Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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Infusing pink elder and rose petals to make cordial

Nature isn't always subtle and for good reason. Colourful petals draw a bee towards a flower's nectar-filled centre, a bright white tail of a rabbit confuses its predator during a chase, a colourfully feathered bird attracts a mate.

Pink elderflowers, black lace

Colour is one of the first things my eyes register when I'm given a drink or a plate of food, smell comes second. Scientific research confirms too, that we often eat with our eyes.

Glass of pink elder and rose cordial

Not surprisingly, it was the outrageous pink followed by the familiar scent of elderflowers that my senses delighted in when making this cordial. My memory bank of colours, tastes and smells noted a while ago that rose was a flavour for me, mixed with pink elderflowers I was super excited!

Japanese Rose petals

I have plenty of elderflower recipes to share, and several delicious rose recipes too.

This is an easy cordial to make, with a stunning colour and aromatic scent of rose and elderflowers. Dilute for drinks, turn into elderflower champagne or use is desserts.

Handful of rose and pink elder flowers

Pink Elderflower and Rose Cordial Recipe

I adapted this recipe to the amount of pink edlerflower (Gerda) heads I could reach and the number of rose petals that would come away easily in my hand. Double it, if you choose, freeze it, drink it, enjoy!

Makes 750 ml

Ingredients

  • 10 elder flower heads (flowers forked off stems)
  • Handful of rose petals (fragrant ones)
  • 200 g unrefined sugar
  • 500 ml boiling water
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 oz citric acid (if you’re going to store the cordial for a while)

Ideally pick the flowers in full sun. Fork the flowers off the stalks or snip off the main stalks, putting flowers aside and discarding the rest. Place the elderflowers and rose petals (check to remove bugs) in a heatproof bowl or container, along with the sugar. Pour over the boiling water. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and leave for 24 hours.

Strain the mixture through a sieve, or preferably a fine muslin cloth, and funnel into clean bottles, or dilute and serve immediately!

Glass of pink elder and rose cordial

I run foraging courses throughout the year, helping you discover the colours and flavours of each season. You can view dates and content here on my foraging course calendar.

I also offer a monthly membership where I send you recipes each month as I go through my wild and seasonal year. Sign up is easy - view membership blogs here and see what you could access.

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!

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Seaweed crispbreads freshly baked

These seaweed crispbreads are seasoned with two seaweeds and seaweed salt and are delicious! I mean, fat, salt and umami, what could go wrong? The basic recipe was given to me by my dear friend Paul, and I've incorporated seaweed into the mix to add a lovely depth of flavour and goodness. These also happen to be vegan. They are both crispy and slightly chewy in texture and will leave you wanting more.

Here I share the recipe, plus a little on the benefit of adding seaweeds to your meals.

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MONTHLY BASKET
£5.25 per month

Rich pickings monthly basket

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Nori (Porphyra)

Nori doesn't just come in sealed packets, shipped across the world in the form of nori sheets. Nori (Porphyra) can also be picked fresh in Winter on Cornish coasts and from European waters. No plastic, no air miles, just fresh nori goodness.

Freshly picked nori needs to be dried to create the same taste as nori sheets. I share how to dry, flake and store seaweeds, as well as guidance on when, where and how to pick seaweeds sustainably in my award-winning seaweed book.

Fresh nori seaweed

Here I share a recipe which uses flaked nori seaweed, combined with rye, oatmeal and roasted buckwheat to create a rustic cracker. These were shared on a seaweed foraging course with seaweed butter/oil or cheese. They were very moreish - everything always tastes better eaten outdoors on the beach!

Dried and Flaked Cornish Nori

Nori, Rye, Oatmeal and Roasted Buckwheat Cracker Recipe

These are easy to make, they store well and are full of natural goodness!

Makes 40

Ingredients
200 g white rye flour
100 g oatmeal (or ground porridge oats)
200 g roasted buckwheat grains
1 tbsp dried, ground nori
Large pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, olive oil or half and half of each)
200-230 ml water

Method

Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combined. Add the oil and gradually add the water until it makes a workable dough and set aside for half an hour to allow the moisture to be absorbed. Decide whether you want rustic, oval shaped crackers (1) or crackers shaped with biscuit cutters (2). Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C.

1. Break off walnut sized blobs and roll them out between two pieces of grease-proof paper to the thickness of the buckwheat seeds. If the dough is a little sticky, you can add more oatmeal. Roll in one direction to get tongue shaped crackers or keep turning them around to create rustic round crackers. You may need to change the baking paper if it gets too soggy.

2. Roll the dough out between two pieces of greaseproof paper and use a biscuit cutter to create the crackers. When pressing down the cutter into the dough, take this opportunity to press the dough more firmly together. My dough was quite crumbly, so doing this really helped!

Place the crackers on a large sheet of dry baking paper on an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes. Turn them half-way through with a fish slice or similar (they will be fragile) until all the water has evaporated and they have turned a little brown. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container.

Nori, Laver, Pophyra

Made for Valentine's Day, some hearts break easily, some stay whole, still delicious! If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear from you, tag me on instagram  @rachellambertwildfoodforaging or ping me a message.

Everytime I run a Seaweed Foraging Course I make tasters. Sometimes I stick to old favourites like seaweed hummus, or 3 Seaweed Soup though often I tweak things or experiment - I like to keep things fresh and new.

Frequently I make seaweed bread and dips; it's easy, accessible and bread is a brilliant carrier for all sorts of toppings on the beach. In my Seaweed book I have a perfect hummus recipe, and a Crab and Alaria Seaweed salad (image below).

I don't often get to teach this seaweed, so doing so, and eating it is a real treat. Alaria esculenta is also known as Dabberlocks, Tangle or sometimes Atlantic Wakame, and is one of the seaweeds that is delicious raw. This makes it perfect for marinades and salads. I love crab, though veganism is becoming more and more popular, so I decided to tweak the recipe and make it vegan, so everyone on my most recent seaweed course could enjoy it.

Alaria Esculenta doesn't grow everywhere, though we do have it off the Cornish coast, and it is most similar to Wakame - a Japanese seaweed used in salads and soups. I share more about this on my courses (there's just too much to say here!).

Here's the recipe;

Carrot, Ginger and Alaria Seaweed Salad

This is really easy to make though ideally you need to marinade the seaweed overnight. You can use fresh or dried seaweed and you could use ginger juice (juice yourself) rather than pickled ginger (available in Asian food stores).

Ingredients

  • 15cm dried alaria esculenta seaweed or 25cm fresh (this should be the oldest part, with the stipe/stem and 2/3 of the seaweed left behind for it to rejuvenate)
  • 50g pickled ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 300g carrots

Finely chop the seaweed and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the ginger followed by the rest of the ingredients, except the carrots. Stir thoroughly to coat, cover and leave overnight. In the morning grate the carrots and add to the marinade. Mix well and empty the contents into a container with a well-sealed lid and take to the beach, or serve in a salad bowl.

Goes really well with seaweed hummus, seaweed bread, added into stir fries, with noodles, with fried rice, and well, lots of things!

To find out more about identifying and harvesting seaweeds sustainably do check out the seaweed foraging courses or if you want to save money, my seaweed book with recipes, identification, nutrition and lots of tips is just £6.95.

 

 

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