylion montageBesides teaching we also manage Taste the Wild’s eighteen acres of woodland for biodiversity, creating a range of habitats and managing them for both animal and plant life. The woods have become a haven for wildlife such as Buzzards, woodpeckers and deer in an area of predominantly intensive arable farming. We have an area of young conifer species which we are gradually thinning to help the natural regeneration of Birches, willows and oaks. We have created ponds and glades for insects and amphibians and along the rides we are planting smaller native broadleaf species for nuts, berries and fruit. These species give wild food to the birds, insects and mammals of the wood as well as us. We have a growing diversity of flora and fauna as shown by our species list which gets longer every year. Our facilities are basic to keep our carbon foot print as small as possible: cooking is on a wood fire (wood produced from our trees), we have composting toilets and our waste water is filtered through lava stones and sand.http://www.tastethewild.co.uk/community.html

 

Wild Garlic and Vegetable broth

IMG_6390.JPGSimple Healthy and Delicious: Once you have found a few Wild Garlic leaves this broth only takes 20 minutes to make. You can vary the vegetables if you like and serve it with crusty bread and butter. I have made this for quite a few people now and they all love it – young and old – even my Dad who doesn’t like garlic! He thought it was cabbage… hmmmm  One Day Foraging Course

Wild Garlic and Vegetable Broth Serves 3IMG_6387

1 small onion

1 stick of celery

1 carrot

2 small potatoes

A hand full of green beans

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 vegetable stock cubes

5 Wild Garlic leaves

Salt and Pepper

Peel and chop the vegetables in to very small dice. In a large pan heat the olive oil and saute the onion and celery gently for 5 minutes, add the carrot and potato and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes. Dissolve the stock cubes in 1 litre of boiling water then add this to the pan. Add the chopped green beans and simmer for 10 minutes, until the veg is just tender. Wash the Wild Garlic leaves and cut into small ribbons, add this to the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Photographs from the Cooking with Fire course on Saturday

Bilberry mousse, Meadowsweet crumb and Heather flowers.

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It has been such a busy summer so far and we have been having a great time running our foraging and cooking courses and meeting some incredible people from around the country. With all this outdoor activity going on I have been neglecting both my cooking and blogging duties.   Sorry….

It was my birthday last week and Rose and I spent the morning on the moors picking our favourite berry… the Bilberry.
Despite Bilberry pie being, in my opinion anyway, the best fruit pie in the world! I thought that as I had a bit of free time I should come up with something a bit different to do with our beautiful blue bounty. I have paired up the delicious berries with a couple of choice Summer flower flavours and a bit of crunch.

Hope you like it!

Bilberry mousse, Meadowsweet crumb and Heather flowers.

Serves 2 (quite generously)

For the mousse.
50g Bilberries. Plus a few more to decorate.
50g Caster sugar.
2 leaves of Gelatin
1/2 pint Double cream.
1 tsp Heather flowers.

For the crumb.
50g Doves farm gluten free plain flour  (or plain flour)
30g Butter.
2 tsp Caster sugar.
1 tsp Ground flax seed (optional, but does give a great nutiness and earthyness that works well with the sweet berries).
1 level tsp Dried Meadowsweet flowers pulled off the stems and crumbled..

To make the mousse. Put the berries and sugar in a the cup of a stick blender and blend to a loose puree. Soak the gelatin sheets as per the packet instructions. Scrape the puree into a small pan and put over a low heat to warm through, stirring constantly. When the sugar has all dissolved in the berry mix, squeeze all the water from the soaking gelatin and add to the warm pan. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved and set aside. Whip the cream to very soft peaks and then fold in the berry mix until you have a good even consistency with no lumps of cream. Pour/scrape this mixture into a shallow dish and put into the fridge for 1 hour to set.

While the mousse is setting make the crumb.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
Put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and ground flax seed and mix well. Grease a baking tin and spread the crumb out on it. Bake for 10 mins then remove from the oven and stir the crumbs around, return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, then stir again. Do this once more and after 20-25 mins the crumble will be pale golden and ready. Leave to cool completely then add the Meadowsweet flowers. You could scale this up and make a whole jar full of the crumb as it stores well and can be used with all sorts of Summer fruit.

To serve, spoon the mousse onto a bed of the crumb, add some fresh berries and a sprinkling of heather flowers.

***

Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

bilberries

A woody little shrub 20-50cm tall, the mid green leaves are 1-3cm long and are a pointed oval shape. They have very tiny serrations around the edge and have reddish tints towards the end of summer. The greenish pink bell shaped flowers open in early summer, to be followed by green berries. These ripen through red to a purplish black. By late summer they are about 8mm across, blue/black and often with a grey bloom. The flat top of the berry has a raised circle around it with a dot in the middle.
Look for these on acid moorland and heathland, often with Heather.

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria

meadowsweet flower1

A perennial plant up to 1.2m tall. The leaf is made up of several pairs of dark green leaflets that have sharply toothed edges. At the end of the leaf rib three are fused together. Along the leaf there are also very tiny leaflets in opposite pairs. The leaves are coarse textured, slightly shiny on top and pale underneath. Leaf ribs and flowering stems are often coloured reddish. The flower is actually a mass of creamy coloured tiny flowers they usually reach about 1m tall, they have a distinctive scent which smells like honey and almond if mild or, if strong, like antiseptic!
Flowering time June – September.

Heather Calluna vulgaris

heather

A native small shrub that grows up to 60cm tall. It has very woody old stems that are dark brown in colour. The old wood branches into lots of softer top growth. The leaves are hard and tiny, they grow along small branches giving the impression of green twigs. Pinky purple flowers open along the top section of the stems in late summer.

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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Indian inspired

We went out on Friday night to the amazing Prashad restaurant near Bradford and enjoyed some  delicious vegetarian Indian delicacies.  If you live close enough and enjoy authentic Indian cuisine, you really must go!

We particularly enjoyed the Hara Bara Kebab on the tasting plate of starters and they inspired us to recreate some with some wild flavours.

Saturday morning was spring like and beautiful, perfect for a quick jaunt up the lane and a foraging trip.

Everything is coming alive now and the tiny shoots of a couple of weeks ago have grown  into more substantial plants, still young and succulent, but easier to identify and pick.

Image

We foraged Wild Garlic Allium ursinum, Hedge garlic Alliaria petiolata, Stinging nettle Urtica dioica, Large bittercress Cardamine amara and Cleavers Galium aparine.

With a good haul of greens we dived straight in to a recipe for Wild Hara Bara!

We had to guess some of the ingredients and  I bet the chefs at  Prashad have a secret spice mix that make their’s taste so amazing, but ours were pretty good and we will without doubt be doing a bit more experimentation.  I reckon they might even make it onto some of our course menus this year.

Here is our recipe.

1 potato, peeled, boiled and mashed

1/4 Cauliflower, grated

1/2 Carrot, grated

50g wild greens

30g gram flour (chickpea flour)

30g Cornflour

1 teaspoon Garam masala

2 pinch Asafetida (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

1-3 chillis ( depending how hot you like it)

Method.

Blanch the wild greens by putting them in a colander and pouring a whole kettle of boiling water over them. Immediately refresh them in cold water then squeeze out most of the moisture. Chop these blanched greens finely.

Put the garlic cloves and chillis in a pestle and mortar with a little salt and bash to a paste.

Now combine all the ingredients in a large bowl,  get your hands in for this and make sure its all mixed really well and holding together.

with clean hands take a lump of the mix and form it into a sausage shape about an inch thick and two inches long, repeat this until all the mixture has gone.

Shallow fry the Hara bara , turning regularly to get and even colour. They should be crisp on the outside. This will take about 10 minutes or so.

Now serve.

We ate ours with a veg curry and rice but I reckon they would be great as a stater with a bit of wild garlic and mint riaita.

Just a word of warning for those of you going out to make the most of the first flush of spring growth. Lords and ladies is growing very well at the moment in hedge bottoms and woodland edges. It’s bright green leaves look succulent and appealing, but these are really quite unpleasant and poisonous, so beware as you forage! As always be sure of the identification of anything you eat.