Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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Homemade, foraged biscuits with violets

I've had such fun experimenting with edible violets! Their colour and aroma are a delight, if not a little elusive to pin down! So I thought I'd share my best Dozen Recipes for using Violets for sweet and savoury, complete with notes on colour and flavour.

Most of the recipes I share here use sweet violets, though some are suitable for other wild violets. Check my my Wild Food: Violets post to find out more.

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Using all parts of the sloes for this decadent, homemade chocolate cake

A decadent, sloe gin-soaked chocolate cake with sloes laced through the cake in three different ways. This recipe was requested on several of my foraging courses (I do go on about lots of my favourite wild recipes) so here it is!

You'll first need to make your sloe gin (recipe in my Wild Food Foraging book) and let it infuse for at least 3 months.

A slice a sloe gin-soaked chocolate cake

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SEASONAL TASTER
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Seasonal taster monthly basket

Every month you'll receive 1 seasonal wild food recipe from my edible plant of the month, plus links to additional seasonal posts AND be able to access the last 6 months of Taster basket offerings. 

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Bowl of freshly made wild green pakoras

These are quite a rustic version of wild nettle pakoras and are very simple to make, you can use many different wild greens if you like. I had three cornered leek to hand, rather than wild garlic, or you could use a clove of cultivated garlic.

I've also learnt a few things while making these for the 'nth time. I can work with the spices I have (and don't have to stick to those listed), baking powder makes them a little like popcorn (yum!) and I can (almost) eat them as quick as I can make them!

Nettle Pakora Recipe

Makes 20-25

Ingredients

  • 260 g chickpea flour (gram flour)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 large pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 large pinch of baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1-2 green chillies
  • Handful three-cornered leek (or wild garlic)
  • 100 g nettle tops
  • 250 ml water
  • 500-1000 ml vegetable oil
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chickpea flour, sesame seeds, tumeric, chilli powder, asafoetida, baking powder and salt.
  2. Freshly grind the cumin and coriander seeds and add to the mix.
  3. Finely chop and deseed the green chillies and add in, combining well.
Nettle pakora and wild garlic recipe
  1. Next, wash and chop the three cornered leek and stir in.
  2. Wash and roughly chop the nettles; use wooden spoons to move them around and cut with scissors.
Mixing wet ingredients for pakoras
  1. Gradually add two thirds of the water. Allow the mixture to rest. Check the consistency, you’re wanting a wet batter, though not watery. Add the rest of the water if necessary.
  2. Prepare a couple of large plates with absorbent paper kitchen towel on (I didn't have any so just placed them on a dry plate).
  3. Heat the oil over a medium to high heat in a large pan or deep fat fryer - I used a wok and turned them to cook both sides.
Nettle pakora recipe, freshly fried!
  1. Test to see if the oil if ready by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil. If the oil is hot enough the mixture will sink to the bottom then float straight to the top again.
  2. Using 2 teaspoons, shape the mixture into firm balls, each about the size of a very heaped teaspoon.
  3. Fry each pakora for 3-5 minutes, turning if needed or until golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place on the kitchen towel.
Bowl of homemade nettle pakoras

Serve with sorrel and yoghurt dip (in my book Wild Food Foraging...) or for a vegan alternative, try with Rock Samphire salsa verde.

You may want to check out my other stinging nettle recipes too, or join a spring foraging course.

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