Tag Archives: nature

Foraging the Wharfe valley

Yesterday we decided on a whim to get the train to Harrogate and then walk the 14 miles back to Horsforth, traversing the Whafe valley. As usual we were armed with carrier bags, pen knifes, etc just in case. It was a beautiful day to walk through an equally beautiful landscape with hardly a sole around. We had not planned to forage but came across some edibles so decided to snap them up, what better way to remember a landscape, journey or view than eating it! Today I’ll make a simple wild garlic and sorrel pesto not the most exciting of foraged food but the greatest way to celebrate a brilliant day.

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Wild gooseberry bush

Though it’s a little early for gooseberries hopefully I’ll remember this bush and use it to plan another trip.

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wild garlic

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common sorrel

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Kale Yard soup

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I I feel that finally I’ve cracked winter and spring green growing for years I’d had a few successes but never enough to make more than a token gesture at dinner time. Its the end of February and we’ve had Leeks, Artichokes, Salad leaf and 5 types of brassica all ready for the kitchen for the past few months. In a bid to celebrate this bounty I decided to make a ‘half the garden soup’ with what I had to hand in the veg patch.

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5 Cabbage Kale Yard Soup

Bunch of Cavolo Nero

Bunch of Russian Kale

Bunch of Curly Kale

Bunch of Spring Cabbage

Bunch of left over Wild Cabbage or you could use Purple sprouting Broccoli leaves

5 Leeks

4 medium Potatoes (the last of my pink fur apples I had in store/had forgotten about)

5 cloves of Garlic

Veg or Chicken stock

Sprig of sage and thyme

Wash and chop the leeks, Crush the Garlic and add to a large pan with a knob of butter and the chopped herbs, let them all sweat. As that’s doing its thing wash and remove the tougher stalks from the Cavolo Nero and the Curly kale but the others should be fine as they soften quicker, chop then add them to the pan. This allows them to wilt. Next add your stock. At this point I put the soup into a food mixer as we don’t have a hand blender, with the potato and blitz keeping a bit of texture. Add a vigorous twist of black pepper and a pinch of salt and simmer for 10 mins. You could add chilli which would have been good but I wanted the taste of the garden.

Serve with cream if your greedy like me, and a huge crusty bread. done grew it ate it!

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Strange fairytale edibles

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Scarlet Elf cups

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Jelly ears

These must be some of the oddest edible mushrooms lurking in the undergrowth on a wet February afternoon or stuck to the underside of a dead twisted Elder they couldn’t be more fairytale.

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Hairy bittercress pesto

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There’s not a great deal to get excited about in January in the veg patch, Fartichokes turn up everyone’s noses and the rest is lying dormant ready for the spring, however what is going strong is the weeds. They are getting their head start as usual on the rest of the garden but before I loose all hope the best thing about them is that they are mostly edible, Hairy Bittercress, Sheeps Sorrel, Chickweed, Dandelion and Couch Grass, OK not the last one but the rest are in abundance, tasty and I need them gone anyway, perfect. Its fair to say that they are never going to in sufficient quantities to live off but if you treat them more like herbs their culinary capabilities come into their own.

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Hairy Bittercress pesto recipe

A handful of bittercress around 15-20 heads

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil

a good grate of Parmesan cheese

generous pinch of sugar

a furious squeeze of lemon

salt and pepper

Chop the bittercress within an inch of it’s life if you like, I like to retain a little texture, finely chop the garlic and add both to a jar. Next add the rest of the ingredients, pop the lid on the jar and shake, check for seasoning. It’s Pesto not rocket science.

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That’s what it looks like in a jar.

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