Monday, 11 May 2015

Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt

Of all the family food, fun and foraging outdoor events I've done with my friend Mandy from Mud Pies we have really been very lucky with the weather. A couple of drizzly spells have been as bad as it got. Our luck had clearly run out by the May Bank Holiday weekend when we held this year's Wild Garlic Bear Hunt. The weather forecast was pretty horrendous. Rainy, windy and cold with a severe weather warning to boot. But the show must go on. If the bears could brave the elements so would we.


Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter

They might not have felt like it at the time but our morning group of 40 intrepid adventurers got the best of the day. No spirits were dampened as everyone was equipped with wellies, waterproofs and lots of enthusiasm and we headed off on the search for cuddly bears and stinky bear garlic. We wandered via the Shell Housie down to the Glaslaw Burn and saw and smelt the swathes of wild garlic. No flowers yet but plenty of luscious leaves and buds. Bags were filled and the next mission commenced. The quest to find the perfect stick to cook damper bread and toast marshmallows on. Back to base camp and time to get shaking and making butter in jam jars. Alas our best laid plans of warming the cream to make things easier were thwarted by the weather. It got very competitive at this point with the Dads in particular engaging in vigorous efforts to be the first to separate the butter and the buttermilk.

Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter
Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter

Pesto pounding came next. Wild Garlic, salt, pepper, Scottish rapeseed oil, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts ground together in perfect proportions to make each families individual secret pesto recipe. Thanks to all my friends who rallied round and lent me an assortment of Pestle and Mortars for the day. Whilst one half of the group made pesto the other half made Damper Bread. Self Raising Flour and a pinch of salt mixed to a dough with milk (or water). Rolled into a 'snake' and wrapped around the end of a carefully chosen and peeled stick before cooking over the fire.

Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter
Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter

The hardy souls who joined us for the afternoon session unfortunately really did get the worst of the weather. It was lashing it down by this point. But we still managed to forage, shake, cook and feast on dampers, butter, pesto, marshmallows and lots of hot Ribena, tea and coffee. I definitely need to bring my hip flash next time. A wee tot of something would have gone down a treat.

Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter
Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter

Where these events are concerned the morning after the day before always means lots of washing up, sorting out and tidying away. Plenty of mud on everything and lots of soggyness to dry out. But every cloud has a silver lining. Whilst I got on with the dirty work boy shook up the remains of the cream to make lots of butter, girl used the buttermilk to make pancakes and we all whipped up a batch of wild garlic hummus. Tasted amazing and really is as Kermit green as it looks in the photo.

Foraging and Outdoor Foodie Fun on a Wild Garlic Bear Hunt - Dampers, Pesto, Butter

WILD GARLIC HUMMUS

Blitz the following together with a stick blender or in a food processor

Handful of Wild Garlic leaves
Tin of Chickpeas, drained
A good splash of Scottish Rapeseed Oil
Couple of spoonfuls of Tahini or Peanut Butter (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Small amount Harissa Paste or Ras El Hanout (optional)

Wild Garlic Hummus Recipe - Foraging, Wild Food

Although we are now nearing the end of the season there's still some wild garlic out there, certainly in this neck of the woods. I asked my fellow food bloggers if they had any wild garlic recipes to share. Here's what they came up with, plus a couple more from me. Bookmark them for next year if you've missed the boat this time round.

Feta and Wild Garlic Muffins from Recipes from a Pantry
Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels from Foodie Quine
Cheese and Wild Garlic Scones from Farmersgirl Kitchen
Sweet Potato, Wild Garlic and Spinach Soup from Munchies and Munchkins
Spring Roast of Scotch Beef with a Wild Garlic Pesto Crust from Foodie Quine
Wild Garlic Scones from Rough Measures
Beetroot, Walnut, Wild Garlic and Goat’s Cheese Brunch Muffins from Tin and Thyme

17 comments :

  1. What a fantastic day out! This really is a wonderful way to spend a bank holiday weekend. I only hope that when I ave kiddies we can find something similar in our area :-)

    I particularly love the image of all the men furiously shaking the jam jars. Did it work?! How long did it take?

    Emma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it does work! How long it takes depends on how warm the cream is to start with.

      Delete
  2. Great recipe but I do think you have to be quite brave to eat food you've foraged - although I might be being unnecessarily squeamish about the presence of, how shall I put it, animal presents. Yes, I don't think Bear Grylls would be too impressed with my spirit of adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd have no hope with Bear Grylls. He makes you drink your own .....!

      Delete
  3. That looks like an awesome day out! Even if you didnt get the best of the weather.....

    I must try the hummus - still lots of wild garlic around her for the moment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Hummus is great, I must try and make another batch before the season is over.

      Delete
  4. You are a brave soul, I am definitely a fair weather forager!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and should have said, thanks for sharing my Cheese and Wild Garlic Scones

      Delete
    2. Didn't have much choice but to go ahead. We would have had a lot of disappointed customers. The kids really didn't mind the weather.

      Delete
  5. I just love those bears, the bottom left hand one looks just like my childhood bear! Am very jealous of all the wild garlic too as I've never tried it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh you would love wild garlic! Such an intense flavour. The poor bears were all rather soggy and muddy by the end of the day!

      Delete
  6. What a fun idea - and I love wild garlic although I suspect my daughter would rather forage for bears :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like one of our events would be a win win situation for you both!

      Delete
  7. This sounds like my kind of bear hunt! I bet all the kids loved it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They did and weren't really phased by the weather. Lots of fun splashing in muddy puddles.

      Delete
  8. How sweet! I love the idea of a real bear hunt and it's even better when combined with a forage for wild garlic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Despite the inclement weather it really was great fun. Can't beat food outdoors.

      Delete