Who knew that the edges of the sea could be so bountiful, recently I’ve spent a lot of time over the coasts close (not really that close) to where I live investigating the abundance and potential uses that seaweeds could play in my regular day to day cooking. I must admit that I found a lot more than I first expected; from a classic deep fried crispy green seaweed (ulva) – like the stuff we usually get from the Chinese take-away, to the deep and totally unexpected flavour of the sea truffle (pepper dulse) which hits you with bags of umami and a sharp spicy note. – I imagine made in to a paste it would go perfectly with a pork loin.
There’s so much to explore with seaweeds that I almost feel a little overwhelmed – it’s something I will have to continue over the coming years…
After meeting with the Vegetarian Society a number of times I’m really excited that we’ve arranged to run a number of wild food foraging and cookery classes from their site in Cheshire over the coming years. It promises to be great and I absolutely love working with cookery schools – we get the opportunity as a group to use our wild food harvest to create tasty meals that participants can actually imagine themselves cooking at home.
Before getting the gig – so to speak – I was asked to come down to the cookery school and demonstrate a range of wild food inspired dishes that we might cook up on one of our courses there. I decided to focus on a simple wild food ingredient that pretty much everyone can safely identify, because we’d be lying if we said we’ve not all be stung by one at some time. That’s right ‘Stinging Nettles’ – when it comes to food this plant is actually surprisingly versatile and through the session we used it to create everything from smoothies to purees, wilted mash, bread and even lattes (and we barely even touched the surface of things you could make with it)
Our courses will be on their site very soon: Vegetarian Society Site
I love being included in the RHS Flower Shows Feast Theatre when they take over the fields at Tatton Park, we have a proper stage, head sets and TV’s – it’s like being on a live version of Sunday Brunch. I imagine to some it could seem really stressful but I like to prepare very little, cook simple food with delicious wild ingredients and generally have a good time. I feel like the more I have fun whilst cooking the more an audience can get excited about cooking with wild foods as well. Of course I don’t have the time to go in to a huge amount of detail about the wild ingredients we’re using, but that’s fine because anyone who’s interested in that can stay after and ask questions or join me on a days foraging adventure.
I’d love to do more live cooking in the future and get more people intreagued in the potential uses wild food can play in our daily diets. I will be back there again next year cooking up tasty meals!
Through this weekend I decided to cook a starter, main and dessert over the three days we were on stage:
Starter: Classic Nettle Soup
Main: Nettle Pasta with Wild Greens and Sardines
Dessert: Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee Cake
I’ve decided to begin documenting the events, thoughts, ideas and any other interesting things I get up to through this blog, I will begin writing regular up dates through the winter of 2016 and continue to do so throughout 2017…