Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging and Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels

What a fantastic way to spend the Easter weekend. Outdoors with Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods and 40 eager participants on our two Foraging and Wild Food Events. We headed to Skatie Shore on Saturday for Coastal foraging and Dunnottar Woods on Sunday for Woodland and Hedgerow. Luckily the weather was kind to us on both days, only a little drizzle on the Saturday and glorious sunshine on Easter Sunday.


Galloway Wild Foods & Foodie Quine - Spring Coastal & Woodland Foraging



Mark was armed with his trusty foragers kit bag and all the participants had duly heeded the advice of waterproofs, warm clothes, wellies or walking boots. Whilst supping Elderflower Champagne the format for the afternoon was outlined and a veritable abundance of edibles were identified and tasted within only a few yards of our meeting point. Pretty much all of which most of us would have walked straight past on any other day. Our voyage of discovery had begun. 



Skatie Shore - Foodie Quine - Spring Coastal Foraging

Skatie Shore - Foodie Quine - Spring Coastal Foraging



As always with these round ups I refer you to Mark's website for the foraging know how and I'll just attempt to share a wee bit of what we got up to and give you a flavour of what we did, saw and ate over the two days. Competitive pignut digging was definitely a highlight as was the discovery that troublesome weeds such as Ground Elder and Japanese Knotweed were tasty edibles. 



Many of the participants were particularly interested in the seaweed side of things. Risk assessment and simple common sense meant that 20 of us couldn't actually physically all go out clambering on the slippy wet rocks. Mark was however prepared with some 'here's what I forraged earlier' tasters. Such intense and unknown flavours. So difficult to describe. Like giving an artist a completely new colour.

Skatie Shore - Foodie Quine - Spring Coastal Foraging

All too soon it was time to head back and establish base camp. Teas, Coffees and Easter treats first, followed by cooking up some mouthwatering wild food. Common Hogweed fried in butter, Wild Garlic Hummus and a Barley, Smoked Fish, Smoked Egg and Wild Greens Risotto.

Foodie Quine - Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging

On Easter Sunday we had fantastic support from the local Bodging group based in Dunnottar Woods. Whilst we didn't need to make use of their tarp on this occasion were grateful for the access they gave us to their cabin, fire, general local knowledge and in particular their green woodworking skills. They also provided us with a very tasty slow cooked leg of venison. The perfect Easter Sunday roast.

Foodie Quine - Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging

One of our fist stops at Dunnottar, and the one I was personally most excited about was Birch Tapping. A wee bit of specialised kit required in the form of drill and spigots or spiles. Once the tree was tapped the flow of sap was instant and plentiful. The taste was however a bit underwhelming. I think I was expecting something akin to maple syrup. 

Birch Tapping - Foodie Quine - Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging


Like many wild foods its what you do with it once harvested that makes all the effort worthwhole. In our case we used it as the base for the drink of our walk. Into the Cauldron (nitrous oxide infuser) went all the edible plants, sap and roots found along the way. It can also be used to make syrup, wine, beer and vinegar or drunk as a mineral water.


Birch Tapping - Foodie Quine - Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging



Following our 3 hour woodland and hedgerow wander down to the River Carron and the swathes of wild garlic it was time to head back to back to base camp to enjoy a foraged wild food feast in the sunshine. Venison and Smoked Chicken & Wild Greens Risotto were washed down with the tasty Cocktail of our walk. 



Venison - Foodie Quine - Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging

Foodie Quine - Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging

Wild Kedgeree - Foodie Quine - Spring Woodland & Coastal Foraging

As is always the case on our joint events there was plenty of edible and drinkable treats along the way. Below are links to some of them plus recipes for my Wild Garlic Pesto and Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels.


Wild Garlic Pesto

WILD GARLIC PESTO

100g Wild Garlic
75g Pine Nuts - toasted
75g Parmesan Cheese - grated
150ml Scottish Rapeseed Oil
Salt & Pepper

Wash and pat dry the wild garlic leaves, toast the pine nuts in a dry non stick pan and grate the Parmesan. Place everything in a food processor or blender and blitz until it reaches the desired consistency. 

This recipe will make a larger quantity of pesto than you need for the Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels recipe. Store the remainder in a jar in the fridge or freeze in individual ice cube portions. Great stirred through pasta for a quick meal, served on top of lamb chops, steak or fish or mix some into a soup, risotto or mashed potatoes for a fresh garlicky kick.

Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels
Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels

WILD GARLIC PESTO PINWHEELS

250g plain flour
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/4 tsp salt
175ml Milk
1 tsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp wild garlic pesto
60g parmesan grated

Sieve together the dry ingredients in one bowl and milk and lemon juice in another.
Bring together by pouring the wet into a well in the dry. 
Mix well and add a wee bit more flour or milk if needed to make a dough.
Knead lightly and roll out into a rectangle approx 1cm thick.
Spread over the pesto and sprinkle with 40g the parmesan.
Roll up like a swiss roll and cut into slices. Sprinkle with the remaining 20g of Parmesan.
Bake at 200 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels

If you'd like to go on the mailing list to be informed about future foraging and wild food events with Mark and myself drop an email to claire@foodiequine.co.uk At the moment we're planning a Fungi Forage in October and hopefully a Botanical Booze Walk in the Summer.

Meanwhile why should the grown ups have all the foraging fun? If you've got youngsters who would fancy joining myself and Mandy from Mud Pie Adventures on a Wild Garlic Bear hunt there are a handful of places still remaining for our events in Dunnottar Woods on Sunday 3rd May.

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14 comments :

  1. Love this idea of getting together and going forging. Great photos. :)

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    1. Thanks Sarah, it was a great weekend and I learned lots. So much around us that is edible but we just don't know it. A real untapped resource.

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  2. Excellent read, hugely inspiring and wonderful pictures. We have lots of wild garlic and we love pesto too so it's a total win this recipe :)

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    1. Mark is a fantastically inspiring tutor and so generous with his knowledge. I need to get some more pesto made to stash in the freezer before the season is over.

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  3. I didn't know you could tap birch trees for sap, looks like you all had a great time foraging. I've missed out on wild garlic this year. Love the sound of the wild garlic pesto in these bread rolls, thanks for joining in with Bready Steady Go :)

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    1. Glad to have increased your foraging knowledge! Not too late for wild garlic, its still on the go up here and you can still use it when its flowering. The buds and flowers are edible too.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Kerry. They are simple but oh so tasty.

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  5. Oh wow this looks great! The hubby and I keep talking about going foraging :-) #TastyTuesdays

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    1. Get out there and give it a go. Free food tastes great.

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  6. I wasn't there for Saturday but Sunday was indeed a great day and we were so lucky with the weather. I'm addicted to wild garlic hummus! I've made it a few times now. Yumeeeeeee!!!

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    1. Lovely to have you joining us. The wild garlic hummus is so simple but so tasty. Keeps the vampires at bay.

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  7. What an amazing weekend! I am so jealous... I would love to do some foraging – it came naturally when I was little (in Greece) but must so not so much in London! The pesto looks and sounds amazing. Would love to make it. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare

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    1. I made another batch of Pesto yesterday and had some more Pinwheels for tea tonight. Got to grab the wild garlic when its in season. I bet you'd be surprised at what can be foraged in an urban environment. Mark has led some very successful events in central Glasgow.

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