A lazy post here… well I have been very busy.
It has been a wonderful year so far.
Meeting so many interesting people,exchanging stories and recipes, learning more about wild food and experimenting with fermenting foods, launching cookery course and so much more.
last few weeks have been particularly interesting. I have found my first Irish grown Caesar mushroom, learned a few new varieties, made new friends and begun teaching cookery courses in Offaly, Tipperary and Dublin.
I have spent many many hours in woods and mountains, near and far,exploring and enjoying, treasuring every moment.
A big thank you to all my wild food friends and community.
Recently baked this for The Happy Pear, they loved it. It’s a basic vegan cake which loves a drizzle of fruit juice or coffee and Beech Leaf Liqueur.I made it with Lime zest in it and topped with delicious Raw Fraughans, but you can use Rose petals, Orange zest, Lemon or even a few wild Hazelnuts in the mix.
For the topping, macerate Fraughans (wild Bilberries) in a little sugar or other sweetener, I use half weight sugar to fruit that is 100 grms fruit 50 grms sugar and a dash of organic lime juice and jest.Leave for at least an hour stir now and then.
For The Cake, Oven 175 degree C, Pan-20 Cm springform pan, base lined with parchment.Or Muffin Trays lightly oiled.
150 grms Ground Almonds,
150 grms potato flour,
2 teaspoons of organic baking powder,
150 grms organic caster sugar,
50 mls ex virgin olive oil,
250 mls Almond or non dairy milk,
Zest and juice two limes,
teaspoon vanilla essence.
Sieve the potato flour and baking powder into a large bowl, stir in ground Almonds and lime zest.
Put juice, oil Vanilla and milk into a jug and whisk together,
Stir the dry mix and while stirring pour the wet slowly in to form a smooth batter. If mix seems a little to stiff add a little more milk or oil.
Pour into baking pan or divide into muffin trays, (Silicone ones work really well)
Bake 20 minutes for Muffins or 25 minutes for cake, test and bake till just set.
Allow to cool in pan for ten mins then remove from tin and cool on wire rack.
Slice cake into 8 or twelve slices, pile Fraughans on top, allowing juice to run down sides, decorate with edible flowers and Mint leaves.
Split Muffins and fill with Fraughans, decorate with Mint and edible flowers.
Ramson’s wild Garlic is appearing in many a wooded spot around now. Easy to identify and very tasty this is a great “starter”forage food. But a few words of warning.
- Learn to distinguish young leaves from the young leaves of Wild Arum which often grows near by and when small can be mistaken by the unwary.
- Pesto seems to be the most popular use of wild garlic and while it is easy to make there are some safety considerations.
- Any food stored under oil has a short shelf life of 2 weeks. There should always be a layer of oil covering the pesto and once you start to use remember to top up with with more oil.
- Store your pesto in the Fridge, below 5 degrees centigrade.
- If any of your pesto shows signs of bubbling or pressure building up in the jars disgard the batch. Better to head out to the woods and start again.
- Your pesto (or garlic leaves) will freeze well so you can keep a supply throughout the year.
- So Keep cool, keep safe and happy.
Wild Energy booster.
This is my daily fix of wild power, packed full of nutrients and flavour. Recipe is for 1 large or two medium servings.
- Handfull of fresh garlic leaves.
- Handfull of fresh nettles,
- juice and zest of organic lemon, if you don’t have organic leave out the zest.
- 2 peeled apples or one ripe banana.
- 1 and 1/2 cups filtered water.
Blitz together and enjoy.
Nettle and Parsley pesto.
Ramsons Garlic and Rocket Pesto.
These are versatile recipes using whatever combination of leaves you like.Oil can be Olive, rapeseed or a combination. Nuts can be Cashew, Walnut , Pinenut or again a combination. Cheese is optional, again I often use Mossfield mature or leave out altogether to suit those with Dairy intolerance. if you have nothing to hand but leaves and oil you can blend together and season later.
2 liter jug of young leaves of choice,
300mls of oil,
juice of 3 lemons,(if organic use zest also)
100grms nuts or seeds.
100grms grated Parmesan or mature cheese (optional)
First snip leaves with scissors, this avoids long strands getting tangled in your blender.
Blend leaves and oil, season, add lemon juice and zest, blend briefly, stir inchopped nuts and cheese if using, pot into small jars and refrigerate or freeze.
Elderberries are ripening in hedgerows, great news as these little berries are tasty, easy to identify and full of goodness. They are at least as valuable when it comes to boosting your immune system as Echinacea and available for free all around us.
So grab your bucket and get yourself some local free super food.
Elderberries are rich in vitamin C, they also contain high levels of flavonoids which inhibit the ability of flu virus to enter cells.
Elderberries are packed with all the essential amino acids, Vit A, B C and H, calcium, magnesium and Iron.Thus Elderberry is a strong immune strengthening herb.
They act as tonic, antibacterial,anti-inflammatory, and expectorant.
Elderberries can be used in relishes chutneys, jellies and syrups. They also contain high levels of tannins which makes these little beauties perfect for making homemade wine.I use Elderberry wine to blend with other fruit wines.
Here is a simple recipe for syrup which stores well, take a spoonful every day as winter tonic or every few hours at first signs of infection.
Elderberry Syrup, spiced.
Syrups are very versatile, they make a great warming drink, can be drizzled over ice-cream or pancakes or added to smoothies or even sauces.Take a Spoonful over porridge or in yogurt in morning. This is my favourite winter syrup. Great added to a hot port, guaranteed to cheer you up when the chills threaten.
I usually add cloves and cinnamon bark or star anise to the mix to give it extra warmth, you could try organic lemon juice and zest or organic orange jest
Saucepan, stainless steel if you have.
Jelly bag or old pillow slip for straining
Bottles to store your syrup.screw top or clip top.
Elderberries stripped from stems, enough to half fills your saucepan.
Sugar.white, unrefined or Demerara.(you can use xylitol for a sugar free version)
Citric acid or juice and jest of organic lemon (aids preservation)
Put berries in pan and cover with water, bring to boil and boil for 15 mins.Strain through jelly bag or pillow slip, squeezing to extract as much juice as possible. At this stage you can freeze some of the juice to later.
Sterilize bottles in oven ( not essential if for home use) 20 mins at 160.
Rinse saucepan and measure juice. For every liter of juice add 250grms sugar or xylitol to taste.
This is a small quantity of sugar but you can increase if you prefer a sweeter juice.
Use one teaspoon of citric acid or 2 lemons per liter.
Add spices if using, I usually add them directly into bottles, cloves in one , Cinnamon in another etc, about 4 cloves and 3cm cinnamon per 250ml bottle.
Heat and stir to dissolve sugar.bring to boil, turn off heat and allow to cool a little before adding citric acid, stir to dissolve and bottle.
Bottle and allow to cool completely before storing in cool dark place or fridge.
Extra date 2017.
Mary has added an extra workshop for 2017.
- Sunday December 10th @ Nenagh, run in conjunction with Steeples this will be a farm, wood and wetland walk followed by indoor lunch and workshop. Book with folks @ Steeples or through Mary 087 7418536 cost €50 includes lunch and tastings.
2018 dates, here are some dates for 2018, more will be added.
- SATURDAYS @ ECOFARM GORT.
- March 10th
- May 12th
- September 22nd
- October 13th
- SUNDAYS @ CLAREEN
- March 11th
- May 13th
- September 23rd
- October 14th
Mary offers workshops to schools, primary, post primary, College and private groups, just call to discus your own specially tailored event. See below for some scheduled dates.
Workshops can be themed around such topics as fun with wild flowers and plants. Biodiversity, Natural health boosters, wine-making. Fungi… So if you are looking for an unusual gift or a fun educational/cooking experience contact Mar
- PLEASE NOTE: workshops subject to minimum of 6 people, max 15.
To arrange a workshop for your family or group, home or away, please contact Mary.