Hannah and Lucy discovering wild foods at Roundwood house,
November first, you might think it too late in year to go foraging. Not so, on Saturday a group of guests and I gathered for a wild food talk, forage and dinner. The talk focused mainly on mushroom hunting, how to forage safely and sustainably and how to include and inform children, also the benefits of mushrooms, not just in our diet. The walk, in grassland, garden and under magnificent trees yielded 5 different edible mushrooms and plenty not for the pot, but beautiful in themselves. We also collected fresh greens and some berries then headed back to the warmth of the fire to enjoy a sip of my Damson Vodka and relax before dinner. Dinner was sublime, one delicious course followed another, with our wild finds combined with best of local produce. The mood was relaxed, old friends and new sharing a special meal.Our two chefs, Paddy and Ted joined us for a well deserved desert. A nightcap sip of my Beech Leaf Liqueur rounded off the evening beautifully.
Thank you to Mama nature for her beauty and bounty. Thank you to everyone for a great day and to Hannah,Paddy, Amilee and Lucy for the welcome at Roundwood.
Beautiful sunny autumn day spent in Slieve Blooms with Hannah and Paddy of Roundwood House and friends. Big thank you to Lorraine O Sullivan for great photos and Corinna Hardgrave for mention in Sunday Times food article on October 12th.
Here is the recipe for Spiced Elderberry Cordial, you could also use Blackberries. This was a big hit with wedding guests at Roundwood House recently along with the Nettle and Lemon Balm cordial.
The Elderberry or Blackberry syrups a re delicious on ice-cream, with yougurt, in a smootie, as a hot drink even with hot port or used in sauces with Venison.
Elderberry syrup, spiced.
1 litre of Elderberries stripped from their stems,
3 star Anise,
Half kilo sugar,
1 litre water,
2 teaspoons Citric acid, optional.
Put Elderberries and water into pan and bring to a boil, boil for 5 mins. Strain pressing all juice from berries, rinse pan and put in the juice, sugar and spices and return to boil stirring to dissolve sugar. turn off heat and allow to cool a little, stir in Citric acid if using and bottle in sterilized bottles. I use small bottles and keep the syrup cool as it does tend to start fermenting due to relatively low sugar content and short cooking time, which is great for flavour. In any case do refridgerate after opening, Enjoy.
Nettle and Lemon Balm Cordial.
You may find it strange to be posting a nettletop recipe in October but if any nettles have been cut down earlier in the year they will now be putting out fresh growth perfect for using in this recipe wich also make use of the last of Lemon balm from the garden.
2 litres nettle tops,
1 litre Lemon Balm,
1 and half kg sugar,
1 lemon, zest and juice,
2 limes, zest and juice.
Desertspoon Citric acid.
2 litres water.
In a stainless steel pan bring water to boil, put in Nettle tops and return to boil, boil 2 minutes and turn off heat. Add lemon Balm leaves, cover and allow to in fuse for an hour.
Strain liquid and retun to the pan with sugar, heat again stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the lemon and lime, zest and juice. Turn off heat and allow to cool a little before stirring in Citric acid.
Bottle into streilized bottles and store in a cool place or fridge.
Good as hot or cold drink in Gin, Vodka or white wine.