I have been noticing more and more things in the hedgerows. Perhaps it's due to the purchasing of a foraging handbook which has become the mainstay of my bedside table or maybe my observational skills have drastically improved. Whichever the reason it has meant even more slowing down and stopping on a walk; not irritating if you are me but rather tiresome if you are walking with me. Apparently.
What used to be a half an hour walk can now involve
I think it's fair to say that autumn has arrived. I feel like I made the most of summer this year so I welcome the autumn with much more gusto than usual. It's been a very long time since I had an apple or a pear so I am looking forward to getting my hands on some fine specimens at the farmers' market or when I'm lucky enough to find a fruitful tree. Until then I have elderberries to tide me over.
I've been waiting for the elderberries to come
It's nice to have a cupboard full of foraged wares. Currently I am housing sloe port made with sloes that were steeping in gin for two years, a nine month damson gin and I am now using the gin soaked damsons to kick off a batch of damson port. I've been busy. As nice as it is to sip the damson gin like a thin fruity syrup it's also nice to be able to jazz it up sometimes.
After nine months of steeping the damson gin has come out a glorious, deep,
A crumble to me has a whiff of autumn about it. Apple crumble is a classic pudding but a while ago I tried a strawberry crumble and it was so good I couldn't wait to give it a try myself. This is a pudding form of my previous cocktail post; a mixture of strawberries, mint and elderflower syrup but under a biscuity crust. The ingredients in this crumble scream of summer and the smell of cooking strawberries and buttery crumble is irresistible.
I like making ice cream. I don't do it that often but when I do I try to make something a bit special. My grandparents bought me my ice cream maker for my graduation present a few years ago; it's one of those where the bowl inside the machine is frozen before use and I love it. Having the elderflower syrup hanging around means every time I walk past the bottle I think of another way to use or cook with it. I've always wanted to make yoghurt ice cream
There is a guilt associated with serving up a berry laden pudding. Someone is always going to end up with more fruit or more of one kind of fruit than everyone else. You could of course try making a coulis to atop your dessert of choice but sometimes it's not the most attractive option; or the most sensible, no one wants a soggy shortbread stack. To counteract any unfair fruit distribution I scatter a few fruits onto the pudding and then serve the
Last year I wanted to make some elderflower cordial but after a series of rainy days, lack of time and effort I didn't get round to it. This year I wasn't going to let it escape me but I wanted to make something a bit more punchy. Elderflower syrup seemed like a great idea to me but I had no idea where to start; then I remembered a beautiful violet syrup I had seen over on Karen's blog Lavender and Lovage. The recipe seemed simple and straightforward
Foraging for food is something I have started to do over the last few years. Hunting down blackberry bushes in the autumn is something I've always done but I've never considered it to be 'foraging'. To me, proper foraging involves a wicker basket, curiously shaped knives and an innate ability to avoid thorns and nettles. Since I started to appreciate the other things that can be found outdoors I have added other wild foods to my repertoire: rosehips,
September is the time of year to get out and investigate the hedgerows. There are all sorts of fruits and berries waiting to be picked by eager hands: sloes, rosehips, blackberries, damsons and apples can all be found with a little searching and bravery. I say bravery because foraging is always fraught with a small amount of danger, for instance, a wasp can easily be inhaled if you become distracted by a particularly juicy apple.
The sun was shining, the birds were singing and my bicycle was glistening and raring to go. Foraging can be a trifle difficult when you’re cycling if, like me, you think you’re Victoria Pendleton. Berries can whizz past in the blink of an eye and then you need to brake, reverse to try and find the source of your distraction. When I went out to get these elderberries I took it nice and slowly to ensure I could scour the hedgerows sufficiently.
It wasn't quite