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Wild Food Walk & Feast at Skelton Grange Environment Centre

Wild Food Walk & Feast @ Skelton Grange Environment Centre

I was very excited and proud at the prospect of hosting events at TCV Skelton Grange Environment Centre this year (click on the following link for more details about www.tcv.org.uk/skeltongrange ). The first event held was the wild food walk and wild food feast. There was a lovely chilled vibe on the day and a really great turn out. The grounds and centre at Skelton are an excellent location for this kind of event and indeed for all the other environmentally themed events hosted there. Lot's of different habitats playing host to a plethora of edible and interesting flora. A huge thank you to Caroline Crossley for her kind and generous support throughout the day, taking photos, warming food, cleaning dishes, opening/closing the centre etc etc... and for making everyone feel extremely welcome. I'm really looking forward to hosting similar events there in 2015.

Sloe fruits
 








Wood Avens roots, a warming aromatic spice akin to cloves










Hawthorn berries. Great for sauces,
flavouring booze & strengthening the heart.























Time for food. The whole group assisted in collecting various wild greens we had discussed on the day for making the salad. I brought in various pre-cooked elements as well as a range of produce gathered and preserved throughout the year. I also brought in two soups, Sorrel and Rosehip/Apple. No pics were taken but both were devoured (maybe I'll add pics when I make a batch next year).

Tucking into various pickles and jellies
Salad of Dandelion, Chickweed,
Water Mint, White Dead Nettle,
Yarrow and a Sweet Elderberry Vinaigrette
+ Two Sorrel & Goats Cheese Tarts.




















Yorkshire Salted Cobnut
 & Himalayan Balsam/Nettle Seed Breads.
Delicious with the soups.
Big thanks to Artisan Bakery in Headingley who kindly
donated some of his own dough for the breads.
If you are interested in a similar kind of event being hosted for you and a group of friends, family, colleagues, please feel free to contact Craig at: edible.leeds@gmail.com or call on 07899 752 447.



Otley Walking Festival June 29th Blubberhouses

A great turn out for the Otley Walking Festival 2014. A fantastic group, that again, made the experience such an enjoyable one - my second year of involvement with the festival. Big thanks to those of you that came along to discover the veritable array of wild foods just waiting to be discovered. Thanks to, Michael Green, for joining me yet again and taking photos. I focused much of the walk around common, easily identifiable and in season plants (I find that common plants can be much over-looked and it's such a shame as they are great tasting additions to the diet). Plants discovered along the route were; Elder, Nettle, Raspberry, Sorrel, Wood Sorrel, Chickweed, Dandelion, Wood Avens, Himalayan Balsam, Angelica. Thanks to, Ben, for identifying the leaf of a plant I picked out of vague recollection/curiosity, as Wood Sage.

First port of call. Introducing, the amazing Elder Tree (Sambucus nigra). Really is one of my favourite wild friends, such a wide range of uses (edible and medicinal), that produces a variety of flavours, aromas and textures. A foraging necessity!






Giving tips on Nettle tips (Urtica dioica).The larger older leaves of nettles should be avoided at this time of year due to the formation of crystals or cystoliths which cause internal irritation, they also have a laxative effect.







Please, stop taming nature where there is clearly no need to! Some, 'tamer of nature', had strimmed the wild edges of what is usually a prolific spot for an array of wild goodies including, yarrow, wild strawberries, violets and hogweed (to name but a few). Fortunately, the tamer had missed the Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa). 





Even the cows found me a-moo-sing! They were a really rowdy bunch - a constant chorus of loud bellows - which made it difficult for me to make myself herd!








The Otley Walking Festival is an annual event which has just had it's 14th birthday. The festival is held over a period of one week and comprises a range of themed and un-themed walks. For more information please visit: www.otleywalkingfestival.btck.co.uk/

  
Talk and Tasting Event with Sassy Divas 14th May

My first Wild Food Talk & Taster Session on, Wednesday, 14th May was a great experience and given the feedback a roaring success. The Sassy Divas are a local community and activities group for women based in Bramley, Leeds. The talk was held at St Peters Church in Bramley.



At my events and courses I'm always eager to encourage engagement with our senses. Our senses play an essential, vital and powerful role in our everyday lives but just how aware of them are we and do we utilise their full potential (?) - I sense the potential for a more in-depth article, no pun intended! To facilitate awareness, and make an ordinary talk more interesting, I like to bring along a variety of fresh, raw wild edibles, freshly prepared foods, preserves and drinks to get sensory with - picture on left.

I would like to add more images from the event but the pictures taken are in real time and I just seem to be making a series of funny and pained looking expressions, and while you may not wish to see those, I far from relish the prospect too. After a 45 minute talk with questions and answers we all got acquainted and friendly with the food & drink. Fresh raw edibles included Wild Garlic - pungent, aromatic and punchy in the taste department. Japanese Knotweed - Sharp, citrus and acidic with regards to taste and definitively ambrosial when made into an off-set jelly. Common Sorrel - Tart, sour (with a hint of apple), mouth wateringly refreshing and according to a pupil on one of my educational sensory wild food walks, fizzy - lovely! :0). Nettles - deep, earthy and when handled/prepared correctly  delightful raw. They also make a refreshing and energising tea. Ground Elder - widely used as a pot-herb before the introduction of parsley, nuff said. Common Hogweed Shoots - one of my absolute springtime favourites, succulent, aromatic, a culinary delight! 
Aside from the raw, I prepared a fresh Goats Cheese, caramelised onion and wild garlic tart and another replacing the garlic with sorrel. Breads, cheeses, various wild homemade pickles, wild fruit/flower vinegars, cordials, fresh herb teas and sorrel and vanilla cream puff pastries were also brought for sampling.

If you'd like to book Edible Leeds for a similar event or for your own Wild Food Cook Up, or to discuss an event, please email: edible.leeds@gmail.com or call Craig on 07899752447 

Barnoldswick Food Festival 26th April @ the Rainhall Centre

What a fantastic day and the first ever Food Festival for Edible Leeds, wicked time! Amazing vibe and atmosphere and met some really fab folks! I took lot's of preserves (wild infused vinegars, jams/jellies, pickled/dried mushrooms and some fresh ones!) for people to tryand buy (which they did :0)). A live cooking demo was organised for 1pm and I made a Wild Spring Green Soup (Nettle, Wild Garlic and Ground Elder) which went down a treat. Thanks to the Rainhall Centre for inviting me, Danielle Kay (Wise Woman Herbalist) for recommending me, Artisan Bakery in Headingley for the delicious handmade breads, and to all that attended and made it such a fantastic and memorable event, roll on next year!

The Stall looking nice and tidy before the cooking demo!










Cooking up!









                              

                                                                                   Serving up the Wild Spring Green Soup.

                                                





If you would like to book Edible Leeds for similar events or for your own Wild Food Cook Up, you can contact me at: edible.leeds@gmail.com or call me on 07899752447

Kirkstall Forage with Kirkstall Community Gardens 13th April

Currently waiting for photos to go with this posting.

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