Author: Rachel Lambert

What’s Wild, Yellow and Subtle?

What’s Wild, Yellow and Subtle?

I warn you, this might be a blog with questions. I did wonder what to make the title, it could have been; what’s yellow, subtle with a crisp outer and soft centre? Though it sounded too much like a chocolate advert. Here’s the answer, a […]

Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – 3rd Reprint has arrived!

Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – 3rd Reprint has arrived!

It’s exciting opening boxes. I remember when the first print of my first book; Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly arrived. Just a single copy in the post; a real book with a smooth cover and filled with all the writing, […]

The Singing Forager

The Singing Forager

 

We’ve been having a lot of fun, Kelsey and I.

We’ve been working pretty hard too. Kelsey Michael has been teaching me songs, I’ve been creating quirky little ditties about plants I see and eat along the coast paths and hedgerows, and we’ve been walking.

Walking and hanging out in nature, as friends do, enjoying the landscape, birds, seals, the weather, sunsets and fires. And when happiness comes, or any moment that feels worthy of enjoying or celebrating, we sing. We’ve sung to the Cornish hills, we’ve sung an ode to the sour taste of sorrel, to the wonderful world of seaweeds. To gorse bushes, to the sailors and even the donkeys that we’ve walked past. As I said, we’ve had a lot of fun.

The Singing Forager (Here a little robin joined us in song, one of the wonderful things that can happen on a wild singing walk)

I was lucky enough to be brought up singing, singing round camp fires (my parents ran youth camps), from church pews and at home. I love to sing, it feels a natural and joyful thing to do and share.

Though Kelsey, a professional singer and singing leader makes singing feel natural and easy for everyone. Accessibility is practically her middle name.

It’s been great to sit, stand and walk together, in song. Kelsey has been leading Wild Singing Walks for a couple of years now. Together, we offer the Singing Forager experience; being outside in nature, singing and foraging together. You can read more about what we are offering and even come and join us here; Wild Singing Walks.

 

A Day in the Life of a Forager

A Day in the Life of a Forager

It always feels odd arranging to meet a stranger in a car park. Though that is where I met photographer Rick Davy at the start of my working day. I was on a mission to collect a specific green, and I said to Rick that […]

Foraging as a Way to Feel Connected

Foraging as a Way to Feel Connected

I’m sitting listening to Radio 4 (again) and the episode of the Digital Human called ‘Tribe’. This particular episode includes a focus on the role of hunting and gathering as a way of working together and supporting each other. Indeed, our ancestors worked closely to […]

Still got Blackberries in the freezer? Try this!

Still got Blackberries in the freezer? Try this!

I am so excited because I just found a bag of blackberries at the back of my freezer. I thought I’d used them all, though no! I haven’t. These will be perfect for making a yummy dessert, and it is party food time of year, isn’t it?!

Rubus fruticosus

I could say a lot about blackberries (Rubus fruticosus), indeed there’s a lot to say about this fantastic fruit. I love them; their abundance, the varying flavour and their versatility in recipes.

 

One hundred grams (100g) gives you 35% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C too.

 

From sauces to go with meats, pop them into crepes, to ice creams, crumbles and the classic coulis. Ah the coulis – a thick sauce made from pureed and strained fruits. It is perfect for those seed-rich blackberries.

Rubus fruticosus

A coulis it is. Last year I made this dessert for a New Year’s Eve party with friends. It went down a treat. Lets face it, sweet, vitamin C and good company are daily cravings in winter, for me anyway. Here’s a wonderfully rich, nutritious and sweet treat for you to share.

 

Did you know that blackberries also contain a little calcium?

There’s a lot more I could tell you about blackberries on my Foraging Courses.

 

Here’s the recipe. I served the coulis with a simple baked cheesecake, which I also share here. If you love blackberries like I do, here’s my Best Blackberry Jam recipe, and even some reflective words and facts about Dear Miss Blackberry.

Baked cheesecake with blackberry coulis

Baked Cheesecake with Blackberry Coulis

I had baked cheesecake on my mind for a few days and was invited to a dinner party to celebrate New Year’s Eve with some friends. Always wanting to bring something if I can, my suggestion of a cheesecake was welcomed and I set to. Wilds make things a little exciting and different for me, so I decided to make a vitamin c rich coulis to accompany it. There was no ricotta in my local supermarket, and quark seemed to replace it really nicely, giving it a good texture.

Ingredients

250g blackberries

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 dessert spoon water

125g digestive biscuits

35g butter

(plus fibre from the blackberry fruits)

250g mascarpone

250g quark

2 large eggs

100g unrefined sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

To make the couli, add the fruits and water into a small pan, mash the fruits a little and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a fine sieve, strain the liquid into a bowl, making sure you get every last bit and then return the liquid to the pan with the brown sugar. Put the sieved fruits aside. Bring to a simmer for a second time and stir until thicken (a few minutes), then take off the heat to cool down.

Grease a 20cm baking tin. Crush the biscuits in a tough plastic bag with a rolling pin, or in a blender. Melt the butter in a small pan, and stir in crushed biscuits and blackberry fibre and mix well. Press the mixture evenly into the baking tray and place in the fridge for 1 hour. 20 minutes before ready, preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cheese, quark, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour over the base and bake for 1 hour or until it is set in the middle and comes away from the sides slightly. Allow to cool and serve in slices with blackberry couli drizzled over.

A slice of cheese cake with blackberry coulis

Foraging: Free Gifts, Freely Given

Foraging: Free Gifts, Freely Given

It’s a fresh winter morning and I am sitting watching the sky lighten and the day begin. I am just sitting, doing nothing, while the day is offering nothing less than a performance. Blue sky starts to peek through, charcoal grey clouds move slowly in […]

Winter Creamy Alexander Soup (vegan)

Winter Creamy Alexander Soup (vegan)

I’ve just returned home from a winter foraging course where we covered 10 wilds that you can pick here in Cornwall through winter. I love foraging in the cooler months and there’s a great choice of wild pickings too. I’ve written about and sung the […]

How to Forage Shellfish Safely

How to Forage Shellfish Safely

I love foraging, I love the adventure of it, the thrill, the simplicity and the sheer satisfaction of collecting, preparing and eating my own gathered wild food. The last time I foraged for mussels I was with a friend, it was a wild, windy day and we found ourselves on the beach at low tide surrounded by nice, plump mussels. There and then we made a dinner plan and a spontaneous feast was foraged.

Bivalve molluscs

 

We carefully picked the largest, healthiest looking mussels, knowing the beach we were on was clean, and we discarded any that we un-attached, partially open or broken. We walked away, happy with our booty and I reflected on my reasons for not foraging shellfish more regularly. Quite simply, I want to stay safe and well. Food poisoning is not my idea of fun and I want to avoid it at all costs.

With that in mind, I thought I’d write a few notes on how to stay safe and well when foraging for shellfish. There are 3 key elements, then a few extra tips of cooking and preparing shellfish. These notes are brief, though hopefully they will add to your knowledge and help you enjoy what you forage.

No. 1. Always pick away from sources of pollution

This might be sewage, towns or other sources of pollution. I always recommend checking online and with locals, local knowledge can give a lot of insight into this.

No. 2. Wash thoroughly

Just because something is wild, it doesn’t mean it is clean and good for you, below are some thorough notes on rinsing different shellfish for food consumption.

No. 3. Make sure they’re alive

Sometimes it is useful to state the obvious, and, obviously, act on it too. Dead shellfish, are not good to eat, so discard shellfish that are dead when you forage them, or do not open when cooked.

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Cockles – Winkles – Periwinkles – Mussels – Clams

If you are lucky enough to find any of these, here are some extra notes on cooking and rinsing them. Rinsing is often known as purging, and provides time to rid the shellfish of any unwanted extras, from toxins, bacteria and micro-organisms to sand, mud and anything untoward in their guts. It is well worth taking the time to do this, obviously.

Bivalve molluscs

 

What water and how much to use when purging? 

If your shellfish are from the sea, then purging in salted water will be the best option, sea salt that is. The amounts are; 35g of sea salt to every litre of water, or clean, filtered sea water. The shellfish just need to be covered with water, no more or less. Purging means just letting the shellfish sit and soak in this water for the suggested amount of time.

If the shellfish have been foraged from estuaries, then fresh water should also be fine, though you might want to add a little salt. Cockles, mussels and clams are all shellfish I mention in my blog; What can you forage on the Helford?

 

Cockles – Rinse through with fresh water, then soak for 6 hours and check they are still alive before cooking for 5 minutes

Winkles and Periwinkles – Rinse through with fresh water, then purge for 12 hours, plunge into boiling water for 10 minutes

Mussels – Using a knife, scrape off all the barnacles, rinse twice with fresh water and check they are alive before cooking

Clams – Rinse with fresh water, then purge for 6 hours and cook for 10 minutes

The Seaweed Forager – A Podcast with Rachel Lambert

The Seaweed Forager – A Podcast with Rachel Lambert

Karen Pirie, a Cornwall based podcaster recently joined me on a seaweed foraging course to record a podcast for her new venture; Cornwall Woman. I’ve known Karen for a few years and find her easy company. She travelled with me to meet our group of keen […]