Wild Garlic Pickles

Although the wild garlic is only just starting to peek above the chilly soil, I cannot help myself but start planning all the things I will be making from this pungent plant over the next couple of months.

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Wild Miso Soup

Frost clings to the mornings, glittering in the rising sun. Yet even now spring waits in the wings, ready with a prompt. Deep in the woods, wild garlic begins to poke slim green fingers at the sky, beckoning in warmer days. In the damp sheltered corners of fields and under hedgerows, diverse edible greens cluster,…

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A Guide to Wild Winter Greens

Winter can be tough on foragers, especially those far from the coast who rely on field and forest.  Mushrooms, so enthusiastically pushing through the leaf litter a few weeks ago, have mostly retreated into the dirt.  The generous hedgerows have become rather miserly, offering up a few scant rose hips and the occasional sour crab-apple. …

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Flavours of the Forest

The flavour of dried ceps and other boletes is altogether different to the fresh mushrooms. Deep and dusky, it speaks of forests and earth, of leaf litter and moss. To me, it is one of those special ingredients, along with things like butter or vinegar, that can transform a dish from the mundane to the magnificent.

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Wild Washing

Our house, being a random and teetering pile of half-completed refurbishments and ancient farm, has drainage that can only be described as unpredictable. Like most houses in the rural areas of France, we have a septic tank rather than mains drainage. When we moved here, we had to replace the old septic tank to be in…

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Winter Chanterelle Tagliatelle

It is very cold, and mist curls through the bronzing leaves of the forest canopy, turning trees into hulking shadows, half-hidden keepers of old secrets.  The feeling in my fingers is gone.  Dewdrops collect in my beard and eyebrows, and I cannot feel my nose.  I am shivering, and somewhat lost, but I do not…

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How to Make Quince Cheese

The term ‘foraging’ can be a loose one.  The Oxford English Dictionary says “(of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions.”  But you needn’t hike for miles in the wilderness in search of your ingredients.  That wide search can begin on your doorstep; in your own garden, in parks, on waste ground,…

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An Autumn Lunch

After a long hot summer here in France, autumn has finally arrived. The sun has calmed its fury, and retired behind the clouds. Rain is forecast and will be relief to the wildlife and the farm animals alike. Three young roe deer flit daily across the fields behind the house, buzzards and kites fill the…

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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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The Apocalypse Pantry

It’s not the end of the world.  As I write this, I am listening to the radio, where sombre voices are speaking of madmen rattling their swords, about missiles, about poisoned eggs, about droughts, floods, forest fires.  Stay indoors.  Cover the windows, cover your eyes.  Be afraid. And I am afraid. Yet, outside the open door,…

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