I like to experiment. It's not that I don't repeat tried and tested recipes that I love. I do, but sometimes I like to experiment and try something a little bit different.
I have a couple of recipes for seaweed hummus and seaweed dips (including Broad Bean and Sea Greens Dip and Kelp Hummus which you'll find in my Seaweed Foraging book) that I've made again and again. Though this particular Saturday afternoon I fancied doing something different.
I have a shelf in my kitchen dedicated to seaweeds, call it my seaweed shelf, if you like. I perused the different varieties of dried seaweeds I had and decided to use a combination of two seaweeds. In my freezer I had lots of frozen peas, I love frozen peas, and decided to combine the peas and seaweeds, with lemon and garlic, of course.
(Bowl of dried gutweed - Ulva intestinalis - sometimes known as sea greens)
Gut weed, also known as Sea Greens (Ulva intestinalis) was my obvious choice with peas, though I'd also have some great successes adding Pepper dulse (Osmundea pinnatifida or Laurencia pinnatifida) to many dips as it adds a spicy kick to recipes and accentuates flavours already there. So my choice was made; gutweed for its wonderful herby flavour and lots of nutrition including B12 and protein, and pepper dulse for the peppery umami flavour.
Dips are so easy to make, just whizz them up and serve. Really.
Once blended, I sealed the Pea and Seaweed dip in a couple of tupper-ware containers and took it to the beach where I met a group of eager and budding foragers for a Seaweed Foraging Course. Towards the end of the afternoon we sat on the rocks and ate. Two tubs of this more-ish dip went rather fast, and was enjoyed by the adults and kids on tasty seaweed bread.
Pea and Seaweed Dip
- 425 g frozen peas (defrosted)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5 g dried and ground gutweed seaweed (Ulva intestinalis)
- 5 g dried and ground pepper dulse seaweed (Osmundea pinnatifida or Laurencia pinnatifida)
- Juice from 1 and 1/2 lemons
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Blend all the ingredients and serve. Keeps well for a few days and perfect on the beach with fresh bread.
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 and potential seaweed foragers on the south coast of Cornwall. On the way we chatted about life, using time well, foraging, nature and love - all the important things of life for sure!
Here's the podcast, which includes snippets about Laver/Lava seaweed (Porphyra species), Dulse (Palmaria palmata) and even Kelp (Laminaria digitata), oh and Karen's favourite Pepper Dulse (Osmundea pinnatifida).
The day was blowy and together with the group we found sheltered crops of rocks where we hid from the elements and talked about and tasted our freshly foraged seaweeds. Later on we found warm rocks to lean against, which were even further out of the wind, and here we enjoyed Spiced Seaweed Broth and Seaweed bread. The recipe for the broth (image below) is here; Seaweed Soup with an Inner Kick and the recipe for the Sea Lettuce Seaweed Bread is here in my Seaweed Foraging Book.
After the course, Karen and I slipped away to check out another beach I really wanted to see at low tide. Here, we got to chat some more about the course that had just happened and the role that foraging can play in helping us prioritise what feels good and how it can help re-balance our lives. Thank you Karen, and all the best with Cornwall Woman, which is all about cool Cornish women and their love-affair with Cornwall.
Hearty Seaweed Broth (awards for taste but not for looks!), fit for a windy Cornish beach when something hot and nourishing is needed. This is just before I ladle it into a food flask and whisk it off to our beach where we'll spend 3 hours learning about its ingredients and much more. If you'd like to try the recipe, here it is again; Three Seaweed Soup with an Inner Kick.
I'm often asked what my favourite time to forage is, well spring is fantastic, though honestly, winter is becoming an increasingly wonderful time to forage. The quiet, the abundance of plants and the unexpected joys of finding food (not in the supermarket) this time of year.
On January 2nd myself and a small group of friends went foraging, our task; to simply enjoy the outdoors and gather a few ingredients for supper, which we'd then share together, and that's exactly what we did. A big thank you to Sara Pozzoli for joining us and filming us. Here's the menu;
Winter Foraging Menu
Spelt Bread with Alexander Seeds
Salsa Verde with Rock Samphire, Pepper Dulse and Three-Cornered Leek
Alexanders, Sea Spinach, Gorse Flower and Coconut Curry
Yoghurt Dressing with Three-Cornered Leek, Black Mustard and Wild Chervil
Chocolate and Haw Berry Jam Cheesecake