Dinner Menu for a Sunny April Evening

Another beautiful day. I’m really getting used to the sunshine. This evening I’m cooking for my daughter Eve and her hubby Eoin. This is a healthy, vegetarian meal that will of course feature some wild finds as well as fresh garden produce.

The star of tonight’s dinner is the wonderful morel mushroom, locally foraged yesterday evening. These are so delicious I will be preparing them very simply. I am also whipping up a wild nettle frittata and we are sampling vegetarian puddings from demadfoodcompany.  These will be followed by some wheat and dairy free rhubarb crumble.

Let me know if you try out these recipes. Comments and suggestions always welcome. Instagram users please unload photos using the hashtag #wildfoodmary


Wild Nettle and Potato Frittata

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1L Jug loosely packed with fresh nettle tops, cleaned and roughly chopped

8 Eggs (I’m using a mixture of free-range duck and hen)

4 medium Rooster Potatoes, cooked and sliced

2 Cloves Garlic Crushed

1 Medium Red Onion, Chopped

Oil or butter for frying

* You can of course make your own additions like peas, peppers, feta or your favourite cheese. 

Method (10 Minutes)

Heat your oil or butter in a large frying pan. Add onion and garlic. Sauté gently for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the nettle tops, cover the pan and allow to wilt for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and other vegetables if using. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and pour over the potatoes. Allow to cook until beginning to set. Now is the time to add your cheese. transfer your pan to a hot oven or finish under the grill to cook the top until starting to brown.

Morels with Truffle Oil

These delicious mushroom must ALWAYS BE COOKED. I am adding some extra flavour with white truffle oil, a gift from Italy. It can be purchased in Italian and other good food shops. This recipe is so simple that the real challenge is in finding the wild morels.

Ingredients

Morel Mushrooms (however many you can manage to find)

Sprig of fresh Thyme

Butter for frying

White Truffle Oil (A few drops for serving)

Method (12 Minutes)

Begin by roughly chopping the morels. Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the morel mushrooms and fry for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and thyme. Remove from the heat and serve with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Wild Food Mary’s Rhubarb Crumble

My son-in-law Eoin has a serious soft spot for Rhubarb so I’m delighted to be serving up this dish from the years first cutting. This recipe is wheat and dairy free. I am also using xylitol instead of sugar. You can also use agave or honey. Cooking the base and crumble topping separately ensures a delightful crunch. They can also be stored separately keep well in airtight containers.

Ingrediets

For the Rhubarb Filling

4 Stalks Fresh Rhubarb

100ml water

1 capfull vanilla extract

xylitol to taste

For the Crumble Topping

60g Coconut Oil

200g ground Almonds

100g fine Oatmeal

Handful of mixed dried fruit (optional) 

1tsp mixed spice

zest of 1 orange

xylitol to taste 

Method (30 minutes)

Preheat your over to 180 degrees. Begin by preparing the crumble topping. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment. In a bowl mix all of your topping ingredients except the coconut oil. Use a teaspoon to scoop in little lumps of coconut oil. Lightly rub in the coconut oil  until you have a crumb consistency. Spread the mixture out on the baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven, give it a good stir and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until it is golden brown.

While the topping is cooking you can prepare the rhubarb filling. Chop the rhubarb. Bring the vanilla, water and xylitol to the boil. Add the Rhubarb, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook your rhubarb. It’s nicest when it keeps a bit of its’ shape.

Spoon rhubarb mix into a glass and cover it with the crumble. Enjoy!

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Forage photo diary of Easter weekend 2015

mary pictures april 2015 181 mary pictures april 2015 147 mary pictures april 2015 154 mary pictures april 2015 167 mary pictures april 2015 111 mary pictures april 2015 130 mary pictures april 2015 149 mary pictures april 2015 133 mary pictures april 2015 135 mary pictures april 2015 136 Sunny skies and plenty to gladden the senses, a walk by the lake in Cornamona, sounds of garden birds near the house then wild geese curlews and swans and ducks near the water. New lambs in the fields.

The air filled with the scent of Gorse and the sun giving it’s first real warmth of the year, heaven.

I started my weekend with meditation among friends, then a lazy lunch with Mum and few hours lying in the grass talking and laughing with my sisters, that night first campfire in garden at home, well wrapped up watching the sky darken and stars emerge. The Pipistrele bats on the wing.

Monday morning early packed the trusty Toyota with fruit trees and headed off to plant a mini orchard in Connemara, a few hours with pick, shovel and good strong helper and we downed tools and headed for the lake.

Dinner was fresh trout, thank you Tom, with wild and garden salad and of course spuds. Next morning a longer hike round the lake shore,  gathering  some Bog myrtle flowers along the way. I had some myrtle tea recently and was curious to see if Bog myrtle would be tasty, it has a strong scent and was used in beer brewing and also to keep insects at bay. The tea which I brewed with Nettles and some honey was far too bitter but I’ll try again.

Back to Offaly later and off to the food academy on Tues, on the way way home I went mushroom hunting on an impulse, bad news for my suit trousers, which are wrecked from brambles, but great news for dinner.

For me finding Morel mushrooms in Mar/April is like your team winning the triple crown, I feel a little bit like I’ve earned my forager credibility for the coming year.

As for how they will be served, I’m sure Antonio Carluccio has a few inspirational ideas.

O by the way those other mushrooms in the photo are dung mushrooms, growing on manure, DONT try these they are POISONOUS.

 

 

 

Mushrooms, Mycelia, and more

 

St. George's mushrooms in situ.

St. George’s mushrooms in situ.

Mary Bulfin - wild mushroom foragerIt may seem an odd time to be posting about mushrooms but there is a good reason for my writing at this time. I have been researching growing my own fungi and now seems a good time to get organised for the year ahead. Our first mushrooms, the highly prized Morels, will appear with luck in March, and I want to be ready.

Ready to pick if lucky enough to find them, but also ready to harvest spores and attempt to grow the mycelium at home – an ambitious project, but with the guidance of www.fungi.com and the years of experience of Paul Stamets and his team, it’s certainly worth a try.

If you have interest in fungi you will find Paul Stamets’ books and talks quite fascinating. In fact, if you are interested in environmental protection, remediation of pollution, forestry, or the general well-being of our planet then look him up. I was given Mycelium Running as a gift and it’s a book I refer to again and again.

To pick out one topic from the many, how would it be if we could charge our food with sunlight and store the Vitamin D to boost us in dull winter days? In my opinion our poor country is so sadly lacking in natural sunshine that this would be of huge benefit to us all and a lot more accessible to most than a foreign holiday.

We can do this with mushrooms – yes really! They can be shop bought, or even better, wild. Stamets’ method consists basically of exposing the mushrooms to sunlight, they then absorb vitamin D. The mushrooms are then dried and the vit D content remains high for at least a year.

  • For the full method and scientific analyses of content and absorption into body go to www.fungi.com.
  • See Paul Stamets give a TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html 

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