Here I am on the lovely island of Jersey with it’s lanes and byways, handsome cows, accessible coast and balmy weather.
Yesterday the warm muggy day tempted me out and I went down to the sea to scramble up rocky coastal outcrops and sit dreaming for a bit. Then rumble of distant thunder coming from the direction of France just 12 miles away sent me back to the beach and I turned for home.
Stopped along the way to chat a gardener stocking up on seaweed for his spud patch and flower garden, he explained in his charming Gallic accent that he spreads the seaweed over the beds now and removes to compost in Feb,the winter rains wash the nutrients from the weed straight into the soil beneath also it keeps the ground slightly warmer and prevents weeds from growing making soil so much easier to work. Anyway where was I? o yes supposed to be getting shelter of course with all this chat and loitering I got caught in the down pour and as I was soaked decided that I may as well pick some Blackberries or “Brambles” as they are called here.
Found plenty of mushrooms too though mostly of the inedible varieties like Devil’s bolete and Death cap.
Got home muddy and happy like a kid to cook up the Brambles and other, edible, finds. We dined on very fresh and delicious Halibut accompanied by veg from the garden, some Sorrell and Navelworth from the laneways and desert of hazelnut cake served with Bramble and Apple sauce.
A good day.
A beautiful Late Summer morning here at the foot of Slieve Blooms, the sun is just about to appear from behind the mountain and it promises to be another great day for foraging.
I’ve been home in my usual patch for just a week and while I missed the bulk of the Fraughans and Field Mushrooms, I was delighted to get one good picking in a very steep mountain field, daylight hours are spent out gathering whatever is to hand or harvesting garden veg, when evening draws in it’s home to the kitchen to feast or save the bounty. Dinners these days are made up of our own spuds fresh from garden, accompanied by wild mushrooms our own beans, tomatoes courgettes and maybe a little cheese from Mossfield next door. The pleasure of eating what we have grown or picked is more than reward for the work in garden or the occasional sting or minor injury picked up foraging, (I am currently sporting a black eye, acquired on a Blackberry picking outing.
What a magnificent Blackberry harvest there is this year,they are hanging fat and ripe from every bramble bush, the temptation is to pick and pick but I am disciplining myself to harvest and process, batch by batch, avoiding the sin of allowing berries picked to spoil. So there is a growing array of preserves for the pantry shelves, There are so many ways to use Blackberries, Vinegar, Jam, Jelly, Sorbet, Syrup, Wine, baked into Friands, etc etc….
Soon the Elderberries and Hazelnuts will be ready too and all kinds of fabulous Mushrooms are appearing, I was lucky enough to find Ceps, Millers, Milk caps and more this weekend so if you have a little time do get out and pick it is such a pleasure. This year I will be making Dukkah for the first time.Dukkah is mix of roasted and ground nuts and seeds,then spices are added to give more flavor, the Dukkah is then used with sweet or savory dishes, eaten with good bread and olive oil or sprinkled on veg or as coating on tofu or cheese, fish or meat.
now the sun is up and it’s time for breakfast and off to the wilds to collect again.