Birmingham Post Review – Forage and Cook Course

If you missed it, last week we had another wonderful piece of press coverage in the Birmingham Post, thanks to feature writer Mary Griffin.

Mary, who rolled up her foraging sleeves and joined us, alongside other course participants including Halo Garrity, Rob Walker, Dave Smith, Chrissa Murrell and her husband Stu, discovered that you really can find bounteous edible wild foods on your urban doorstop. Even in Stirchley.

Birmingham Post, 25 Sept 2013

Birmingham Post, Life  (25 September 2013, page 11)

Mary’s list of wild foods found in Stirchley near Loaf included:

  • Hawthorn (whose berries can be used in a hedgerow jelly)
  • Sumac (the red conical flowers can be dried and sprinkled on a salad)
  • Wild cherries (Tom tells us where to look out for them around Birmingham)
  • Meadowsweet growing in the long grass (a little sprig can infuse tea or cream)
  • Horseradish (which we dig up a thumb-sized chunk of)
  • Nettles (Tom shows us which bits to pick and which to avoid) and vetch (with a peppery, rockety flavour)
  • Yarrow (a good substitute for lavender or rosemary)
  • Dead nettles (no sting and you can suck the nectar out of the flowers)
  • Himalayan balsam (a non-native invasive plant with tasty pink flowers)
  • Rowan (which makes a good jelly mixed with apples)
  • Wood avens (which can make dandelion and burdock if you infuse the root)
  • Rosehips (which make good syrup)

…as well as mint, sloes, elderberries, blackberries and hazelnuts.

Amazing really. And that’s just a small sample of hundreds of wild foods that can be found locally, and in cities across the UK.

Tom Baker leading the Forage and Cook course. Photo by Jane Baker

For more information and to book on any of our courses visit the Loaf Cookery School page

To read the review online visit the press section on our About Us page and click on the link to the Birmingham Post. Or if you have a printed copy, it’s on page 11 of the Life section.

 

Birmingham Post Review – Forage and Cook Course

If you missed it, last week we had another wonderful piece of press coverage in the Birmingham Post, thanks to feature writer Mary Griffin.

Mary, who rolled up her foraging sleeves and joined us, alongside other course participants including Halo Garrity, Rob Walker, Dave Smith, Chrissa Murrell and her husband Stu, discovered that you really can find bounteous edible wild foods on your urban doorstop. Even in Stirchley.

Birmingham Post, 25 Sept 2013

Birmingham Post, Life  (25 September 2013, page 11)

Mary’s list of wild foods found in Stirchley near Loaf included:

  • Hawthorn (whose berries can be used in a hedgerow jelly)
  • Sumac (the red conical flowers can be dried and sprinkled on a salad)
  • Wild cherries (Tom tells us where to look out for them around Birmingham)
  • Meadowsweet growing in the long grass (a little sprig can infuse tea or cream)
  • Horseradish (which we dig up a thumb-sized chunk of)
  • Nettles (Tom shows us which bits to pick and which to avoid) and vetch (with a peppery, rockety flavour)
  • Yarrow (a good substitute for lavender or rosemary)
  • Dead nettles (no sting and you can suck the nectar out of the flowers)
  • Himalayan balsam (a non-native invasive plant with tasty pink flowers)
  • Rowan (which makes a good jelly mixed with apples)
  • Wood avens (which can make dandelion and burdock if you infuse the root)
  • Rosehips (which make good syrup)

…as well as mint, sloes, elderberries, blackberries and hazelnuts.

Amazing really. And that’s just a small sample of hundreds of wild foods that can be found locally, and in cities across the UK.

Tom Baker leading the Forage and Cook course. Photo by Jane Baker

For more information and to book on any of our courses visit the Loaf Cookery School page

To read the review online visit the press section on our About Us page and click on the link to the Birmingham Post. Or if you have a printed copy, it’s on page 11 of the Life section.

 

Elderflower Cordial – Recipe

IMG_6031

Well we’re only just over a week into the elderflower season here in the midlands and I have already made two batches of elderflower cordial. We drink it like water here at Loaf HQ, so I’m hoping to make up for the disappointment of last season when I’d bought all the required ingredients, only to go out for a walk  after a blisteringly hot weekend in July, and find all the flowers had turned over the weekend and begun their berry-growing stage.

For the first two batches, I’ve used Richard Maybe’s recipe from the classic wild food book Food for Free. I’ve expanded on the recipe a little and altered the quantities so it makes around 2 litres. I doubled this recipe with some school children this week and it made just under 4 litres.

Ingredients (for 2 litres of cordial):

1.15 litres of water
1.5kg granulated sugar
2 unwaxed organic lemons
15-20 elderflower heads (picked on a sunny day)
35g citric acid

Method:

IMG_6033

Boil the water in a pan, remove from the heat, and then stir in the sugar  until dissolved. Set aside to cool to blood temperature. Meanwhile pick any bugs from the eldeflower heads and discard any that are badly infested. place them into a deep bowl, bucket or pan. Zest the lemons and add to the elderflowers, along with the remaining lemons, sliced, and the citric acid. Pour the sugar syrup over the elderflowers, lemon and citric acid, cover it, and leave to steep for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 24 hours steeping, strain the liquid through a jelly bag or muslin cloth into a large clean bowl, and from here, through a funnel into sterlised bottles.

Some thoughts

Allowing the syrup to cool to blood temperature before adding it to the elderflowers should lead to a more delicate flavour and colour than adding it when it’s just boiled. However the low temperature won’t kill the natural yeasts on the eldeflowers, so the keeping quality is lessened – the yeast may start fermenting the liquid leading to an alcoholic and fizzy liquor, and possibly exploding bottles! So if you want to store it for more than a month or two, add the liquid when it’s just boiled, or freeze the above recipe when it’s in bottles (leaving an air gap for expansion when freezing).

Next weekend – elderflower champagne!

IMG_6056

Elderflower Cordial – Recipe

IMG_6031

Well we’re only just over a week into the elderflower season here in the midlands and I have already made two batches of elderflower cordial. We drink it like water here at Loaf HQ, so I’m hoping to make up for the disappointment of last season when I’d bought all the required ingredients, only to go out for a walk  after a blisteringly hot weekend in July, and find all the flowers had turned over the weekend and begun their berry-growing stage.

For the first two batches, I’ve used Richard Maybe’s recipe from the classic wild food book Food for Free. I’ve expanded on the recipe a little and altered the quantities so it makes around 2 litres. I doubled this recipe with some school children this week and it made just under 4 litres.

Ingredients (for 2 litres of cordial):

1.15 litres of water
1.5kg granulated sugar
2 unwaxed organic lemons
15-20 elderflower heads (picked on a sunny day)
35g citric acid

Method:

IMG_6033

Boil the water in a pan, remove from the heat, and then stir in the sugar  until dissolved. Set aside to cool to blood temperature. Meanwhile pick any bugs from the eldeflower heads and discard any that are badly infested. place them into a deep bowl, bucket or pan. Zest the lemons and add to the elderflowers, along with the remaining lemons, sliced, and the citric acid. Pour the sugar syrup over the elderflowers, lemon and citric acid, cover it, and leave to steep for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 24 hours steeping, strain the liquid through a jelly bag or muslin cloth into a large clean bowl, and from here, through a funnel into sterlised bottles.

Some thoughts

Allowing the syrup to cool to blood temperature before adding it to the elderflowers should lead to a more delicate flavour and colour than adding it when it’s just boiled. However the low temperature won’t kill the natural yeasts on the eldeflowers, so the keeping quality is lessened – the yeast may start fermenting the liquid leading to an alcoholic and fizzy liquor, and possibly exploding bottles! So if you want to store it for more than a month or two, add the liquid when it’s just boiled, or freeze the above recipe when it’s in bottles (leaving an air gap for expansion when freezing).

Next weekend – elderflower champagne!

IMG_6056