Archive for August, 2010

Dear Wild Cooks

Picture the scene … at 7am this wild cook was in her element in a Bavarian Wood with a local Chef.  We were looking for the wonders that are Cep mushrooms, or as they are known in Germany, Stein Piltz.

Steph in Bavaria

In Bavaria, Germany, these are as highly prized fungi as they are in England and my chef friend had the inside info on just where to find a good patch.

As we crunched through the pine cones and pine debris, Regina explained that Stein Piltz grow well in this terrain and that they seem to grow in certain areas of woodland more than others.

Bavarian Pine Woods

Regina’s father, Herr Maldoner, knew of this spot and told her areas for Stein Piltz growth are closely guarded and sometimes the farmers do not even know they have them on their land.

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Bilberry Pie

Dear Wild Cooks,

Good news … there is one bill that doesn’t cost much! In fact it costs nothing but time to don the wellies, get out into those hedgerows and pay nature in BILLberries!  These bursting blue bullets of flavour are in season in August and September.

These bitter sweet berries make a fantastic pie and this recipe is simple and quite quick to make. Why not try it at home. If you have the bilberries it is crazy not to use them!

Bilberry pie recipe

Some foraging tips:

As with all wild berries, make sure that you choose a patch which is unlikely to have been sprayed with any pesticides; preferably away from the road. You should also take care to only pick berries which you know are edible, as some wild fruits can be poisonous. If you are unsure it is best to take a guidebook with you for identification.

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Yesterday I had a little spare time so the boys and I “foraged” in our garden to make the last in our series of olive oils!

Picking Lavender

my boys picking lavender

Tomás came up with the idea of trying lavender and some lemon balm from our garden, so back in the kitchen we once again got out our bottles and oil!

Putting lavender in bottle

Putting the lavender in the bottle

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You may remember that last week I introduced you all to the idea of olive oil infused with Chillies. Well here I look at some possible alternatives, either for your own consumption or to give as presents.

I recently spent a day with my 3 boys foraging for produce in my village, got a few items from the pantry kitchen and came up with some unique infusions – all of them use the same concept – olive oil in a bottle with some local produce.

Filling the wheelbarrow with leaves

Me and my boys collecting leaves

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Steph Moon Commis for Sam Miller, Sous Chef from Noma in Copenhagen,  as he guest chefs at the Cooking Rooms in York …

Table set for lunch at The Cooking Rooms, York

Table set for lunch

It is not often you get an opportunity to cook with the Sous Chef of the World Famous Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen, so I jumped at the chance. Even better, I also got to do some foraging for the menu too!

This is my biggest blog yet; a feast of a blog, but it would be criminal to make you wait for the rest of the dishes. It has to be seen all at once.

The day was like riding a culinary roller coaster – an amazing thrill to the taste buds and the eyes. Everything was so fresh and new and exciting.

The York Cooking Rooms are one of the newest cookery schools in Yorkshire and they are certainly the most adventurous; snaring Sam Miller for a lunch menu that had Noma dishes lined up like a gourmet fashion show, with each one rolled out to greater appreciation from the diners. 

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Green GooseberriesIt was last week and the weather was raining on and off, but the dishes had a wild flavour, with some of our foraged findings featuring high on the menu. Sadly I am bound to secrecy over the specifics – you will have to watch the programme in September to see what we cooked, why and how. Let’s just say that it should make for some entertaining TV viewing!

It was great fun – the crew and presenter where fantastic. My good friend Rob was my culinary partner on the set and we both cooked our hearts out.

Look out folks for this new cookery programme in September – prime time at 7:30pm.  More details to follow nearer the time.

In the meantime, here is a little something to whet the appetite! Steph x

Rudding Park's Steph Moon cooks for a TV programmeRudding Park's Steph Moon cooks for a TV programme

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