Coastal Foraging at Skatie Shore with Galloway Wild Foods

Friday 9 May 2014
Following on from my Autumn foraging event at Dunnottar Woods it was clear that there was an appetite for more. In conjunction with Mark Williams from Galloway Wild Foods we headed for the Coast this time, to the beautiful Skatie Shore on the outskirts of Stonehaven. Over the course of two days 40 intrepid souls joined us on our voyage of discovery from car park to coast. The participants covered a wide range of expertise and experience from professional chefs to curious dog walkers and scout leaders to Countryside Rangers.

Over a glass of Elderflower Champagne introductions were made and we headed for a leisurely stroll through the woods towards the sea. Having only traveled a few yards Mark stopped us in our tracks and pointed out a huge range of edibles surrounding us. Pretty much all of which most of us would have walked straight past on any other day. And so our voyage of discovery had begun. Tasting and interacting with our environment.

Photo heavy post now coming up as I'm not going to even begin to try to identify and name all the edible and non edible plants that we found on our travels. That's far outwith my level of knowledge and I need to sell places on future events ;-) Rather I'll share what we got up to and give you a flavour of what we did, saw and ate over the two days. For further information visit Mark's website
We enjoyed a selection of Wild Food inspired tasters along the way. Mark's Elderflower Champagne, Sloe Gin and Hogweed Parkin and my Apple & Rosehip Jam Tarts, Wild Garlic and Cheese Scones and Bramble Gin. These all seemed to go down very well, particularly as a palate cleanser following us trying some foraged plants that weren't to everyone's taste.
The weather over the weekend treated us very kindly. Considering the forecast at the beginning of the week contained heavy rain, high winds and possible thunder and lightening. There was some pretty heavy fog and haar on the Saturday but that only made our setting even more atmospheric. The sunshine even broke through for a while on the Sunday.

Many of the participants, me included, 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.
Time to head back and establish base camp to cook up some wild food tasters. Starting with rolling our own wild sushi, moving on to common hogweed fried in butter and finally a barley, smoked fish, smoked egg and wild greens risotto.
Last words go to some of the participants from the weekend:

From the elderflower champagne to the fabulous kedgeree at the end Mark kept us well informed and engaged. 
Very informative and just what I was looking for in terms of taking the knowledge back to the kitchen and using it in the dishes we offer in the cooking classes
The event was well organised and plenty of information was given as to finding the location and in terms of what to bring
Mark and yourself made the afternoon relaxed and informal (easy to ask questions) and it was great to have the little tasters along the way.
A very useful morning for me and I'm truly chuffed that the wild food turned out to be as delicious as it was.
Mark is the best sort of presenter - enthusiastic about his subject and very knowledgeable. 
I absolutely loved the course - I thought it was really well organised, a great mix of woodland/beach etc. great touches like the elderflower fizz to kick things off and your lovely little pastries half way round. 
Many thanks for a fascinating day of foraging. It was the most inspirational day out since the last trip to Japan. 
A very enjoyable and educational day with enthusiastic like minded people.
The best foodie event in Aberdeen to date

Provisional dates for our next events are:
Summer Forage 2/3 August
Fungi Forage 10/11 October
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