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

Wild food cookery course

We have had many requests for an ‘in depth’ wild food cookery course, so here it is!

We have designed this day to give you real taste of seasonal wild ingredients and during the day Chris will teach you, as if in your own kitchen, how to cook great dishes that will bring new  flavours to your table.

The venue for the course is The Yorkshire Wolds cookery school, near Driffield, which gives us all the facilities we need for a fabulous day of cooking and eating.

The use of the cookery school allows us to explore some more refined recipes that we would find hard to do over an open fire in the woods. Chris has created dishes that make the most of autumn’s bounty and also teach you some great core cookery skills like game preparation, curing and preserving as well as the processing of interesting wild ingredients like Burdock and acorns.

cured venison

The day will be a mixture of demonstrations from Chris and plenty of hands on cooking sessions in the schools beautiful teaching kitchen.  Lunch will be cooked as part of the course and you will also take away a goody bag and a comprehensive set of recipes for all the dishes.

Planned menu

A terrine of rabbit, black pudding and cobnut with apple and hawthorn.

Cured venison loin, elderberry ketchup, pickled berries and smoked oil.

Roast partridge, hogweed spiced squash, and burdock chips

Acorn panna cotta

Skills covered on the day

Jointing a rabbit.
Terrine making.
Simple curing.
Ketchup making.
Preparing and roasting game birds.
Preparing and cooking with burdock.
Preparing and processing acorns.
Making panna cotta.

To book the course go to our main website here www.tastethewild.co.uk/courses-extracourses.html 

Accommodation is available at the Yorkshire Wolds cookery school and this can be booked directly with Highfield farm. http://highfieldfarm.co.uk/bed-breakfast .

Rhubarb, Gorse Flower and Mascarpone Cake

3 Rhubarb and Gorse flower cake

If you’ve never tasted Gorse flowers and you see some, pick a couple of handfuls and celebrate Spring with this fabulous cake

This is a Victoria sponge made extra special by the addition of fruit, flowers and cream cheese. A decadent indulgence for a special occasion. Gorse flowers have a fragrant, almost tropical taste that really complements the acidity of rhubarb.

      Cake

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g softened butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Filling

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 250g softened butter
  • 280g cream cheese
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g icing sugar

Decoration

  • 2 hand-fulls of Gorse flowers
  • 1 egg white
  • Caster sugar

First wash the Gorse flowers if necessary, gently pat dry and lay them out on a tray so that any insects fly away.

2 Rhubarb and Gorse flowers

Then start making the cake. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C, then grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins. Sieve the flour in to a bowl with the salt and mix together. In a separate bowl or food mixer beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy (about 5 mins). Beat in the eggs one at a time adding a tablespoon of flour with each egg. Add the rest of the flour and vanilla extract and fold in with a metal spoon. Add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff then divide it between the tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until springy on top. Leave to cool in the tins.

Wash and cut the rhubarb in to 5cm lengths. Put it in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water, 100g sugar and 15g butter. Heat very gently to poach the rhubarb, carefully turning it occasionally, after about 20 minutes it will be tender. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool and drain. Save the poaching syrup to serve with the cake.

To crystalize the Gorse flowers, first prepare 2 drying trays by laying greaseproof paper on to baking sheets and pour some caster sugar in to shallow dish. Now put the egg white and a teaspoon full of water in to a bowl, mix with a fork to loosen then add the flowers. Mix well in the egg white, then remove the flowers squeezing well to remove excess egg. Coat the flowers as thoroughly as possible in caster sugar then lay them out on the drying trays. Dry the flowers in the oven on the coolest setting or in another warm airy place. They take around 2 hours in the oven. When you think they are dry squeeze one to check that is not moist in the middle. When dry store in an air tight container.

1 Crystalizing Gorse flowers

To decorate the cake

Beat the softened butter then add the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract   mix well then the sieved icing sugar and mix again. This filling will go inside the cake and coat the sides and top. Assemble the cake spreading some filling inside and half the rhubarb. Then coat the sides and top with the remaining mix and top with rhubarb. Blitz up most of the Gorse flowers in a spice grinder or food processor (saving some for decoration) Just before serving sprinkle the Gorse powder on the top and sides of the cake and put the whole flowers on the top.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Wild herb and ricotta pithivier

Rose wanted me to call this a pasty, she thought I was being pretentious but I’m sticking to my guns because I think they are a little more refined than a true pasty.  Of course you could make them much bigger if you wanted to use them for a lunch dish or a picnic but these are perfect for a starter size with nice dressed salad.

I had a walk along the riverbank yesterday morning and collected some lovely young wild greens/herbs. I just needed a few handfuls and fifteen minutes of foraging gave me a lovely selection of Ground elder, Stinging nettles, Common sorrel and Cleavers.

Common Sorrel rumex acetosa

Common sorrel

A perennial plant that grows to 80cm tall when flowering. Outside its flowering season common sorrel has oval dark green leaves up to 12cm long and 4cm wide. The leaves have two pointed lobes that stick back from the leaf stem. The flowers grow on stems up to 80cm tall and are like little red and green beads. The leaves on the flowering stalks are smaller and more pointed than those that grow from the ground. They clasp around the stem.

 

Cleavers galium aparine

Cleavers 2One 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 plants leaves are up to 3cm long. It 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 by little hard ball seeds that stick to your socks.

 

Ground elder  Aegopodium podagraria

ground elderA 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 and aniseed.

 

Wild herb and ricotta pithivier  Makes 6

IMG_3119[1]

Ingredients

500g pack of puff pastry
250g Ricotta cheese
30g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 large leaves of wild garlic
3 Handfuls of wild greens
Salt and pepper
1 egg,  beaten for egg washing

Method

Wash the wild greens very well, blanch them in boiling water for 20 seconds and refresh in very cold water.  Once completely cold, squeeze out as much water as possible from the greens and blend to a paste with the olive oil and Wild garlic in a pestle and mortar or stick blender.

In a bowl, stir together the Ricotta, Parmesan and herb paste until you have a nice even mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set this filling aside and prepare a well floured surface to roll out your pastry. Divide the pastry into two and roll each piece out to about a 2mm thickness, you really need to get the pastry this thin as it will overwhelm the flavours of the filling if it is too thick. Out of one sheet cut out six circles 11cm in diameter put onto baking parchment and set aside. Now cut six 12cm circles from the second sheet, these will form the tops of the pithivier and need to be this slightly bigger size to accommodate the filling.

Lay out the bases (smaller circle) and divide the filling between the discs making sure you leave enough pastry around the edge to seal it, about 1cm should be good. Egg wash this outside ring of pastry and place a larger pastry circle on top , push down the sides and seal the egg washed edges You can then use a larger circular cutter to trim the sealed parcels into a perfect circle if you wish.  I then use a fork to seal the edges further by pressing the tines all around the edge where I have sealed it with my fingers.   Repeat for the other pastry discs. Use a knife to make two holes in the top of of each sealed parcel.

Egg wash the pithivier, place on a lined baking sheet (or two) and bake at 180 centigrade for 20 minutes until golden and puffed up. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving with a dressed salad.