Tag: ulex europaeus

Make your own Wild Moorland Tea

Make your own Wild Moorland Tea

As August has been unfolding I have been sneaking up to the moors and delighting in the tinges of purple, pinks and yellow as the heath-land takes on its late-summer coat. Bell heather  (Erica cinerea) is the first to appear with her larger purple bell-shaped […]

Spring Dessert: Nettle and Honey Cake with Gorse Flower Syrup

Spring Dessert: Nettle and Honey Cake with Gorse Flower Syrup

Five years ago I wrote a blog about my Nettle and Honey Cake – it went down a treat. Named as; ‘probably the best cake I’ve ever had’ by one enthusiastic forager, I was super pleased the result. Every so often I like to repeat […]

The Lessons of Making Gorse Flower Fudge

The Lessons of Making Gorse Flower Fudge

Gorse Flower Fudge

Oh my god, I had such hopes with this recipe, I really thought I’d clinched it first time (which happens occasionally, though is definitely not a given). Heating it slowly, the smell of the gorse flowers was divine and the flavour of properly made fudge, just blissful.

Ulex europeaus, ulex gallii

I went out early in the morning to pick those coconut smelling gorse flowers and couldn’t stop thinking of the smell of condensed milk and how the flavours would match. When I searched for condensed milk though, I couldn’t find one that wasn’t Nestle brand (I’m still not happy about their ethics around supplying milk formula in developing countries, as well as other things), so I decided to settle for a more traditional recipe instead. Double cream, butter and sugar it was.

 

Of course, I’m still learning, and I forgot that as the temperature of the sugar rose higher, the sugar flavours got stronger, and the scented gorse flowers sunk below the brown sugar, cream and butter, never to be smelt again. I even tried a second time using half unrefined caster sugar instead (you may know that I don’t use refined sugars, at all, in cooking), though still the gorse was lost.

However, if you like fudge (and I discovered that many of my friends do), this is an awesome sweet treat. So I decided to share it anyway, plus some tips of how not to cook with gorse (all discovered through experience and in hindsight).

Tips for Making Homemade Fudge

Fudge is both easy and measured in terms of time, temperature and effort – go easy on yourself, especially if it doesn’t work first time. Mine didn’t work first time, it’s usually to do with temperature or not stirring it long enough, though sometimes it just isn’t clear why. Mine didn’t set properly so instead I put the batch in the fridge, and when it was cold, cut it into squares and re-rolled them in my fingers into oblong(ish) shapes. They were a kind of delicious toffee fudge.

The second batch didn’t set either, so I flattened the cooled mixture and sealed it in a bag and froze (there’s only so much fudge you can eat at once!) The mixture can be semi-defrosted and cut into squares.

Tips for Cooking with Gorse

  • Don’t use any strong flavours that might mask the subtle gorse scent (or just go with this ever so subtle flavouring)
  • It’s all about infusing and leaving for as long as you can for the flavour to come out
  • Infuse into milk, cream or water by bringing to an almost boil, turning off the heat and covering overnight
  • Lemon and orange go nicely with gorse, as does coconut (though not all together), it depends what flavour you want

Gorse Flower Fudge

More accurately, a wonderful creamy, buttery tasty fudge recipe which you don’t need to add gorse flowers to (keep them for another recipe), though you can if you want!

Ulex gallii and Ulex europeaus Ulex europeaus, ulex gallii

Ingredients

350ml double cream

30g gorse petals (outer sepals and stems removed already)

100g butter

600g light brown sugar

150g golden syrup

pinch of sea salt

Line a 20cm x 20cm tin with greaseproof paper. Place the cream and gorse flowers in a medium to large heavy bottomed saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer, add the butter and stir. The mixture should be turning a lovely pale yellow colour. Once the butter has melted, stir in the sugar, syrup and pinch of salt. Place a sugar thermometer in the pan and leave to reach 116°C, watching carefully though do not touch. Take off the heat, leave to cool to 100°C before stirring energetically for 10 minutes or until the glossy mixture dulls and stiffens. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and leave to cool for a couple of hours. Cut into squares, keep in an air-tight container, or in the fridge.

Gorse Flower and Sargassum Seaweed Foccacia

Gorse Flower and Sargassum Seaweed Foccacia

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 […]

A Memorable Winter Foraging Menu

A Memorable Winter Foraging Menu

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 […]

Foraging for Gorse Flowers in Winter

Foraging for Gorse Flowers in Winter

Inspired by a winter sun rise and these wonderful bright yellow flowers, here’s a little video about foraging gorse flowers (ulex gallii and ulex europaeus) and making the most of the winter light.

 

 

Why Cornwall is a Great Place to Forage in Winter

Why Cornwall is a Great Place to Forage in Winter

It’s deep December and I’m standing outside. Actually, there’s 8 of us standing outside and waiting for the one that’s gone astray. Once we’re all congregated, we begin. There’s something innately quiet about walking in Winter, as if all around us is sleeping, and in […]