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Showing posts from March, 2017

Pheasant and Wild Garlic Dolmades

I should really call this 'when opportunity knocks'! There are moments when opportunities arise while out and about, it's all about good fortune, random happenings, destiny (however you like to call it) and whether or not to act on the opportunities presented - when it comes to road-kill pheasant, I'm always happy to swing with the opportunity. This recent RTA bird was initially destined to become 'Pheasant Kiev'. However, while out early yesterday morning to pick the wild garlic required, my mind drifted and happened upon another idea I've had for a while, a take on Dolmades - this was in part due to the terrific size of some of the leaves I was finding, they were perfect for wrapping into mouth watering parcels and a bit of fun too.

The following recipe made 8 dolmades and there is still enough mixture left over for at least 6 more - I should have picked more leaves! It's a flavour fusion reminiscent of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the UK.


Nettle, Wild Garlic and Ground Elder Soup

It's officially Spring, a time of new beginnings, longer daylight hours (yeeha!) and powerful, nutritious herbs. This recipe is one I first made a number of years back, at my first ever food festival - I had a 30 minute slot, so needed something quick easy and representative of some of the tasty, nutritious and powerful herbs available - it's a recipe that I've tweaked over the years and recent tweaks have left me feeling very satisfied with the results and those who have shared a bowl or two with me. The great joy of this soup, other than it's delicious and satisfying taste, is the ease of identification of the wild ingredients, the very small quantities required and the simplicity regarding the cooking. This isn't just a 'simply green tasting soup', this is wild gourmet food at it's simplest and finest.


75g Nettle Tops
75g Wild Garlic
35g Ground Elder
2 Onions
5 Garlic Cloves
1 - 2 Tbsps Fermented Brown Rice Miso Paste
2 - 3 Tbsps Coconut…

Wild Mushroom Tart

200g All Butter Puff Pastry
400g Wild Mushrooms, roughly sliced (if using dried, re-hydrate in boiling water for 30 mins)
Quater pint of Chicken Stock
50ml Double Cream
1 x Onion (medium) sliced & chopped fine
2 x Garlic Cloves crushed/chopped fine
Fresh Thyme
Salt & Pepper

1. Place mushrooms, onion & garlic in a pan, add chicken stock, double cream & simmer gently 20-30 mins
2. Remove half the quantity of mushrooms/onion/garlic with a slotted spoon and put to one side in a small sieve and leave to drain over a bowl.
3 Blend the remaining mushroom/onion/garlic/stock & over a low heat reduce moisture content until you end up with a thick-ish paste.
4. Roll out the puff pastry to a thickness of approx 1.5mm, crimp edges to form a small wall, spread the mushroom paste all over & top with the reserved chopped mushrooms, season with salt, pepper and thyme, brush the pastry edges with egg yolk and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 celsius for approx …

Autumn & Everything is Fungi-Dory

25ml Chanterelle Infused Botanist Gin
25ml Four Fungi Schnapps
Dash of Bog Myrtle Bitters
12.5ml Rowan Berry Verjus
Carbonated Cep Tonic Water or standard Tonic Water
Slice of Fresh Porcini or a Porcini Crisp

I'm really pleased with this one, deep, earthy mushroom notes, gin infused herbs and spices with a vibrant yet bitter Rowanberry Verjus.

Japanese Knotweed or Rhubarb & Sweet Cicely infused Liquer

10 Fresh young tender stalks of Japanese Knotweed or4 Stalks fresh very Young Rhubarb
6-8 Sweet Cicely Stems and Leaves
1 Cinnamon Stick
100g Honey
Juice of 1 Orange
Sugar to taste (I prefer to do this after de-canting)

Wash and chop the Japanese Knotweed or Rhubarb and Sweet Cicely. 

Place in a Kilner jar. Add all other ingredients and leave for 3 weeks, shake jar every couple of days. 

Strain through doubled muslin cloth. Add sugar to taste. 

Bottle or put back in jar. Rhubarb liquer meets Ouzo and quite a kick to boot!

The addition of japanese knotweed injects a golden orange hue. Held up to the sunlight it looks like liquid sunshine.

Toasted Hazelnut Liquer

Dreamy. Delicious.

Approx 300g Wild Hazelnuts, shelled
70cl bottle Vodka
Nip of Brandy
Excellent quality vanilla extract (or vanilla pod)

Place hazels on a baking tray and toast in oven, 10/15 mins @180 deg C. Remove half way through and split open. Pop in oven until golden/lightly toasted. 

Remove from oven and take three quarters off the tray, place the remaining quarter back in oven and roast until dark brown. 

Remove and leave to cool, place in a kilner jar, add vodka, brandy and leave 3-4 weeks. 

Strain through double/triple muslin cloth into a clean vessel. 

Dissolve a quantity of sugar in a small amount of water (according to personal taste) & gradually add to the strained vodka, once you've found the perfect balance add vanilla extract. I've taken this on walks and events and some have literally gone 'nuts' about it!

Mushroom Vodka

If you love wild fungi & you love a bit o booze, you'll love this. We supped this as we wondered the woods, we could see the mycelium running... The perfect tipple while on the forage for wild mushrooms. Chaga & Turkey Tail add medicinal qualities.

70cl Vodka
Penny Bun
Turkey Tail

Break chants & penny bun into smaller pieces, add a quantity of finely chopped Chaga, Turkey Tail and place in a kilner jar, cover with vodka & let the magic happen.

The Scrump

25ml Botanist Gin
25ml Wild Vermouth
50ml Apple Verjus
Tonic Water (optional)
Slice of De-hydrated Apple
Foraged Straws optional but Angelica works well

Newton would have been knocked silly by the amount of apples dropping to the floor. The perfect drink at the end of a blustery, fun day of apple scrumping. 

Adding freshly obtained Apple Juice (Verjus) adds extra layers of satisfaction. 

Locating yourself beneath your favourite apple tree adds a nice ambience to the supping occasion - hard hats are optional! 

Different apple fruits lend a variety of dimensions with regards to flavour & taste - the combination game awaits. Try popping a couple of dry, crushed Hogweed seeds, a cracking combo :)

Check the Botanist Gin for more inspiring recipes:

Blackthorn Pacheran

Wow! A gem of a recipe originating from the Basque region of Spain. 

I tweaked a version John Renston of Forage London popped online - cheers John. 

Created using a aniseed liquor such as Ouzo, Raki, Pernod infused with a range of herbs & spices; chamomile flowers, cinnamon stick, coffee beans & orange peel. 

John adds a lovely vanilla twist in his versionpod. I was fortunate enough to have a bottle of Japanese Knotweed & Sweet Cicely Liqueur on my shelf, so used that as the 'aniseed' element (recipe further down page). 

Into a kilner jar add: 500ml Vodka & 500ml Aniseed liqueur, 
350g Sloes, 
Peel of 1 Orange, 
Chamomile Flowers, 
Fresh Ground Coffee or 8 'Arabica' Coffee Beans, 
1 Vanilla Pod or Vanilla Extract (don't confuse with Vanilla Essence!)
Half a Cinnamon Stick. 

Give it a good shake & put in a dark place for approx 1 month or 6, or 12 and then strain through muslin bottle and enjoy! Longer you leave it, better it gets...After str…

Honeysuckle Wine

1litre open Honeysuckle Blossoms (collected on a warm sunny afternoon & pressed down lighlty)
2.5lb Golden Granulated Sugar
250g Organic Raisins, chopped (adds 'body' to the wine)
Zest of 1 & Juice of 2 Large Lemons (natural citric acid)
4.5 litres filtered tap water or spring water (the less chemicals the better!)
5 Mature Oak Leaves (adds tannin) or use 1tsp Grape tannin powder
1-2 tsps nutrient
1 packet Sauternes Yeast

Place blossoms in fermentation bin, pour over the cold water, add sugar, lemon zest/juice, raisins, oak leaves & leave 24 hours, stirring ocassionally. 

Next day add nutrient and yeast and cover with muslin, leave to start fermenting. 

Once starting to ferment, stir daily and leave to open ferment for 1 week. 

After 1 week, strain through muslin and place in demi-john, put airlock on and leave to ferment out (usually once all activity has ceased and no more bubbles 'pop' through air lock - this could take several months depending on your brew…

Alexanders Cocktail

25ml Botanist Gin  
25ml Alexanders Liqueur
Small quantity of fresh Alexanders Juice (optional)
Douglas Fir Sugar
Alexanders leaves to garnish

Pour the gin, liqueur, fresh juice & ice into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Wet the rim of your desired glass and dip into the Douglas Fir sugar to coat it. Carefully pour cocktail into glass. Add Alexander leaves to garnish. For extra fun make a straw from one of the Alexanders stems.

Alexanders Liqueur

1kg Fresh Alexanders Shoots + Foliage
Golden Granulated Sugar
Alexander seeds - optional

This is based on a recipe by John Wright, from his Edible Seashore book. I've added some crushed & whole Alexander Seeds to the equation.

Blitz the Alexanders in a food processor. Place the 'puree' into clean muslin cloth and squeeze to extract the juices. Measure the quantity of juice and then measure half it's quantity in sugar and combine the two, ensuring to stir well to dissolve the sugar. Measure the combined quantity and add around three times the quantity in Vodka (don't shirk on the quality of the vodka but don't go money mad either). Pop into clean, sterilised bottles and store. 
This liqueur is great sipped on it's own or try in cocktails such as my Alexanders Cocktail below or over on the Botanist Gin site:

Hake, Prawn, Alexander Root, Sweet Cicely, Sea Beet

I felt inspired to try out a new technique (my first beurre blanc), after chef Josh Whitehouse posted me a picture of one of his dishes. It sat very well with this dish and the choice of ingredients. This dish requires some knowledge and co-ordination of timings but nothing too stressful and the whole dish can be made in 20 minutes.

Alexander root
Sea Beet

Buerre blanc: 
White Wine
White Wine Vinegar
Sweet Cicely

1) Wash, peel & cube the alexander root. Place in a pan with boiling waer and simmer until al dente (approx 5/6 mins). Drain and put in a hot oiled oven dish, cover with honey, salt, pepper and cook at 180 degrees until golden brown and soft in the centre.

2) Oil the hake skin and season with sea salt/pepper, place in non-stick pan and cook on a medium heat, skin side down until skin is crispy and fish is partially cooked - you should be able to tell from looking at the colour of the fish as to how deep in the …

Mussel & Chorizo Broth with Foraged Herbs & Mussels Herbs & Parmesan Shells.

After co-hosting a full 13 hour day of foraging with Jesper Launder ( on Anglessey back in April, I headed to Abersoch to visit friends staying there. I took along various foraged items gathered on the event and made a version of this. Two days later I popped back over to Anglessey to gather seaweeds to take back to Leeds, I also picked a few more mussels and then made this dish on my return. Ingredients:  Chorizo 
Red Onion
Tomato Puree
White Wine
Seaweed powder 
Wild Garlic 
Sweet Cicely
Wild Fennel 
Seabeet shoots

1) To make the broth: I fried chorizo until slightly crispy, added finely chopped red onion until soft, added garlic, tomato puree, cooked for 3-4mins, added a splash of white wine and reduced until thick.

2) I added a tin of chopped tomatoes, a little seaweed powder, a little boiling water, the cleaned mussels and waited until mussels opened (approx 5-6 mins). 

3) Removed mussels from …

Baked Pollack (or Pollock) with herbs and seaweeds

While exploring and playing on a delightful beach on Islay I managed to catch this lovely Pollack, total fluke catch really, was doing a demo cast for Liz of when it took the lure. It weighed approx 1.5 - 1.75lb. I'd been thinking (and hoping) of catching and cooking a fair decent fish using this method for a while and I'm really glad I got to do so while on Islay and in such grand company.

After dispatching the fish at the beach, gutting and cleaning - all parts discarded became food for other creatures - it felt only fitting to clean it in the very waters it had come from.

Pollack (or Pollock) Wild Thyme
Wild garlic
Sweet Cicely

Pepper dulse
Sea lettuce
Sea spaghetti

Poaching liquor:
Plum Liquer
Alexander root tincture
5 Carrot bitters

1) On returning to the hoose, 5 incisions were made on both sides of the fishes flanks and stuffed with wild thyme, crushed wild garlic stems, sweet ci…

Mackerel, Sea Noodles, Seabeet

This recipe culminated after a days foraging with friends on Anglesey. I'd never made a ceviche before and after finding myself with the perfect ingredients; seaweed, coastal greens, fish, I did :)
1 fresh Mackerel, filleted, de-boned and skinned           
Sea Noodles
Juice of 1/2 a Lime/Lemon/Orange (depending on fish size/quantity you may need to up this citrus juice amount)
Sea Arrow Grass
Sea Purslane
Pepper Dulse
Red Chilli
Pinch of Sugar (optional)

1) Put the prepared Mackerel into a bowl with the all the other ingredients except the Thongweed. Stir & place in fridge for 20 minutes.

2) Plate the thongweed, spoon on the ceviche mix, add a little fresh chopped pepper dulse & extra sea purslane (I let the natural pepperiness & saltiness provide the seasoning). S

3) Serve with some fresh, gently steamed, buttered sea beet shoots/flowering shoots.

Sashimi Mackerel

Made this after visiting Anglessey with some foraging friends. We sat on the rocks, by the ocean, filleted freshly caught mackerel, popped the pickles on top and ate them :)

Fresh raw Mackerel
Pickled Rock Samphire
Fresh Pepper Dulse
Pickled Sea Scurvy grass
Pickled Kelp
Pickled Alexander seeds
Pickled Sea Purslane
Pickled pepper dulse

Raw seaweeds included fresh Dulse, Sea Lettuce & Pepper Dulse. Coastal veg, Sea Purslane & Sea Arrow Grass with lime, lemon and orange slices.

Pepper Dulse Seaweed

Oh my! Without going overboard (no pun intended), the peppery, briny, fishy, minerally, truffliness of this ocean dwelling algae just bowls me over, its flavour is fantastic!
I was grazing directly from the rocks in Scotland in autumn 2014, in high winds and with the Atlantic swell crashing around (not so close that I was in danger of being swept away). It flavours vodka well, even pickled it's good but raw is best.


My first experience of wildcrafted sushi was with friends Mark (Galloway Wild Foods) & Andrew (Source Kitchen). After a days coastal and inland foraging we got down to sushi making. Great fun.

The sushi pictured was my dinner the other night. I had an assortment of ingredients including: Haddock, Velvet Shank, Large Cress, Sorrel, Ramsons, Golden Saxifrage & Young Dandelion leaf. I drizzled foraged fruit vinegars onto some pieces.

If you'd like to join me on a coastal forage and sushi making event or would like to book me for one you can contact me here:

Soused Mackerel and Cockles

I recently spent a fantastic 3 days on Islay, Scotland, courtesy of  Bruichladdich (  & Botanist Gin (, as part of their International Foragers Summit.

This gathering of brought foragers from afar including; South Africa, Germany, US & the UK. We foraged, explored, drank, laughed, cooked, ate, discussed, felt and sensed this beautiful isle as much as we could in the time allocated - we did pretty well too :) Here's my Islay version of soused mackerel & Cockles - the fish was caught by all literally hours before being prepped, the cockles foraged the previous day by Mark, John & Ellen and the dish (as with everthing else that week) was shared by all that evening as we socialised and drank.

Fresh Mackerel (filleted/de-boned)
Fresh Cockles (cooked/shells removed), 5 mins in a hot pan will cook them.
Pickling Liquor:
Apple Cider Vinegar,
Sweet Cicely,
Ground Ivy,
Lemon Peel,

Mackerel & Seaweed Pate

After a mighty successful fishing trip at the East Yorkshire coast with a friend, I found myself with plenty fresh mackerel - a much underrated fish. Knowing I had a coastal foraging course coming up, I opted to make a pate to take along.

Mackerel 500g (Mugwort & Rosemary)
Sea Lettuce
Butter 50g Unsalted
Creme Fraiche approx 4tbsp
Lemon Juice
Ground Mace
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper

1) Clean the mackerel & foil bake in the oven with mugwort & rosemary, for approx 15 minutes, remove & leave to cool. Once cool remove the flesh from the bones & place in a large mixing bowl.

2) In a pan, add the butter, two very finely chopped cloves of garlic, a pinch of mace, cayenne pepper & fresh ground black pepper - this infuses the butter with flavour while softening the garlic. After 3-4 minutes remove from the heat and pour onto the mackerel, mix well.

3) Add the creme fraiche, lemon juice, powdered seaweed & mix thorougly (add a …