I warn you, this might be a blog with questions. I did wonder what to make the title, it could have been; what’s yellow, subtle with a crisp outer and soft centre? Though it sounded too much like a chocolate advert. Here’s the answer, a […]
Tag: wild food
I’ve always considered myself an artist rather than a scientist, and heaven help me if I had to make cakes for a living; I’m far too much of a slow, pondering and inventive cook to make any money from it.
I do have some successes though, and some happy accidents along the way. I also love to share what I learn, how to do it (and how not to). On that note… I set out to create a gorse infused cream and this happened.
And it was rather good, so I thought I’d share the process (and I’ll share the final recipe another time too). If you’ve ever whisked cream too much, butter is what happens – it’s science, though what you do with it decides whether it is art or not.
How to Make Gorse Flower Butter
Perfect for lathering on fish dishes, on hot toast, or mix with icing sugar and use as a filling or topping on cakes.
75g fresh gorse flowers
200ml double cream
Place the gorse flowers in a small saucepan and pour over the cream. Stir and bring to a slow simmer over a low heat, take off the heat, cover and leaving to cool completely before straining through a fine sieve or muslin cloth.
When the cream is cooled, using an electric whisk, beat the cream until it starts to clot and continue until the cream starts to separate (into buttermilk and butter). You can strain off the buttermilk and use in cakes or bread (that’s another one for me to try).
And that’s it. You have made gorse flavoured butter. If you want to make it into butter icing, weigh the butter and mix the same amount in weight of sieved icing sugar, blend well and smother the tops or middle of cakes.
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 […]
It is hard to make generalisations about what the appeal of foraging is for 21st century folk, already living in a pre-dominantly digital and comfortable world. There will, of course, be various reasons why people choose to seek out their own, hard to reach food when modern conveniences, restaurants and well stocked supermarkets are all too easily available.
Some of those reasons will include; the search for fresh, local, unadulterated and regional tastes, for others, the satisfaction and exhilaration of gathering ingredients in the outdoors, compared with the chore of browsing shopping aisles. Cost might be an aspect – free food – rather than food that is entwined with monetary value, which, for a growing percentage of people, is of real concern. As foraging remains in vogue, that alone will appeal to some; providing a fashionable activity, something perhaps, that’s different, to entertain the family, bring people together, and is outside the usual day to day activities. I have come across all these reasons and more, why humans resort back to a seemingly redundant activity.
As you will know, foraging is what we, the human race used to do in the UK – as with everywhere else in the world – in order to feed ourselves and our families. Along with hunting, it was all we did for food, and was an activity that preceded farming, and trading. According to Ray Mears, is wasn’t till around 6000 years ago that the practice of farming reached the shores of Britain (1). Since then, foraging and hunting have slowly diminished in the UK, as ways of reaping greater harvests and utilising animals better have replaced the old practices.
Why then, return to foraging again? Having outlined a few possible reasons above, I wanted to un-pack this a little further, exploring the multi-layered benefits of eating foraged foods. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest report on ‘Obesity and Overweight (January 2015), states the current day dilemma of cheap, high energy foods that are low in nutrition (though high in sugar, salt and fats), and the combination of diet with a sedentary lifestyle, that results in numerous health problems including heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and obesity (2). These are modern day issues, that to our hunt-gatherer ancestors were pretty much alien.
For us living in a comfortable, 21st century lifestyle there are elements of our ancestor’s way of life that could be of benefit to us; namely fulfilling activity and more natural, nutritious foods.
The Paleo Diet
Ignoring the word diet for a moment (or simply seeing it as a way to describe a way of eating), the paleo diet has been described as a way to optimise health, minimise the risk of chronic disease and help to lose weight (3). A modern adaption of a hunter-gatherer diet, the paleo diet (referring to the Stone Age, and the early use of stone tools about 2- 2.5 million years ago) seeks to work in unison with what humans consumed up until farming.
Avoiding processed and refined foods, increasing protein, lowering carbohydrates and increasing vegetable and fruit intake are some of the principles. Incorporating foraged foods fits naturally into this; accessing a wide range of vitamin and mineral sources from wild foods which naturally have a lower carbohydrate base (trying digging up wild, edible roots and you’ll know why) and natural oils. Protein would mainly come from meat and fish, though some lower amounts from plants too.
Combine this, with refreshing time outside, in the natural environment, with movement and activity that makes you feel good, well, it’s not rocket science… these things can have a positive effect on our health and well-being.
If you’d like a taste of what this could feel and taste like, all within a mixture of both a timeless, natural setting, with modern comforts, then why not try a Wild Yoga Retreat at CostisLost House;
Wild Yoga Retreat ~ 12th – 15th June (3 Nts) ~ £485pp
Costislost House is an idyllic rural retreat in north cornwall with its own rustic charm. A stunning house set in beautiful countryside, perfect peace and tranquility to practice yoga, meditation and be pampered. Running yoga weekend breaks and active yoga breaks. Ashtanga yoga is taught be Denise Christian who taught alongside Hamish Hendry in London before moving to Cornwall. Jane is our naturopathic nutritionist and chef and is on hand for nutritional advice and inspiration to guide you to optimum health. Also on offer; massage, relexology and on our active weeks other sports and activities such as surfing, cycling, kayaking, foraging and walking.
Find out more about the Wild Yoga Retreats; the yoga, the wild food foraging, eco-steering, nutritious, healthy food based on paleolithic principles (full board included), and optional treatments (holistic massage, aromatherapy and much more) – www.paleoyoga.co.uk
- (1) Mears, R. & Hillman, G. (2007) Wild Food, BBC: Hodder & Houghton
- (2) WHO (2015), Obesity and Overweight, Fact Sheet no. 311, www.who.int
- (3) Cordain, L. (2015) The Paleo Diet, www.thepaleodiet.com
A long held discussion or even conflict within the world of wild foods is that of comfrey & whether its healthy or potentially harmful to humans. I’m sure this discussion will continue for, well, a while, meanwhile I thought I’d add my contribution. I’ve also […]
Researching regional names of plants is a fascinating and usually an amusing pastime. Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) is one of those plants, and as it’s now in season (april to june) I thought I’d dedicate a whole blog article to it. Inspired also by local […]
Last month a few hardy foragers (actually it was a lovely bright, wintery day) joined me at Cape Cornwall for a wild food walk with tasters. At a welcomed break we sat down with a large flask of ‘Wild Spiced Cleaver Coffee’.
The drink went down well – sweet, hot and naturally containing some caffeine, everyone was pleasantly surprised! There are many variations in making this coffee substitute, this is one alfresco style on the beach!
Everyone has there own traditions for Christmas Day. For me, I’m satisfied if I’m in good company, have a dip in the sea & there’s a healthy amount of indulgence. Down here in Cornwall I’ve plenty of people to share these common themes with; least […]