Can you see those bright iridescent tips of the Bushy Rainbow Wrack seaweed below? Maybe you’ve seen this seaweed in a rock pool in Cornwall and couldn’t believe your eyes?! This photo was taken by a friend of mine who was stunned by this shining…
Tag: edible seaweed
This recipe for Dulse Seaweed Soda Bread is delicious and was more popular than the normal, wheat-based bread I baked for a seaweed foraging course, so I thought I’d share it with you here. The basis of this recipe came from my sister (the gluten-free bit), and the rest came from Prannie Rhatigan’s book; Irish Seaweed Kitchen. Prannie’s book made me feel normal – she adds seaweed to everything!
(The dry ingredients for my Gluten-free Dulse Soda Bread, sitting on top of Prannie’s Duileasc Soda Bread recipe page)
Dulse seaweed (Palmaria palmata) has various common names, including Duileasc in Ireland. Dulse is a natural partner to soda bread, and this gluten-free version is just as tasty. Think soft bread with a nice crust and lots of flavour but no annoying bits in it, though of course you can add seeds or nuts if you want. Dulse is also naturally salty so no extra salt needs to be added.
How to make gluten-free dulse seaweed soda bread;
Tasty Dulse Seaweed Soda Bread (Gluten-free)
- 300 g gluten-free oats
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tbsp dulse seaweed (dried and ground)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 325-50 g natural yoghurt
First combine all the dry ingredients (oats, bicarbonate of soda and dulse), then add in the egg and the natural yoghurt and combine well.
The mixture should be wet though fairly stiff, stiff enough to press into an oiled loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for 90 minutes (1 and 1/2 hours), or until the bread is dark brown and has started to come away from the edge of the tin.
Leave in the tin for a few minutes before loosening around the edge with a fish slice, or similar and removed onto a cooling rack. Can be sliced warm or cold. Keeps well in a sealed container for up to 5 days (in the fridge). Wonderful fresh and great toasted too.
Find out how to identify dulse, where to find it, how to harvest it, its nutritional benefits and how to dry it in my seaweed book. Dulse is one of the seaweeds I often include in my seaweed courses too.
Here in Cornwall, three-cornered leek (allium triquetrium) is often called wild garlic. I don’t have a problem with that. I enjoy local names, to me, I associate it with locals taking ownership of the plants, land and so-called weeds surrounding them and I see that…
Part of the fun of foraging for me is coming home with a wonderful choice of unusual ingredients to cook and create with, or drying them to use another day. In my kitchen pretty much anything goes, of course there have been disasters along the way, though I’ve also had some pretty successful surprises.
Foraging also gives me the benefits of broadening my nutrition through a wide range of foods. It’s impossible for me to know everything that my body needs (or would take a lot of expensive analysis), though I do know that by including different seasonal plants and seaweeds I’m more likely to be feeding myself micro-nutrients that would be easy to miss.
For example, we all know that life provides a myriad of stresses and that good nutrition helps to counter the effects of and helps to reduce stress. Though did you know that in particular, seaweed provides up to 56 different essential minerals and trace elements for the human body. Wow.
I first came across sargassum seaweed (also known as wireweed and used to be known as japweed) in Sonia Surey-Gent and Gordon Morris’ book: Seaweed A User’s Guide; an unassuming and valuable book. Here, sargassum muticum is given high acclaim;
‘Sargassum… eaten as a powder with a drink of water, provides all the nutrients needed by the body, with hardly any calories.’
Hmm, all the nutrients needed by the body… sometimes I need a strong reminder to use seaweed. Feeling in the mood to make bread I decided to grab some dried gorse flowers, and the dried and ground sargassum that had been hanging around the kitchen waiting (too long) to be used.
This is what I came up with, complete with a sprinkling of nutrients, made with love and enjoyed with organic chicken soup after a cold and beautiful evening round the fire with friends.
Gorse Flower and Sargassum Seaweed Focaccia
A slightly sweet and nutty bread, with all the lovely texture that focaccia normally has, perfect with cheese and salad, with soup, or drizzle with gorse flower syrup if you fancy something even sweeter.
300ml warm water
100ml gorse flower syrup
1 dessert spoon dried yeast
500g organic strong white bread flour
handful of dried gorse flowers (2x handful of fresh is fine)
1 tsp dried and ground sargassum seaweed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
1 heaped tsp sea salt
Pour the water and syrup into a jug and stir in the dried yeast. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, flowers, seaweed, oil and salt, mix in half the water and with clean hands, combine and knead for 5 minutes, gradually adding the rest of the water. Now for the fun part – stretch and pull the dough for at least another 5 minutes before placing on an oiled surface and kneading for a further 5 minutes. Your dough is now ready to rest (and maybe you too), so pop it back in the mixing bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until it has doubled in size. Preheat the oven the 220°C and flatten the dough into a large, oiled tin and leave to rise for another 1/2 an hour, and prod your fingers into the dough at evenly spaced intervals to give the traditional focaccia topping effect.
Scatter the top with extra gorse flowers (if you have), a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until golden onto and hollow sounding when tapped. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes before using a fish slice, or similar to remove from the tin and leave to cool on a cooling rack. Slice into squares and eat fresh. Lasts well for 2 or 3 days.
Rachel’s Seaweed book talks you through identification, sustainable processing and drying of sargassum muticum seaweed.
I’ve been reading in this Saturday’s Guardian how Thomasina Miers has been supping lots of soup so far this year, and I feel like saying ‘me too‘, though not for the same reasons many women have validly and valiantly been saying this across continents. Tommi…
I’m often asked; what seaweed can you eat? What about this stuff (pointing to the piles of spewed up seaweed on the beach that’s been turfed up by the powerful, stormy Winter waves). Hmm, no wonder people are put off eating seaweed.
Not all seaweed is good to eat. Perhaps you’ve heard me say this many a time; pick seaweed that is fresh, cutting it fresh ensures you know how fresh and old it is. The old, decomposing seaweed is good for compost, though not for eating. There is one exception though: After a storm.
Although it is easy to tell decomposing to freshly cut. Personally, I’m still not intimate enough with seaweed to know if seaweed is just freshly broken off by the storm, or has been 2 or 3 days floating at sea. I go by eye, feel and stay on the safe side. In other words, I prefer to harvest seaweed that is attached.
I have many favourite seaweeds (or my favourites keep changing), and one of these is Sugar Kelp (Saccharina latissima), and yes, it is a combination of sweet and salty. I’ve spent many hours at the lowest tides searching for this seaweed, though mostly, it has alluded me. I know it is there in abundance – plenty times have I seen it washed up on the shore, though often it grows just a little deeper than a low, low tide, and I’m not a diver, not even a snorkeler anymore. Though to my my surprise, it was a storm that brought Sugar Kelp closer and fresher to me.
Can you eat seaweeds that have been washed up after a storm?
Seaweed needs to be attached, through a ‘holdfast’ (seaweed’s equivalent to a root) in order to live. This could be attached to another seaweed, rocks, stones or shells/shellfish. In this case, the storm had thrown up young Sugar Kelp, attached to small stones, so still living – hurray!
Never had foraging Sugar Kelp felt so easy, and the freshness still guaranteed. Walking along the beach, at a medium low tide, I was able to harvest this seaweed and dry it at home for soups and desserts. Below are Apple and Sugar Kelp Turnovers from my Seaweed book . This seaweed has particularly good amounts of magnesium and calcium, and used to be chewed dried by children as salty ‘sweeties’.