It’s bitterly cold outside and I’m wandering around my local foraging area looking for something to gather. My body is wanting something with lots of garlic, and oil and fresh raw tomatoes. Not the usual foods one would necessarily want on a cold day, but as I am just getting over a monstrous upper respiratory infection, one which has seen me consume upwards of 15 garlic cloves a day over taking regular antibiotics. I think the craving for the foods stuff is still part of my ‘cure’, well bread aside that is.
It’s the end of January and I head out to forage, unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I don’t need to step any further than my garden. Not because I have some lush cultivated veggies to harvest, but because my garden is putting forth a ubiquitous wild edible plant known as Three Cornered Leek (Allium triquetrum), or as some wild flower ID books call it Three Cornered Garlic. An immigrant plant to these shores and yet another that get’s attacked for daring to chance its luck on Blighty!
Although I am not a big consumer of sweets or deserts, I do have somewhat of a sweet tooth for Turkish Delight, in fact I find it deeply exotic. It must be something to do with being read the Arabian Nights as a child, as well as my love of foods made with roses, which I absolutely love. I find them deeply sensual, see my Rose Petal Honey for an example of serious food porn.
Recently I discovered some Rowan berries in my freezer, and pondered what I might do with them. A different kind of Rowan Recipe was calling to me other than the traditional… “Well they make a nice jelly for meats”.
This makes for a wonderful Winter time Dandelion dressing recipe (Taraxacum spp.). Many assume that the best time to pick dandelion greens is in Spring (actually I find they have more bitterness then), but dandelion greens harvested in Autumn and Winter often have very low bitterness, even less than the chicory or radicchio that you’ll find in your grocers.
This fermented dulse recipe makes for a delicious, tangy ferment. With fermented foods all the rage at the moment, there is good reason to start making them. They have the potential for improving your intestinal tract health, they enhance the immune system synthesising and enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients, as well as reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance, thereby helping to decrease the prevalence of allergy in susceptible individuals, and last but not least they have the potential to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
If you love elderberries then the chances are you will have come across Pontack sauce. Pontack is a Worcestershire sauce mimic, yet few have heard about Prince of Wales Ketchup. I rooted around to find the original Prince of Wales Ketchup recipe and trace the history of it.
For years I had loved Mrs. Beeton for writing her ‘Book of Household Management’, that was until I discovered she had plagiarised her entire work by copying and pasting from earlier authors. Still that doesn’t detract from the fact there are some cracking recipes in it. But I was intrigued, who was the elusive creator of the Prince of Wales Ketchup recipe or Catsup as they used to call it in the 1800s.
Rosehips are in vast abundance this year. Gathering them I pondered what I might create outside the usual recipes like rosehip syrup, rosehip jelly etc. In Sweden there is a traditional recipe for a rosehip soup that is made called Nyponsoppa. It is a cold desert fruit soup usually served with small almond macaroons.