Last week I went wandering to one of my favourite foraging patches. It’s by a river, and a haven for birds, critters and wild nibbly things. I was out shooting footage for a video on nettle.
Not for myself, but for an online company that was offering a ‘wilderness date’ day.
No not a dating site. This was for folk already in a committed relationship. A way for busy (often child laden) couples to add pizzazz to and jazz up their coupling.
It’s so easy when one “gets hitched” to fall into the routine of life, kids and the pursuit of paying bills. Often losing the romantic buzz that attracted two people together in the first place.
So this company was trying, in a really fun way, to put the spontaneity and fizz back into couples lives. I was all for it. And if it meant that the story of nettle would reach more folk, so be it.
As I finished off the shoot, I slowly wandered back to pick up my two wheeled push pedal vehicle.
It was then that I came across a large community of Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale). It has a pretty short window of opportunity for gathering. Because as soon as it gets beyond the early growth stage, it turns tough and spindly.
But this young growth was mahoosive, supple, and begging me to harvest it. Pondering what I was to craft from the green delight I was holding in my hand. I decided to do something Asian with it.
Hedge Mustard is part of the Brassicaceae family. The same family as your kale, broccoli, turnip, cabbage etc.
And in Asia mustard greens are used quite a lot in cooking. So I set about having a ponder. Then, slowly the idea for a rice soup (something eaten a lot in places like Thailand) came to mind.
When it comes to recipe creation. I simply allow the smell, texture and look of the plant to slowly pervade my mind. Until they combine to trigger something in my memory.
It’s a bit alchemical I suppose.
So when I got home, I created this quick, nourishing recipe for my sweetheart and myself. I started this post talking about a wilderness date day. Well, why not create your own?
Grab your partner, a loved one or other intimate friend. And use this hedge mustard recipe to nestle in with each other in the kitchen.
Create some nourishing physical food to nourish your relationship. I love the unintended consequences of foraging. From gathering nourishing food, to nourishing human relationships.
Robin is a forager and self-taught ethnobotanist. He specialises in wild edible plants and has been running foraging courses throughout the UK since 2008. He travels extensively documenting and recording the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures.