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Posts Tagged ‘wood sorrel’

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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When approcahed by a Master Chef Finalist to see if he can “call in” on his Yorkshire Food Tour it is time to dust off those forager boots and go see what’s out there.

Peter, Tom and I foraged in the golf course woods at Rudding Park

Peter, Tom and I foraged in the golf course woods at Rudding Park

I have to say I have been hearing a lot about Tom Rennolds locally, and his Food Tour of Yorkshire is definitely on a roll.

Travelling in ‘Percy’ the VW camper with his mate Johnny and a film crew, Tom is currently ‘gastronomically experiencing’ Yorkshire for a week. We were so pleased that he chose to forage at Rudding Park and we enjoyed preparing and sharing a ‘wild cook’ style dinner for the whole team that evening at Clocktower. After a greulling few days on the road and feeling quite content with their surroundings, the team wisely chose a to stay at the hotel instead of their beloved camper! It was a logical decision since their next stop was at Fodder early the next morning, just a mile up the road from Rudding Park.  They had scheduled a sausage making session with my mate Paul Nicholson, head butcher at Fodder and incidentally my partner in crime for this year’s Great Yorkshire Show Game Cookery demonstration! 

Anyway, back to the boys’ visit to Rudding Park. They rolled up in a camper van (my brother-in-law is a great fan of this mode of transport and I have even owned one myself back in the days of living in Australia, and it did have Mr Men curtains!), and we spent an hour or so foraging the beautiful parkland.  Tom is a lovely guy and a really genuine person with an almighty passion for food. He has a great deal of stories about growing up and even some fascinating forager tales, such as crayfishing in his hometown of Ilkley. So Peter and I showed him some of our own crayfish here at Rudding Park!

Peter , Tom and Two Crayfish!

Peter , Tom and Two Crayfish!

We continued on and found cleavers, nettles, jack by the hedge, wild garlic, crayfish, the odd pheasant and even a hare! Tom liked the flavour of ground ivy but I think wood sorrel was his favourite which isn’t a bad thing since Rene Redzephi from Noma says that “Wood Sorrel is the glue that sticks his team together”.

Onto Clocktower we drove and enjoyed a relaxed evening eating our way through the following menu:

Forager’s Springtime Soup
~
Rudding Park Rabbit
prepared by yours truly with marinated loin, confit leg croquette, heart and nettle puree with a rabbit lollipop

~
‘0 miles’ Pigeon with Yorkshire Venison
sweet potato fondant, braised red cabbage
~
Frangipane Tart
apple sorbet, elderflower jelly (made with last year’s Elderflower cordial as they are not ready yet). However, have any of you seen the buds out and about? They are looking great don’t you think wild cooks?

The Clocktower chefs did us proud, thanks guys and the team out front were great too.

Tom and Johnny plan to visit two great chefs in the region, Brian Turner and Rosemary Shrager. They have both stayed at Rudding Park in the past and I have had the pleasure to meet them on many occasions. Tom, a wild cook’s insight, they are lovely!

The thing I liked to hear about Tom’s Food Tour for Yorkshire is that he is visiting large and small companies and meeting people who really contribute to and support local produce in the region. It’s a great idea lads and good luck to them as later this year they are hosting a food festival in Tom’s home town of Ilkley.

Thanks guys for asking me to take part in some foodie fun in Ilkley, I cannot wait. It sounds like a great idea and a grand day out. Good luck with the rest of the tour, I hope “Percy” can cope with all this food – he should feel very honoured to have a home made camper van cake on board!!

A real pleasure to meet you Tom, happy cooking. Yorkshire is a better place with you in it Chef!

Steph x

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Dear Wild Cooks,

Spring is a here and the nature we all love is budding into life again after a relatively mild winter. Wild garlic shoots are peeping out, but today is all about wood sorrel and as Rene Redzepi (Chef owner of the world’s finest restaurant, Noma) recently said, “wood sorrel is the glue that holds my kitchen team together”! Another local character here in Yorkshire and a foraging buddy of mine, Chris Bax, calls it the “Haribo of the forest”!

In order to source wood sorrel whilst out foraging, here’s a few tips on what to look out for…

1. A nice woods with no dogs nearby!

2. A thin stem about the size of a piece of salad cress but usually a little thinner with a burgundy tinge towards the base of the stem. This greeny burgundy leaf has delicate heart shaped petals (three in a clover like form) and is a lovely garnish for any salad.

See recipe here, Whitby Seafish Mackerel, Forager’s Salad, Pickled Baby Vegetables

Whitby Seafish Mackerel, Forager's Salad, Pickled Baby Vegetables

Whitby Seafish Mackerel, Forager's Salad, Pickled Baby Vegetables

Happy Cooking!

Steph x

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Wood Sorrel

Wood Sorrel

Well, Wild Cooks, the world is a happier place now I have the wonderful sweet sharp flavour of Wood Sorrel back in my life!

As wild food goes this is a diamond, a real find, and the best thing is that I came across this beauty on Rudding Park’s golf course in a leafy wood near a putting green!

Wood sorrel is delicate and ideal to add to any salad or to sprinkle on the top of fish to enhance the dish.

I guess, like any herb, it can be a bit too much of it if eaten in big quantities. However it can be used for sweet or savoury dishes alike.  The flavour is something to behold and what’s more, it’s a great source of vitamin C.

As always, remember to be extra careful that you collect the right thing when foraging, as some plants can be poisonous. If you’re not sure then take a good reference book with you. Also try and avoid areas of ground which may have been sprayed with pesticides.

What are your foraging favourites? I’d love to hear about them.

 The Wood Sorrel Detective! …Steph!

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