Archive for the ‘Seasonal Preserves’ Category

A frosty December morning is always a great time to go for a walk and yes I did take the monster (Honey Moon!)

Crab apple hunting

Crab apple hunting

Can you spot the dog?

Here she is practising her camouflage ever ready for the cat next door!

Back to apples…

Crab Apples washing

Crab Apples washing

Look what we found- crab apples and they are frosted and ripe and ready to eat. I decided to bottle them for an early Christmas present for one of our Chefs.

Crab apples draining!

Crab apples draining!

The crab apples came off the tree very easily and after a sort into sizes and a good wash in my sink it was time to bottle them.

I wanted the apples to have a gentle kick but not be too sweet so I added a little cider vinegar.

A quick easy recipe

Look what Matthew Wilkinson from our kitchen’s here at Rudding Park came up with:



Recipe to Matthew’s Apple Jelly

Recipe to Matthew’s Apple Parfait

Recipe to Matthew’s Spiced Apple Cake

Nice one Chef- love it Matthew!

Try these recipes at home or if after cooking Christmas dinner you would prefer to rest and enjoy some of these dishes at Rudding Park why not buy one of Rudding Park’s online gift vouchers. There’s Dine With Wine, Food and Flicks and plenty more to choose from.

Wishing you a very cool yule wild cooks!

Steph x

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These berries are tiny explosions of fruit in your mouth that ping pong around giving you a fruit thrill. You can probably tell I’m a fan!

In summer, elderflower floral cordial is lovely, light and refreshing. In winter the elderberry cordial is fruity, heady and goes well in mulled wine or winter fruit jellies.

First find your elder (no folks we are not suggesting you look for your parents!) but simply get out there and look for a tree. They are so full and brimming with berries at this time of year that they practically bend double under the weight.

The berries are dark purple and plump with juice, about the size of a large pin head. Take care when picking them as the juice can get all over your clothes, so do not pick in your Sunday best. The way to make cordial is simple. Follow this quick, easy recipe…

Honey, my dog, is getting into the elderberry tasting too but I must admit she is far happier with the slightly earlier blackberry.

I love to get out and about now we have rowan berries in abundance. Why not try Peter Banks’ recipe? (Managing Director of Rudding Park)

Happy Berry picking!

(Always remember to check the type of berry is correct and edible- I sound like my Grandmother! x)

Elder!  berry Moon x

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Honey before her dip!

Honey before her dip!

(Captain of the boat)

Day one the monster that is Honey ”Moon” decided to take to the canal when my back was turned and my seven month old pup was swimming 10 metres away when I turned around. After much alarm a chap walking by thankfully rescued the dog and we soon had her back in a soft chunky towel. Honey was soon snug and warm wrapped in her towel by the fire. We all learnt that day to never turn our backs for 2 mins!  

Not long after Honey had dried out and raring to go again!

Not long after Honey had dried out and raring to go again!

The journey took us from Skipton on the Pennine Cruises to Foulridge Tunnel near Barnolswick and then back to Kildwick and Skipton.

Foulridge tunnel from inside...

Foulridge tunnel from inside…

Various family and friends joined the boat along the way and all seemed to love the experience of chugging along nice and gently. We really did have good fun.

The first few hours were perhaps the most eventful what with the dog going for a swim then coming across these beauties in the bank side.

Tantelising tastes of summer wild Strawberries

Tantalising tastes of summer wild Strawberries

We used these strawberries in many ways and if you are lucky to come across some yourself why not try this recipe for Strawberry Desserts. I would recommend using the wild strawberries for the shortbread layers as they take some finding guys and then you will need loads of strawberries to make a the smoothie!

 Strawberry, Strawberry, Strawberry

Strawberry, Strawberry, Strawberry

 Then there was the daily sighting of the herons. I find the heron a very majestic bird, a true beauty. I always think that when I see a heron it is a good day so seeing them everyday was a treat. 

Heron the canal it is amazing what you see!

Heron – It is amazing what you see!

One day is rained quite literary cats and dogs and we were in Gargrave so a quick trip to Bollywood Cottage was in order.  This local Indian restaurant fired up the imagination for a canal curry but when on holiday with no spices in sight it was so much easier to run to the curry house! Great on a wet and windy day I can tell you. When it rains on a canal boat you need some warming food.

The Yorkshire countryside looked incredible and the Lancashire countryside too. It was a privilege to travel on the canal and see land I know well from a different angle.

Yorkshire at its finest

Yorkshire at its finest

This photo reminded me of the beautiful sunsets over Rudding Park.

Ahar me hearties!

Steph x (first mate Moon!)

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00 heaven falling apples in Harrogate!

For wild cooks everywhere now is the time to fill your larders with some 00 Heaven!

James Bond- Daniel Craig is a local guy so perhaps he loves these apples as much as we do!

Bruised and battered apples that have done the ‘skyfall’ are the things we are all given and do not know what to do with.

The odd spot on the apple or slight bruising means eating raw is out of the question so why not roll up the sleeves wash your hands and get busy making some Autumn Chutney.

This is such a simple thing to make and everyone has a different recipe for chutney.

Here is my recipe but the advice I would give is do not be precious about your chutney. It is a robust thing just like Mr Bond!


A change of the recipe here and there makes this base your own and depending on your fruit availability can be adapted to other fruits –pears, plums and so on.

Chutney can more or less get out of any difficult situation you put it in and big pots of bubbling chutney can make amazing gifts at Christmas and not break the bank. Everyone will be impressed with your effort if nothing else!

Can you Adam and Eve it!

Steph x

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Well no wonder the blackberries are early the weather does not know what it is doing at present. Do not get me started on global warming!

Here is a global warmer with a difference!



Why not try our Blackberry Rumtopf…

This is our seasonal innovation for the coming month, the blackberries are on every bush nationwide and it is time to fill your boots people!

This quick and easy recipe is a corker. A great idea for a Christmas gift with a difference.


So were to find the blackberries?…

 Well they are to be found usually on the hedgerow around fields and often on roadside hedges.

The thing to remember here is if the road is a busy one leave them on the hedge as the car fumes will have affected the taste and rendered them nasty and inedible.

I usually go to the Golf Club woods here at Rudding Park and find plenty as well as other areas of the hotel grounds.

Mixed berries

You can make up your Rumtopf with other fruits too…

What we are looking for is prickly brambles (no one said this was easy picking folks. Expect some light scaring! or wear rubber gloves…)

Look for the purple plump clumps of blackberrys

What fun and having a broken Blackberry phone at the moment these Ribena bullets of joy are definitely my Blackberry of choice given half a chance!

Bam a lam whoe Black Berry!!!

Steph x

(With sticky dyed fingers!)

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Whilst driving to Rudding Park this morning I was struck by the beautiful elderflowers in full bloom outside the front gates and thought it was time to get snap happy and capture the moment.

Elderflower in all its glory

Elderflower in all its glory

Let me tell you, there is no better way to start work than with the smell of sweet elderflower in your system! So let’s get jiggy with it and bounce these floral power houses into a dish to dazzle and delight the family.

I’m pretty sure everyone loves elderflower cordial, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t! So how is it made? Please view my recipe here.

However it is not all perfume and flowers Wild Cooks, the perfect accompaniment with a lovely glass of iced cordial is a piece of mint shortbread. I have had to walk over hot coals for this recipe and it is definitely the best shortbread I have ever eaten, with a secret and very unexpected ingredient. Click here for the recipe.

The two together make a refreshing snack ideal for a very hot day- lets hope we get chance to use it hey?! But if not the cordial keeps well in the fridge when opened and the biscuits keep for a week or two in an airtight container.

The flower power is here, alive and well in the grounds of Rudding Park!

Peace and love!

Steph x

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The flavoursome and versatile dandelion!

The flavoursome and versatile dandelion!

This flower can brighten you up just by looking at it! The dandelion is a bursting, bright coloured flower with lots of uses. You can drink dandylion coffee, I am not a fan myself, but I love the leaves in salads – ideally with a few yellow petals too.

When foraging for dandelions always remember to search on the fields and areas away from cars and pesticides.

Did you know that the dandelion has a self preservation ‘mechanism’ which occurs if you pick one out of the ground?  Not long after being picked, the flower head closes in on itself and protects the yellow leaves inside – amazing stuff!

If you are thinking of growing your own dandelions for salads and other recipes, the best tip is to nip the heads off so all that extra strength can go into the leaves and the root.

Here are a few further tips on how to make the most out of dandelion:

1. Dandelion Wine – A brilliant, yellow coloured, and fun beverage! I’ve never tried it myself but I would be intruiged to hear any feedback or a good recipe?

2. Salads – I like dandelion with smoky, hot snippets of bacon and roasted cherry tomatoes with a few crispy croutons.

3. Deep fried beignets – dandelion is a great accompaniment with the beignets along with foraged wild garlic flowers.

Why not pick a few leaves and flowers of this very medicinal plant and make yourself feel a whole lot better. Not only is this plant a bright beauty it is also carries a lot of health benefits. It works wonders for a tickly throat and according to Jekka McVicar, author of The Complete Herb Book, the humble dandelion stalks can even help to relieve and reduce:

  • cholesterol
  • liver and kidney disorders
  • diabetes
  • acne
  • amenia

It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and weight loss. Dandelion, which literally translates into “lion’s tooth” in French, is rich in vitamin-A, C, iron, calcium and detoxifiers which explains its use in medicines.

So pick away and enjoy, or I suppose if you want to cheat you could always drink Dandelion and Burdock!

Steph x

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