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Dear Wild Cooks,

In my eyes, the opportunity to cook for a group of like-minded, fun-loving foragers is one not to be missed. So when I was invited to cook for The International Wine and Food Society’s Leeds branch I accepted without hesitation! The group are definately up for some fun and eager to learn about food and wine that complement foraged ingredients.

The evening seemed made for my foraging friends Chris and Rose Bax of Taste the Wild who lead the foraging walk around the stunning Hillbark Gardens in Bardsey.

Chris offering his expert foraging advice to the group

Chris offering his expert foraging advice to the group


The owners, Tim Gittins and Malcolm Simm, were on hand to look after everyone which was a good job as there was a total of 33 members on the evening.Chris and Rose discussed their foraging finds with the group. The gardens are truly amazing and Tim and Malcolm often have charity open days so keeep a look out on their website www.hillbark.co.uk  . The foraged finds on the evening included sweet cicely, mugwort, pineapple weed, corn mint and bitter cress. They are amazing ingredients folks and I, along with the help of my commis Tim Norton and his partner Becky, cooked up the following menu for the group:

Introducing the dishes

Introducing the dishes


Canapes

Goats Cheese En Croute with Sweet Cicely Seeds
Vegetarian Foragers’ Parcels using Rosebay Willow Herb

Mains

Smoked Trout Marinaded in Elderflower, Chick Weed, Bitter Cress, Wood Sorrel
BBQ Smoked Cherry Wood Mackerel with ‘Jack by the Hedge’ Root 
Pigeon with Nettle Spelt
Rabbit and Mugwort Dahl

Puddings

Forager’s Infusion Chocolate Marquise
Corn Mint and Cumin Granite
Meadow Sweet Biscuit
Ground Ivy Jelly
Wood Sorrel Mojito

Coffee and Lemon Balm Tea

Supper Club!

Supper Club!

Please click on the links above to follow the fun and easy recipes. As we ate the dishes, Chris and Rose passed on more helpful advice. Here is a great extract from their note:

Be aware that there might be a backlash at some point from people who are worried about the countryside being plundered. However, foraging is about understanding and respecting the natural environment and provising that pickers follow a basic code of conduct it can only improve our knowledge and husbandry of the countryside”.

I hope you enjoy the dishes as much as the guests did on the evening. The event was declared a great success and Tim even said it was their best supper club to date which was great to hear. My thanks go to Chris and Rose Bax who made the foraging side so interesting for the guests adn my commis Tim and his partner Becky for their help. Huge thanks must also go to Tim and Malcolm who of course made this evening possible and kindly invited me to take part.

Steph the Forager on tour – supper club style!!

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Well Wild Cooks, I am glad the Great British Menu is rolling for the North East.

I watched the show at home last night and I cannot believe I had a long beep on the ‘Beeb’ when I dropped my goats cheese! This will do wonders for my street credibility especially with the young chefs at Rudding Park!

The goat’s milk I used on last night’s show is an amazing product and the drive up to Yellisons Farm is stunning – they are very spoilt goats!

As promised, please find my Goats Cheese recipe here.

Watch this space for the next instalment. Tonight’s “SEE FOOD” recipe will be on the blog tomorrow.

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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fresh-and-ripe-elderberryAs the leaves start to turn that rusty colour and autumn takes hold of the hedgerow, the food to be found on the hedge (so to speak) is pretty bountiful. And as nature is busy preparing itself for winter, so should we.

find out more

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