My partner in crime when it comes to outdoor family food and foraging events is the lovely Mandy Tulloch of Mud Pie Adventures. Together we've ran Wild Garlic Bear Hunts, Blaeberry Bashes, Bramble Rambles and Shortest Day Food in the Woods events. We're currently plotting our activities for the Summer Holidays so if you are in Aberdeen/shire do make sure you are on the Mud Pies mailing list to be kept up to date with our plans. This week she shared a couple of wild food recipe suggestions on my Foodie Quine Facebook page and they caused quite a stir with my followers so I asked her if I could repost them on my blog to avoid them disappearing into the abyss of old facebook posts.
Without further ado, over to Mandy for her versions of Dandelion Jam & Nettle Soup...
Well I'm feeling very pleased this morning. I've made some dandelion jam and it tastes great - very much like honey believe it or not! I used the Wild About Food recipe. There's still at least week's worth of flowers before they all turn to seed so give it a go! We collected 150 flower heads. Yes, that sounds a lot but give a child a pair of scissors and they're off. Make sure you cut the stem off completely at the base - it has a bitter tasting white sap you don't want in your jam. 150 flowers makes 1 jar of jam (a half quantity of the Wild About Food recipe)
Boil a sugar syrup then add the flowers and simmer for 20 minutes. Leave to infuse overnight. I wasn't too sure about the end product - looked a bit sludgy to me! Until tomorrow...
Strain last night's infusion and simmer for another 20 minutes. I left some petals in as it looks nice and didn't add any pectin so it's more of a jelly than a jam but it looks and tastes great. I will definitely be doing this next year.
We had nettle soup for dinner tonight. No, it wasn't sludgy and slimy but fresh, delicious and easy to make. Here's how: pick a carrier bag of nettle tips. Saute some veg - we used onions, garlic, celery, carrots and leeks. Add some good stock - say vegetable or chicken - and bring to the boil. Throw in the nettles and simmer for 3 minutes. Blitz, season and enjoy!
Not a sting in sight. We discovered that if you put the bowl under the nettle and snip you don't get stung!
Vegetable base for soup - onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leeks. You can use anything you like. Check the nettles for beasties, wash and throw in to the pot along with the stock. Liquidise for a few seconds, season and serve. Yum, especially with croutons!
Thanks to Mandy and her family for sharing their fantastic wild food creations. I'm definitely planning to get out and about this weekend and attempt to make both. There's very possibly enough of both nettles and dandelions at the bottom of my garden! I'm hoping there might still be a wee bit of Wild Garlic lurking to add to the soup. I asked my fellow food bloggers if they had any Dandelion or Nettle Recipes to share and I was pleasantly surprised at what they came up with. The Dandelion Honeys are along very similar lines to Mandy's Jam. Have fun eating weeds!
Dandelion Honey by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
Dandelion Petal & Lemon Cookies with Kale Lemon Drizzle by Veggie Deserts
Dandelion Honey by Tin & Thyme
Nettle & Feta Ravioli by The Hedge Combers
Salmon & Nettle Tart by Farmersgirl Kitchen
Nettle & Lemon Cake by Veggie Deserts
Spring Tonic Nettle Smoothie by Tin & Thyme
Plus a couple from my foraging partner in crime. Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods