One of the great things about my job is having the opportunity to do exciting and different things.
The other week I was invited to go foraging for wild edibles with The Hedegerow Guru; Adele Nozedar.
I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it. I mean, I like the idea of it, natural living and poking around in natures larder but I just wasn’t sure – something which Adele herself talks about.
Until I went. I had the most fabulous time, learned so much and now I’m hooked and can’t wait to try some of Adele’s recipes.
Adele has produced the most beautiful book (you know what I’m like for books!), she’s given me permission to share some of her recipes but first let me tell you about The Hedgerow Handbook: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals
It’s the perfect size for throwing in your bag, it’s illustrated by the very talented Lizzie Harper and at £8.96 from Amazon it’s definitely worth getting a copy. Especially with summer fast approaching.
The book gives you the low down on the best known plants in the British Countryside and it’s illustrations help you suss out what it is you’re looking for. The book produces old fashioned recipes with a contemporary twist. The kind of things your grandmother would have made.
The great thing about Adele is her passion for the undiscovered. She is also a fascinating woman; she’s been a pr exec, a record label manager, lead singer in a cult band and now she’s an author, speaker and taking her message on the road (check out her foraging walks!) Her interest in the history, folklore, culinary and medical uses of the plants right under our noses is infectious. Trust me, one look of this book and you’ll be hooked!
Adele doesn’t class herself as a professional forager, she does however share the same ethos as many of us. She discusses in her book how the world is becoming more “samey” and how we’re all so used to having our food perfectly packaged and delivered to us (literally) on a plate that we’re losing the art of knowing what’s out there, right on our doorstep.
I have to tell you about one experience we encountered whilst we were out. We found a perfectly formed sprout. Adele reckons that’s not a normal foraging find so we either have discovered something very special in the Clydach Gorge or someone was definitely messing with us.
Anyway, back to the food…obviously you need to buy the book for recipes from Turkish Delight (YES REALLY) to Elderflower Champagne but here are a few you can get started with…
- 100g granulated white sugar
- 150ml water
- 450g blackberries, washed with stalks removed
- White of one small egg
Boil the sugar and water for about 5 minutes to make syrup. While its cooling, sieve the blackberries to get rid of the pips, then add the blackberries to the syrup.
Beat the egg white to soft peak stage and fold it carefully in to the mixture with a metal spoon.
Freeze for about 1/2 hour to a slush, stir, and freeze again.
In a normal freezer it should take approx. 2-3 hours to make.
Crab Apple Cheese – (makes approx. 1KG)
- 1.5kg Crab Apples
- 300ml Sweet Cider
- 300ml Water
- Soft Brown Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon each of powdered cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
Wash and dry the apples and chop roughly.
Put in to a pan with the cider and water and simmer until soft.
Press the solids through a sieve, weigh and add 450g of sugar to every 600ml of puree.
Put the apple and sugar in to a heavy bottomed pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the spices, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened.
Pour in to warm sterilized jars and seal.
This is great with strong cheese and crackers or spooned over ice-cream.
Damsons in Gin or Vodka
Sloe gin might be better known, but damson gin-or vodka – is a twist on an old favourite.
You’ll need a large sealable jar, big enough to take all the ingredients. Makes 1 x 70cl bottle
- 450g Damsons, washed, dried and stalks removed.
- 200g granulated white sugar
- 70cl bottle of your favorite gin (or vodka)
Freeze the damsons for a couple of days – this helps break down the skins and help the juices penetrate the gin better.
Put all the ingredients in to the jar, seal and leave in a dark place, for up to 6 months, shaking the jar occasionally, then strain the alcohol from the fruit.
It should be a lovely dark pink colour. If you leave the fruit in too long then the resulting liquid won’t be such a pretty colour.
I’m sure I’m going to do a few more foraging type posts but in the meantime check out Adele’s website where you can find out more and also check out her foraging tours.
You can also check out the article recently published about my day foraging in the Welsh mountains;
The Hedegrow Handbook; Recipes, Remedies and Rituals is published by SquarePeg at Random House