Posts Tagged Foraging

Ground Elder and Goat’s Cheese Tarts

Posted 14 June 2013 by
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Ground elder is a perennial plant that was introduced to this island by the Romans. It’s now considered a weed in the gardening world, but happily it’s edible, so get foraging and kill two birds with one stone.

Ground elder leaves

It has quite a distinctive, earthy flavour that goes well with a salty goat’s cheese and sweet caramelised onions in these individual tarts. I didn’t manage to get a decent photo; I must have been too eager to get this chap into my tummy! I served these with vegetables and mashed potato for dinner, but you could easily have the tarts as a starter for a bigger meal.

Ground elder and goat's cheese tart

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Nettle Soup

Posted 12 June 2013 by
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I think it’s always fun to cook with free food taken from the garden, and especially food you have foraged from the hedgerow. Stinging nettles are versatile and can be used where you would use spinach or other greens. They are very nutritious, containing decent amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin K. After the success of my nettle and thyme bread, I decided to try nettle soup. It tasted good — nettle doesn’t have a very strong taste; it’s quite earthy I suppose, and not dissimilar to spinach.

Nettle soup

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Nettle and Thyme Bread

Posted 28 May 2013 by
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Stinging nettles abound at this time of year and are the bane of many gardeners (they shouldn’t be — they make a lovely liquid fertiliser). Nettles also make up part of the wonderful resource of free foods available in our gardens, or the hedgerows. They are best when they are young, and the leaves are not yet coarse, so early spring is the ideal time to harvest them, but nettles are so prolific, and seed themselves so readily, that you should be able to find some tender leaves to put in some soup, nettle tea, or this nettle and thyme bread. Nettles have a subtle, earthy flavour, and are perfectly matched by fresh thyme in this half white/half wholemeal loaf.

Nettle and Thyme Loaf

Now, there is an obvious hazard when using nettles. You can avoid getting stung by wearing gloves to pick them, and then remove the sting by scalding them before use. Only use the younger leaves, and avoid any that already have flowers (tiny green bobbly things).

Nettle and Thyme Bread

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Bramble and Elderberry Jelly

Posted 11 November 2010 by
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On to the next round of hedgerow jelly! I made this bramble and elderberry jelly back in September when the hedgerows were still brimming with berries. I used to love bramble jelly as a child, so I thought I’d try to recreate that. While I was foraging for blackberries, I spied an elder tree so picked some elderberries too, for a bit of a kick!

Elderberry and bramble jelly on homemade English muffins

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Hedgerow Jelly

Posted 9 November 2010 by
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Apparently, we are having a particularly bountiful autumn.  I guess we’re coming to the end of it now, and the berries left in the hedgerows are looking a bit sorry for themselves. Back in September, however, it was a different story. The hedgerows were weighed down with ripening  blackberries, rosehips, elderberries and haws. Our crab apple tree was looking beautiful, full of yellowy-pinky-red fruits. I couldn’t bear the thought of them all being kicked under the hedge or squished under car when they fell, so I decided to get jelly-making. Hedgerow jelly-making, to be precise.

Sun shining though jar of ruby-red hedgerow jelly.

Ruby-red hedgerow jelly

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