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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
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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:   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

Chicken of the Woods

Wild mushrooms have a special place in my heart. My wild food and foraging journey stemmed from an interest in them before branching out into plants and seaweeds. The 'silent hunt', as Antonio Carluccio so beautifully and aptly put it, is one of my favourite things. To find yourself at ease, wandering and treading gently, on the fringes of or deep within and beneath, the multi-layered, multi-coloured patchwork of woodland canopies, or in ancient meadows, in anticipation of the sometimes elusive, yet always magical and mysterious organisms that comprise the 5th kingdom is a pure delight. Fungi are truly fascinating, yet the great majority of the uk population have yet to discover just how awesome, intriguing, fascinating and tasty they can be. Most people think the best time of year for finding wild mushrooms is in the 'autumn' and, although there is some truth in this, it's not the whole truth. Spring, summer and winter can prove very fruitful (fung-ful) when it

Sea Kale

If you are lucky and live close to the sea, especially in striking distance of a shingle beach, then you may just find Sea Kale... As far as coastal edibles go, Sea Kale rocks: it's a true foragers delight! Throughout the winter you will detect very little in the way of signs indicating if Sea Kale is present: it's sleeping, snugly beneath the shingle awaiting Spring... The first signs of life generally begin in very late winter, if mild enough, or very early spring. Tiny leaf shoots, wake from their wintry slumber and start to force their way up through the shingle. As the season progresses, more and more shoots appear. Leaves, whether new or mature, come in an assortment of mixed and magnificent colours (see image top right): greens, purples, reds, greys and lilacs. They are crinkly edged and become more open and round edged with age. Eventually, the flowering shoots appear on thick, tender, circular stalks and look remarkably similar to purple sprouting broccoli. In

Common Sorrel

Wow! What a wonderfully, flavour packed herb Common Sorrel is! For such a delicious plant it really doesn't get the attention or kudos it so rightly deserves. Aside from it's super tart and punchy taste profile, it's an easy plant to identify, abundant and very versatile in the kitchen, forming the base of many an amazing dish whether savoury or sweet. Identification and Habitat: Common Sorrel has a preference for grassy areas; meadows, waste ground, fields and gardens. Each plant produces numerous leaves and can therefore be treated like cut and come lettuce (continuously produces leaves, except when in flower/seed stage).  Common Sorrel (as with Sheep Sorrel) has very obvious identification features and it's wise to spend time familiarising yourself with these. One particularly stand-out feature is the distinctive 'split' located at the base of each leaf, instead of attaching to the leaf stem it splays out, akin to a snakes tongue (see image).  Leaves ar

4 Wild Seasons Winter Pop Up: Game For It. Saturday 29th February. Leeds

Hard to believe a full year has flown since hosting our last winter pop up - time flies! Spurred on by glowing feedback from diners at last years event, we can't wait to get back in the kitchens and tantalise your taste-buds once more. The following link will take you to a page I recently published, explaining more about 4 wild seasons and it's ethics: Game For It... 4 Wild Seasons are taking over the kitchens once again at Seven Arts:  in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, to cook and serve you a menu that is local, seasonal, natural, wild & different. Game For It, will be a 6 course, 2 canape and petit four, taste odyssey, featuring the harnessed yet untamed flavours of forest, hedgerow, mountain, coast & meadow, bringing you the very best in wild, seasonal, foraged and other flavours. All foraged & non-foraged ingredients will be ethically sourced, lovingly ferm