Foraginglondon's Blog

For all your foraging needs in London

Autumn foraging and RHS talk 18/10/2013

October brought with it some beautiful clear days  which were just perfect for foraging late blackberries, Hawthorn and Rosehip.

October is also the end of harvest season and the Royal Horticultural Society invited Foraging London to speak at the RHS London Harvest Festival. At the festival, alongside the vegetable growing competition display (see images below) there was a ‘wild food’ area, where the RHS invited Yun Hider, Claudio Bincoletto and yours truly to display and talk about foraging.

In my 30min slot I explained how we came to foraging, what and where we forage and what we do with the fruit and herbs we forage. It was great to inspire people to look beyond the supermarket and explore their local parks for some food.

Here are some pictures from the festival:

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After the talks there was a ‘Late’ event. There was booze, folk music and a special performance by the London Vegetable Orchestra:

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The festival was an inspiring event and hopefully we will be invited back next year.

 

Sharing the knowledge at the RHS London Harvest Festival 07/10/2013

Exciting times are upon us. Foraging London has been invited to speak at the RHS London Harvest Festival, 8-9 October. Shira will be giving a 30min talk about urban foraging around 16:00 on both days. If you are around, come say hi.

There is also a ‘Late’ event on 8 October, with original cocktails and all things harvest.

Besides that, We have been out foraging, collecting late Blackberries and Hawthorn. It’s a bumper crop this year so why not go out and collect some where you are?  The Elderberry is coming to the end of it’s season but you may find some ripe, fruiting trees on Hampstead Heath and higher places in London.

The Rosehip and Sloe berries are looking beautiful too, but will be picked later in the month.

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Hawthorn Ketchup recipe coming soon.

 

Talking about foraging on tow paths on BBC London 94.9FM Radio 29/04/2013

Filed under: foraging,london — foraginglondon @ 23:18
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Interview on BBC London 94.9 about foraging on canal tow paths

 

Apple mincemeat 24/11/2012

Filed under: foraging — foraginglondon @ 14:23
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Once again apologies for not blogging my foraging and cooking exploits on a more regular basis. My excuses range from laziness to having three engagement parties.

We did however use a variety of our foraged goods in these events. The fruit leather went down a storm with our friends children and plenty of our friends including some who do not eat fresh fruit. We marinated the shoulders and legs of mutton in our homemade chutney and cooked them in a fire pit. It creates great theatre, but takes up plenty of time on the day (I might write about this separately). We also made mulled wine with the rosehip wine I made last year, and it went down well too. We also made the elderberry pie, but used a gluten-free pie casing as I’ve got Chron’s and aiming to stay off gluten where possible. The elderberry capers were also a massive hit in the potato salad, and will be making a lot more of them for next year.

Right onto this blog, which are two apple mincemeat recipes I’ve used. I first made homemade apple mincemeat two years ago, but in typical fashion can’t find the recipe I used.

The first recipe is from a book called, ‘Good Simple Cookery’ by Elisabeth Ayrton, and the recipe can be found on page 411 under Christmas cooking. Elisabeth has a paragraph about preparation for Christmas which commences from 1st October. During this period she recommends making the mincemeat as the longer it is left to marinate the richer the flavour and consistency, though you could still make it on Christmas Eve. She has three mincemeat recipes, but I have taken the first which is titled ‘Mincemeat’ and can be found on page 415.

Ingedients

1 Ib raisins

1/4 Ib sultanas

1/2 Ib marmalade

1/2 Ib suet

1/2 lemon

1/2 teasp. mixed spice

1 gill brandy (142 ml)

1/2 Ib currants

1/4 Ib candied peel

1/2 Ib demerara sugar

1 Ib good cooking apples

1/4 nutmeg

Good pinch of ground ginger

Method

It says to stalk the currants, and wash all the dried fruit. I was lazy and bought some home brand mixed fruit with chopped peel to the same weight as in the recipe. Grate the rind of lemon. Peel, core and slice applies, put all through mincer. I grated the apple and didn’t peel them and just mixed it all together. When minced, stir all the ingredients thoroughly, add lemon juice and brandy (used homemade rosehip liqueur), stir again, fill into jars and tie down so that they are airtight. I sterilised the jars in the oven. Keep in a dry, cool place.

I will probably make this again next year as it was so easy and quick to do (especially on a working night). The key thing for me is that the mixture soaks up each others flavours.

The second recipe I used came from a blog called ‘time to cook – online’ and I have taken their ‘guilt-free mincemeat‘ recipe. Again I used bought own brand mixed dried fruit with chopped peel, and put int he equivalent amount for the total in the recipe. I also added cooking apples instead of apple juice. I cooked this over a low heat to sweat out the juice from the apples and allow the rest of the fruit to absorb that moisture. The key thing is to ensure no moisture is left at the bottom of the pan. If you do then you are more likely to have soggy mince pies.

Enjoy!

 

 

Article about our towpath Jam for the Canal River Trust 10/09/2012

Filed under: foraging — foraginglondon @ 12:43
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@Shirageva and I offered to run a foarging trip along the Grand Union Canal in West London to demonstrate the wild larger which is on our doorstep. We picked several kilos of blackberries in one morning and produced 260 jars of jam for the Canal River Trust. An article with what we did and recipe can be found here – http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/features/towpaths-jam-packed-with-foraged-foods

 

 

The London Foragers 12/04/2012

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The Power of the nettle 13/03/2011

Filed under: foraging — foraginglondon @ 18:18
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I’ve spent the last few months trying to use up the various jams, chutney’s, various alcohol drinks and still have a freezer full of berries. March has arrived, the daffodils are blooming, the sun occasionally shines so it’s time to go out a see what new foraging options are available.

 

One of the main foraging ingredients I missed out on trying last year was nettles. They are all around me in London, and Hampstead Heath is covered in their young little green leaves. These are the best ones to pick as they are not as bitter as the older, darker, and larger ones further into the season. There is a fantastic article on Brighthub that talks about the health benefits of Nettle Tea.

 

I haven’t got round to trying many of these recipes and ideas yet, but we did make nettle pesto last night to go with pasta. Our guests seemed to really enjoy it without any unwanted side effects thus far. The recipe I used can be found here, and it really was simple. I would have put up pictures, but it was knocked back so quickly and it looks just like any other regular pesto.

 

I will update this blog as and when I make more nettle recipes in the coming weeks.

 

 
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