Diary dates, June July

There will be two walks this weekend, a workshop/walk at AnGairdin Portumna and a walk at Dunamase Laois. I will be joining herbal doctor Emmett Walsh on three dates for herbal and wildfood walks, I will also be in Kenmare and possibly at Clara bog (unconfirmed)

  • Sat June 29th, Portumna, contact, 0909741689
  • Sun June 30th, Dunamase, 3-5pm, herbal/wildfood walk jointly hosted with Emmett Walsh
  • Sat July 6th, Blueball, Offaly, open day at Roscore clinic.
  •  Sat July 13th, kenmare, Kerry, wildfood walk at 11am,
  •  Sun July 21th, hill of Uisneach,  3-5pm herbal/ wildfood walk with Emmett Walsh.

June, Summer Flowers

June and it IS summer, lovely word, Summer I’ll give it a capital letter, in fact as we waited so long lets have all capitals, SUMMER, yes that looks good to me (thank goodness this is not an English test )

Flower season and real summer sun to match, any countryside stroll is bound to bring you within range of the heady scent of “May” or White Thorn, and the Gorse and Broom and still blooming on mountain and bog though quickly going to seed.

Elderflowers that we all know and love are just appearing in my area, 3 more days I’d say. The fab Rosa Rugosa or Japanese rose is also appearing and while more an escapee or result of municipal or roadside planting deserves attention where it is abundant and there is no evidence of spraying nearby.

Even the humble and much maligned Dandelion is still about and if I  don’t get to gather flowers or mow , birds love to feed on the seed heads, a pair of Goldfinches or Blackcaps can only gladden all but the most pernickity gardeners heart, or maybe that’s my excuse for the jungle that currently surrounds my house.

Red Clover is also blooming and the bumble bees are busy feeding on it.

Wild fruit trees are also blooming or just finished and fingers crossed that they have had favourable conditions for pollination and the fruit will “set”

So with all this heavenly scented bounty about it’s time to get gathering and go all girly and pretty, try your hand at the Rose Petal Butter Biscuits which you could cut into pretty heart shapes as Tamasin Day-Lewis does in her book Supper for a song. Or a simple delicate flower scented jelly, make in small batches and pot in small pretty pots or I used small glasses and sealed with cling, adding a petal to each glass. These will be used up quickly so not worried about keeping time. Then there are cordials and syrups to make for little folk and maybe a demijon of wine.

Even if you do nothing but sit back and breathe in the scent of the flowers, enjoy, enjoy.

Elderflower bounty

 

Rachel and Elderflower

Rachel and Elderflower

mushroom dryad`s saddle mush Chantarelle basket 1At last, just as last years supplies of Elderflower jelly, delight and cordial run out the new crop is about to burst forth, get ready to make all those wonderful summer treats again, I need to tweak  ice-cream recipe a little but promise  to post this week.

Look out for Dryad’s saddle mushrooms too, only good when young and soon time for the marvellous Chanterelles.

Rose Petal Butter biscuits,

It’s June and wow it’s actually summer. Today I picked my first batch of the heavenly scented Rosa Rugosa full of fragrance on this beautiful sunny day.Pick your petals somewhere clean and free from spray.

As  write one half of petals are infusing, ready for making delicate rose petal jelly while the other half have been baked into shortbread, Yum yum, so simple, so lovely.  Use your favourite shortbread recipe, adding a generous hand full of chopped fresh petals, or try this one.I rolled the dough thin between two sheets of parchment, you can then cut pretty shapes before baking or bake in one piece and cut up while still warm from oven.Don’t  wolf these down, they require a restrained approach, allow to melt in the mouth, relax and imagine you’re a pampered Persian Princess,  works for me!

Rose petal Butter Biscuit,

Heat oven to 175 degree centigrade.

2 handsfull of petals chopped,

300grms butter,

350grms plain flour,

100 grms caster sugar,

extra sugar for top.

Rub the flour sugar and butter together in a bowl, when they begin to come together add rose petals and work through the mix.

Flatten the mixture onto a parchment lined tin or circular cake tin, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for about 20 mins till golden, keep eye so as not to over cook and spoil the flavour they should be light golden.

Cool and cut up while still warm, enjoy as is or try with first strawberries or good Vanilla ice-cream.

Fudge, flavoured with Wild Water Mint

I’ve been musing over a wild flavour for fudge which is a great favourite in our house and exported all over the world to follow family members on their trips to far flung jungles and forests.

On a recent hike in the Slieve Blooms my friend and I gathered a bag full of very aromatic young  Water Mint sprigs and I infused them to make this fudge. hope you like it.

Water Mint Fudge.

  • 410 grm can  Evaporated milk,
  • 450 grm granulated sugar,
  • 450 grm butter,
  • 3 handsful of Water mint leaves,
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar.

 

Method,

Heat evaporated milk to simmer in a heavy saucepan,

add mint leaves, turn off heat and leave to infuse for at least two hours or overnight.

Have a shallow tin ready, lined with baking parchment .

Strain the milk and return to saucepan with butter. Heat and melt butter, add sugar and stir to dissolve.

Bring to the boil stirring now and then, continue cooking and stirring as mixture thickens and colour darkens.

cook for about 15 mins, at this stage you will need to stir constantly to prevent burning.

Test for set by dropping a teaspoon of mix into a glass of water, if you can form a soft ball from the mixture without it disintegrating it is almost ready.

remove from heat and stir, the mix that clings to edge of pan should be grainy and beginning to set, Beat in vinegar and pour onto parchment and leave to set, cut into small square when firm enough to handle,

Store in airtight tin when completely cold.

 

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