Capturing a Taste of the Wild

An early lesson I learned when I began foraging was this: there is a difference between “you can eat it” and “you should eat it”. Depending on your tolerance for bitterness, hairiness, or astringency, there are some wild foods that are technically edible but also technically horrible. Conversely there are some incredible and unique ingredients…

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Chicken of the Woods

Chicken-of-the-woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is a startling fungus. Often bright yellow, and rather alien in appearance, it grows mostly on the trunks of oak trees, though sometimes on poplar or yew. It is a parasitic fungus, and eventually causes the rot and death of its host. It is fairly easy to identify. Young specimens are bright to pale…

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Wild Strawberry Cheesecake

Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) are a revelation. If you’ve never tried them before, imagine the very essence of strawberry. They are the real thing, with the flavour of commercially available fruit being a shade, a rumour of the true nature of this berry.  This is hyperbole, of course. There are plenty of varieties of cultivated…

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Counting Sheep

I’m standing in the meadow behind the house, clutching a stack of buckets. Before venturing outside, I pulled on a pair of shorts and stepped into my wellingtons, leaving a gap for my knees to peek through so they are now wet with dew from the damp morning grass. Drops cling to my eyelashes and…

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The Year Ahead.

January, so far, has been unseasonably mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below zero.  Whilst this has meant warmer toes and lower heating bills, I long for the beauty of a hoar frost like last year’s, when all was crystal bones.  It has rained persistently and hard, though with careful clearing of ditches and waterways we…

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The Ruminants’ Nail Salon

We hadn’t particularly considered getting sheep, had spoken of it in passing but no more.  The grass in the field grew to a metre tall, and hid monsters within the blades.  We asked our old friend Maurice (he of the water-divining) to come round with his mini tractor and cut it for hay, which he did. …

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