Evergreen Ice Cream

We served this to a friend last week and he said it was the best ice cream he had ever tasted! So here is the recipe.

This recipe requires you to make a tincture of Pine needles 24 hours before you make the Ice Cream. It’s very simple to do with Pine, Spruce or Fir tree needles.  

Pine Needle Tincture

  • 3 tablespoons of washed and finely chopped Pine needles
  • 30ml Vodka
  • ¼ teaspoonful of sugar
pine tincture

There has been no colour enhancement here. It really does turn this green!!

Dry the pine needles on a piece of kitchen roll, chop very finely and put them in to a small jar. Add the vodka and sugar, put on the lid and give it a good shake. Leave for 24 hours shaking it every few hours. When you are ready to use it strain through a tea strainer into a small clean cup or jug.

 

Pine Chocolate Chip Ice CreamPine Choc Chip ice cream

  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • A few grains of salt
  • 200ml Milk
  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 2tbsp/30ml Pine Needle Tincture
  • 100g Dark Chocolate Chips
  • A couple of drops of green food colouring (optional)

Put the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Put the milk in a pan and heat gently until very hot but not 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. Add the double cream and Pine needle Tincture then leave to cool. If you have an ice cream maker pre-cool it, add the Ice cream mixture and churn for 30 minutes or until nearly ready, add the Chocolate chips and churn for another few minutes. Then put it in a sandwich box and store in the freezer. 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 again adding the Chocolate Chips when nearly set.

I made some little tuile biscuits to go with the Ice Cream. (recipe below) The orange in them complimented the pine and chocolate nicely. A pine syrup would be good as well… Let us know if you come up with other good combinations.

Gluten Free Almond and Orange Tuiles

  • 50g Ground Almonds
  • 30g Potato flour (or plain flour)
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 70g butter melted
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange or lemon zest

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with baking parchment.In a bowl mix together ground almonds, potato flour, sugar and salt then whisk in the egg whites, butter, zest, and vanilla extract until combined well. Drop rounded teaspoons or batter about 10cm apart onto baking sheet and with back of a spoon spread into 7cm ovals. Try to keep these distances – if you let the tuiles get too close, they’ll morph into one giant slab. This is fine, but it won’t look as nice when cut into squares. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden on the edges.

Working quickly, remove the tuiles, from the baking sheet with a thin spatula and rest over a rolling pin to make then curl. If you want flat tuiles transfer them straight on to a cooling rack.

Continue until the remaining batter is used up. You can re-use the baking parchment until it becomes damp and wobbly, then replace. When the tuiles are completely cool store in an airtight container. They can be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container.

Wild herb Dukkah

I have never been keen on dipping bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Of course if you are fortunate enough to have some terrifically good oil or deliciously aged balsamic it makes sense, but more often than not the condiments in my cupboard are not top notch.

If you want to create a dipping experience that makes up for the imperfections of your oil,here is a perfect solution.

Dukkah.  A crunchy mix of herbs, seeds and nuts that makes dipping delicious again.  The original recipe is from Egypt, its name coming from the word ‘to crush ‘ or ‘to pound’ and that describes its preparation perfectly.

This simple version uses three ingredients we regularly forage for and preserve. Nettle, Wild garlic and Sumac.  For this recipe they are all used in their dried form.

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Wild herb Dukkah

Ingredients

 2 tablespoons Golden linseed
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 heaped tablespoon dried nettle powder
1 heaped tablespoon dried garlic powder
1 Teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 Teaspoon Sumac (foraged or bought) For foraging tips see this related article.
Black pepper to taste.

Toast the seeds gently in a hot pan. Once toasted golden brown, set aside to cool. Once cool add the rest of the ingredients, put into a pestle and mortar or food processor and grind to a rough granular texture.  Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with bread and good olive oil.

Dip your bread in the oil, then the Dukkah to create a delicious, crunchy aromatic crust.

 

Wild Garlic or nettle powder
(Nettle powder is made in the same way using just the top 4 sets of leaves from each plant.  Leave the stems on until after drying and remove before crushing leaves to a powder)

For this preserve you need a large carrier bag full of leaves.

Wash and dry the leaves and chop off the stems (you can use these in a stir fry or similar). Now lay the leaves on the shelves of the oven with a large baking tray on the bottom to catch any bits. Put the oven on at a low heat 50-80 degrees C with the door open a crack. In our fan oven the leaves dry in about an hour. Periodically check the leaves and move them around if there are wet and dry patches. Once the leaves are bone dry put them in a pestle and mortar or a food processor with a sprinkling of sea salt flakes. Grind or blitz them until you have a rough powder and then store it in an airtight container. This powder is incredibly versatile and  is a perfect way to have delicious wild garlic flavour all year round.

 

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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Raise a glass to this year’s fabulous hedgerow harvest

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The participants on last Saturday’s One day foraging course enjoying Hedgerow Vodka. Click this link for the recipe

……………… and see below some photos from the day.

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.

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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.

 

 

Wild greens in February? Alexanders.

Alexanders grows near the coast and adds a wonderful flavour to fish dishes

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Here is a great recipe which combines the warm, celery like flavour of Alexanders with Leek, Chilli and Pollock to make an unusual warming winter stew.

Alexanders were brought to the UK by the Romans – as were lots of our wild weeds. Historically the plant would have been used as celery, cooked as a vegetable or added to the cooking pot to add flavour, texture and nutrients to a stew.

The medieval name for the plant translates as ‘Rock Parsley of Alexandria’ it has been said that the plant was named after Alexander the Great but it is likely that the plant came from the city of Alexandria where it was found growing. See bottom of page for foraging notes.

Alexanders fish Stew

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Collect the tender stems of the Alexanders before it flowers, this can be from February through to late spring. If you can’t get Pollock use another firm fleshed white fish.

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • half a teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 2 leeks washed and sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 500g new potatoes cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1ltr fish stock
  • 500g Pollock fillet skinned and cut into chunks
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • ½ red chilli chopped finely
  • 200g Alexanders stems

To prepare the Alexanders first give them a good wash, cut off the leafy tops and trim the stem bases. Remove the strings and cut the stems in to 5cm pieces. Now to make the stew, melt the butter in a large pan, add ½ of the garlic, fennel seeds and the leeks and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. While the soup is cooking make a quick rouille by combining the mayonnaise, garlic and chilli – mix well then set aside. When the soup has been cooking for 15 minutes add the fish to the pan and stir gently. Now steam the Alexanders stems for 2 – 4 minutes until just nicely cooked. Before serving check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary. Spoon in to 4 bowls topping with the Alexanders and rouille.

Some of you will have eaten a similar stew on the first night of our 2 day Staithes Coastal Course. We often use Sweet Cicely or fennel as flavouring instead of Alexanders, it is different but equally good.

To learn about coastal foraging we have places on our 1 day coastal foraging courses in July and September where we teach about the edible seaweeds, shellfish and coastal plants around Staithes in North Yorkshire. Click here for more information.

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Alexanders  Smyrnium olustrum

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A biennial plant that’s identification can be confirmed by smell (leaves and stems smell like Parsley/celery when crushed between your fingers). At the start of spring shiny bright green leaves appear forming a hummock. The leaf is made up of small glossy leaflets attached to small stalks which are then attached to stalks and then the main leaf stem. The flowering stems grow up to 1.2m and are topped with yellowy green umbrella like flowers. The flowers are followed by seeds from summer onwards which turn from green to black. The plant dies after it has set seed but usually there are others waiting to take its place.

The plant is commonly found around the coasts and occasionally inland but it is at its most obvious at this time of year when it is one of the first plants to be seen growing in the hedge bottoms and at the sides of coastal paths

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.