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Archive for December, 2010

Picture the scene, the whole family are out foraging for holly. We climbed over barbed wire fences and through boggy ground all because my family likes a sprig of holly in their front room! We only picked a few stems each in order to leave plenty for the birds, and remember that holly berries are poisonous.

Foraging for holly with the Moon family!

Foraging for holly with the Moon family!

It was a real Christmas moment; Aunty Steph, as I am referred to, got the family foraging for fun! Unfortunately the day ended a little earlier than expected with one of my nieces standing on the frozen layer of ice on a water trough and the ice cracking. You can guess what happened next…freezing cold water drenched the inside of her wellies, so much so that she could pour the icy water out of her boots!

So when the nephews had me running down the field with a pretend machine gun, I thought, well this is what kids should be doing at Christmas! It was great to spend time with the kids and it definitely wore me out!

Why not try our fondue recipe, it warms up even the coldest of toes! The great news is that you can use up bits of cheese from Christmas – whichever proves to be the least favourite!

Fondue recipe served with crusty bread

Steph x

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Dear Wild Cooks,

A few months ago I was out and about foraging away at Rudding Park when I bumped into some of the lady golfers on the 18 hole Hawtree Course. The ladies pointed me in the right direction to two amazing sloe bushes and as a token of my appreciation, I vowed to give them a bottle of my home made sloe gin for their Christmas party.

Rudding Park Lady Golfers at their Christmas Party

Rudding Park Lady Golfers at their Christmas Party

These amazing sloe bushes were packed to the max with burstingly fruity sloe berries! If you have not made your sloe gin yet there are some left on the black thorn trees but not many! They say sloe gin is best made after the first frost, well now you can squeeze the berries in your hands because they are so ripe! Please see my recipe for sloe gin.

Chef Richard Fiddler handing out the sloe gin!

Chef Richard Fiddler handing out the sloe gin!

I am afraid that all the recent snow is not good news for the golfers, but hopefully my sloe gin will put a smile on our Lady Captain’s face and the girls up at the Rudding Park Golf Club.

Despite the weather, we have happy lady golfers!

Despite the weather, we have happy lady golfers!

Steph x

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With less than a week to go Wild Cooks, here’s a few last minute great ideas for your foraging friends!


1.
Lunch for two at Clocktower Restaurant, Rudding Park. Why not buy one of their vouchers or gift experiences, and then head off around the grounds at Rudding Park and spot some of my foraged food.

Festive lunches from £19.50 per person.


2.
Take a trip to Taste the Wild and learn how to forage for yourself with the amazing Chris Bax and his lovely wife Rose. Head off with a group into the Yorkshire woods and find amazing foraged food, then enjoy sampling all your hard work!

Taste the Wild Course Schedule.

1 day foraging course for only £60 (including lunch).


3.
“Forager”- the book by author and foraging guru Miles Irving.

On sale now at Amazon for just £16.95.

 

4. A Wooden Trug. A great starter piece of kit for a forager!

Pick one up at “The Gardening Website” for just £8.95 including postage and packing. You must be quick though in order to get your delivery in time for Christmas!


5.
Your own desk top smoker! Ideal for smoking fish , game, duck, etc.

Available now on Amazon for just £63.00. This includes the smoker, lid, tray and recipe book.

Happy shopping Wild Cooks and a very Merry Christmas!

Steph x

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Trumpeting Trumptonshire….. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was in Harrogate and I missed him!

My dear wild cooks, I am gutted that one of my culinary heroes “HFW” was at Harrogate International Centre for the Love Cooking Festival, and I was busy working about 30 yards from him, on the Love Food Hate Waste stand! I am sure he would approve of me supporting this valuable cause as the average family throws away £50 per month on food waste. Another amazing fact is that, on average, £0.60 per bag of salad bought in supermarkets goes in the bin.

Steph with Brian Turner and Briony and Joanne from Love Food Hate Waste

Steph with Brian Turner and Briony and Joanne from Love Food Hate Waste

I know that we, as wild cooks, make a conscious effort to use up nature’s gifts and not create any food waste, but we all throw things away in our kitchens from time to time. In the Love Cooking booklet, Hugh cooks with goat’s cheese, hazelnuts and winter salad using all the bits and bobs he has left over. Using these ingredients, we made up grilled goats cheese on hazelnut toast with caramelised pears and rocket leaves – and our free samples went down a treat!

Steph making her goats cheese nibbles

Steph making her goats cheese nibbles

All was not lost as the “VIPS” did come over to our stall (sadly not Hugh though), some of which have eaten at Rudding Park’s  Clocktower restaurant on a number of occasions. Brian Turner (pictured above) is a Yorkshire legend and lovely all round guy and Nigel Bardon (pictured below) is a great supporter of Yorkshire produce with Deliciouslyorkshire. Emma Atkins (aka Emmerdale’s Charity Dingle) lived up to her on screen name as one of the choir girls singing for charity at the HIC! Ainsley Harriott (pictured below) also spent a few moments with us before dashing off for his train.

Ainsley Harriott popped over to say hello at the Love Food Hate Waste stand

Ainsley Harriott popped over to say hello at the Love Food Hate Waste stand

As did Nigel Barden from Radio 2!

As did Nigel Barden from Radio 2!

Next time you are up North Hugh, come and visit us at Rudding Park, it would be an honour to go foraging with you.

Steph x

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Dear wild cooks,

It is not often you get an invite for dinner with a friend, sit next to a national food critic, and (as a Chef) live to tell the tale afterwards!

Jay Rayner is a great ambassador for local food and he was visiting Ampleforth Orchards for ‘The One Show’ the following day. I spent the evening with Jay Rayner and his buddy Tim Wilson from the Ginger Pig, which was an eye opener into the lives of a food critic and a pig farmer and what they do on a daily basis! It has to be said that the food at The White Swan was expertly cooked by Darren and his team (please see our Ampleforth blog to read more about Darren’s food, when I cooked alongside Darren and Andrew Pern).

During the evening, Jay spoke to us about his dining hell experiences, and described some of the meals he has had to sample, some of which made our skin crawl and others made us laugh and cry!

What a great guy Jay is. You watch him on the television and he is the exactly the same person in real life. His knowledge of food is incredible and we even discussed the thickening quality of agar agar against gelatine- “Chefy” stuff folks!

I also asked him his opinion of wild food and the most appropriate place for it in the dining rooms of Great Britain. He said he thought that Noma and the revolution caused by Rene Redzepi will give way to many Chefs jumping on the “forager bandwagon”, perhaps with varying results….

Let’s hope that wild food proves to be a great thing, as Rudding Park is about to begin its third year foraging! In my opinion, as long as Chefs know what they are looking for, and take care and time to learn the produce available, it is surely a good thing? What is your opinion Wild Cooks?

Sorry I did not take any photos, I was trying to look cool!

Steph x

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My dear Wild Cooks, sometimes we are wild in one way (Hedgerow tastic) and sometimes we are wild in another (madness!) – this is definitely the other!

Viking Madness!

Viking Madness!

So when visiting the World Travel Market in London, why not wear a Viking hat and blow a Viking horn on the Welcome to Yorkshire stand? It seemed like a good idea at the time and I even got to stamp a Viking coin, all care of the Jorvik Viking Centre in York. We had “Vikings on Tour” on the Welcome to Yorkshire Stand!

Steph blowing her Viking horn!

Steph blowing her Viking horn!

So it got me thinking, what would a Viking eat? Would all the ingredients be foraged and how would they cook it? Would you believe it, Vikings were very diverse in their eating habits and popular ingredients included:

Gulls Eggs – now protected
Herons – do not even think about it!
Seaweeds – this is ok folks so fill your boots!
Nuts and berries – we know some are safer than others, but always check what you are eating
Horsemeat – ohh!
Dried Herring -yum
Roach and Pike- a bit bony!

Afterwards I thought to myself, why not make a dish fit for a Viking? So here is a typical offering back in the day, Honey and Apple Wild Boar One Pot.

Wild Cook at the Jorvik Viking Centre

Wild Cook at the Jorvik Viking Centre

After all this madness I think a relaxing lunch at Clocktower is much more my style!

Steph

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