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Sapori d'estate - A Taste of Summer

Sunday, the 11th of July, saw me teaming up once again with my two very lovely, generous, food passionate Italian friends, Maurizio & Cinzia of La Locanda.  The first time we worked together, fusing traditional Italian foods with wild and local seasonal produce from Yorkshire & Lancashire, to create our unique style of multi-course dining, was in late November 2021. On that occasion, we served our unique food-fusion to 26 dinner guests at 'Convivio Selvaggio' which translates to 'Friendly, Lively & Social', an occasion much required after the never-before-experienced and lengthy lockdowns, the nations populace had endured.  Our celebration of summer began with a breakfast of Italian style, sweet/savoury pastries, with a wild meadowsweet infused strawberry jam and choice of tea or coffee. We then began our 2.5 hour foraging adventure on the Lancashire coast, where I lovingly revealed the wild, edible delights of the saltmarsh, mudflats and green spaces fringi
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Dandelion

I have very fond memories of gathering Dandelion leaves as a child in order to feed them to my pet rabbits, of picking the full flowers and racing around the local park, arms outstretched, imagining myself an airplane and using my thumbs to flick the flowerhead missiles clasped tightly in my hands. I remember picking the furry looking, globe-shaped seed heads, taking a deep breath and then exhaling fiercely in an attempt to magically synchronise the number of exhales with the time of day and of peeling the hollow stems, to see how many thin strips I could reduce it to while occasionally touching the very tip of my tongue to the white sap and then recoiling in humour-fuelled-horror at the extremely bitter flavour: happy days! I hope those of you reading this remember your early memories with dandelion?   As I grew older, my attention turned to more pressing, age-related activities, mischief and social norms and I slowly began to forget those days of simple, innocent play and wonder but,

Season of the Alliums

It's all been a bit Allium bonkers these past few days. As some of you will know, spring heralds the  return of the wild alliums; wild garlic, few flowered leek, 3 cornered leek, chives and many other species. Annual allium tasks that have been keeping me busy this time around are the making of:  Pestos, Lacto-ferments, Flavoured Oils, Plant Protein Curds, Wild Garlic Butter So far, I've made:                                                                                                                                  2.5kg of Wild Garlic Pesto                                                                                                                 1.5kg of Few Flowered Leek Pesto                                                                                                             .1 litre of Few Flowered Leek Oil                                                                                                         .1kg of Few Flowered Leek Ferment             

Acorns

Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow! And from those little acorns a range of superb, wild crafted products can be obtained, in this case, flour.  I've been intending to make acorn flour for several years now (it's currently 2017!), either time hasn't been on my side, acorns have been sparse, or I've just been so engrossed in other wild food experiments that my intentions just haven't come to fruition. A key factor that eventually led to me making acorn flour was my first ever tasting of acorn bread in December 2015. After attending the first ever Association of Foragers meet ( https://foragers-association.org/  ), myself and a friend met with another friend to hang out in Cornwall for a few days. On the very first morning, Chris who had been up since 4am, had baked a fresh loaf of acorn bread, he served up a couple of slices complete with a perfectly poached egg, lashings of shaved perigord truffle, wall penny-wort, truffle oil and seasoning, and it blew me

The Joys of Coastal Foraging: Seaweeds

It will come as no surprise that the UK is an island and therefore bordered by a vast and magnificent coastline. I imagine most of us were introduced to the delights of the seaside as children, which included many joyous and seemingly timeless hours of innocent fun, exploring rock-pools and coastal caves, racing imaginary horses (unicorns?) along and through the fringes of the incoming and outgoing tides, eating ice-cream and partially burying your favourite, yet annoying sibling and sculpting them into strange creations, adorned with various coastal debris & tucking fish n chip dinners, complete with the random obligatory grains of sand that somehow find their way in no matter how carefully you attempt to fend off their incursions - magic! I've always been fascinated by the coast and the majority of my childhood holidays were spent at various coastal locations around the UK: I consider myself very fortunate to have experienced those times. Our coastline, for the majority

Japanese Quince Jelly, Syrup and Sweets

Japanese Quince is one of my autumn favourites and one I make a beeline for every year. You can read more about these delightfully scented,  mouth-puckering and fabulously versatile little fruits here:  https://edible-leeds.blogspot.com/2017/11/quince-quince-glorious-quince.html   Japanese Quince Jelly   This beautifully sharp, sweet and dreamily aromatic jelly is one of the creations that go into my JQ Knickerbocker Glory, it also works well spread on to warm toast or served alongside game meats, particularly wildfowl and is great added to sauces to provide an edge of acidity, sweetness and aromatic attitude. There are many other applications for this jelly, so get busy gathering, creating and playing... 1kg Japanese Quince 750g Golden Granulated Sugar Water Wash the fruits to remove any dirt and then place them whole in a large pan. Add water to cover, (approximately 800ml) and bring to the boil, once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until all the fruits split. Pour the contents of