Treat Yourself

Kitchen Essentials: Illustration: www.walternewton.com

Alongside our forthcoming Forage and Cook course, we have a fantastic selection of other Loaf Cookery School courses coming up in April to whet your spring cooking appetite. Go on, treat yourself.

April 2014 Courses

Cooking Meat – Tuesday 8th April

Butchery: Perfect Poultry – Tuesday 15th April

Forage & Cook – Wednesday 16th April

Handmade Pasta  – Tuesday 22nd April (one place available)

Knife Skills – Wednesday 30th April

Why not?! Find out more here: www.loafonline.co.uk/cookeryschool or call Nancy on 0121 458 7682

Welcoming Spring – Forage & Cook

Forage & Cook Course with Tom Baker at Loaf. Photo: Jane Baker

With a glimpse of sun and warmth, bulbs are emerging from their winter sleep, buds are forming on hedgerows and trees, and blossom is bursting into flower. The seasons are changing and with spring come’s the first of our Forage and Cook courses for 2014.

Illustration: www.walternewton.

April: Wednesday 16th
May
: Tuesday 6th (one place available), Wednesday 7th (one place available)
June
: Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th

 

Foraging isn’t just a countryside past-time, it can be an urban adventure too! Join us for a delightful evening wandering the urban wilds of south Birmingham in search of edible treats, before returning to Loaf HQ to turn them into some fabulous seasonal dishes. This course is aimed at those with little or no experience of foraging, and covers all the practicalities, legalities, and safety aspects of picking wild plants to eat. By the end of the evening you will be able to confidently identify several readily available wild foods, know how to properly prepare them, and be eager to get out there on your own adventure.

To find out more and to book visit: Forage & Cook

Welcoming Spring – Forage & Cook

Forage & Cook Course with Tom Baker at Loaf. Photo: Jane Baker

With a glimpse of sun and warmth, bulbs are emerging from their winter sleep, buds are forming on hedgerows and trees, and blossom is bursting into flower. The seasons are changing and with spring come’s the first of our Forage and Cook courses for 2014.

Illustration: www.walternewton.

April: Wednesday 16th
May
: Tuesday 6th (one place available), Wednesday 7th (one place available)
June
: Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th

 

Foraging isn’t just a countryside past-time, it can be an urban adventure too! Join us for a delightful evening wandering the urban wilds of south Birmingham in search of edible treats, before returning to Loaf HQ to turn them into some fabulous seasonal dishes. This course is aimed at those with little or no experience of foraging, and covers all the practicalities, legalities, and safety aspects of picking wild plants to eat. By the end of the evening you will be able to confidently identify several readily available wild foods, know how to properly prepare them, and be eager to get out there on your own adventure.

To find out more and to book visit: Forage & Cook

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.

 

Last chance to forage!

Just a quick blog to tell you about the last forage and cook course that we’re running in 2012. Next Thursday evening 6th September will be our last outing into the wilds of Stirchley to check out what wild plants are around at this time of year and what tasty treats we might be able to cook up using wild ingredients. Also for the first time we’ll be starting and finishing the course at our brand new cookery school on Stirchley High Street which is very nearly finished! You can check out the course details and reserve your place using our new online shop. There’s loads of other courses now advertised in the shop and I’ll tell you all about those in another post very soon.

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

Nettle and Cobnut Pesto – recipe

This is a great wildfood recipe for this time of year, pick the freshest looking top four leaves from the stingers, gloves on, and make sure you pick above dog-weeing height if you’re picking in the city like we were (canal towpath). If you can find a hazel tree (there’s one on Lifford Lane in Cotteridge) then you can get the cobnuts for free too, but if not check out Augernik Fruit Farm at either Kings Norton or Moseley Farmers Market, who are selling great ones at the moment. This recipe makes a decent tubful.

pesto in the makingIngredients

100g (shell on) cobnuts

150g stinging nettle tops (about half a carrier bag)

1-2 cloves garlic

50g grated parmesan

80ml extra virgin olive oil (change amount to get desired texture)

salt and pepper

Method

Dunk your nettles in a deep sink/bowl of cold water and stir round with a wooden spoon to give them a rough wash. Scoop out, and add them straight to a pan of boiling water for 60 seconds to blanch them. Scoop them out and add to fresh iced water to stop them cooking and retain their vibrant colour. After a minute, scoop them out with your hands (they’ll have lost their sting by now) and ring out all the moisture you can. Chop roughly, and put in a blender/food processer. De-shell the cobnuts with a nutcracker, chop roughly and add these to the blender. Chop the garlic roughly and add this too, along with the parmesan. Add a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and whizz on max for 30 seconds. Then whizz more gently adding the remaining oil slowly, until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and season. Store in an airtight container, with a layer of pure oil over the top, for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Nettle and Cobnut Pesto

Nettle and Cobnut Pesto – recipe

This is a great wildfood recipe for this time of year, pick the freshest looking top four leaves from the stingers, gloves on, and make sure you pick above dog-weeing height if you’re picking in the city like we were (canal towpath). If you can find a hazel tree (there’s one on Lifford Lane in Cotteridge) then you can get the cobnuts for free too, but if not check out Augernik Fruit Farm at either Kings Norton or Moseley Farmers Market, who are selling great ones at the moment. This recipe makes a decent tubful.

pesto in the makingIngredients

100g (shell on) cobnuts

150g stinging nettle tops (about half a carrier bag)

1-2 cloves garlic

50g grated parmesan

80ml extra virgin olive oil (change amount to get desired texture)

salt and pepper

Method

Dunk your nettles in a deep sink/bowl of cold water and stir round with a wooden spoon to give them a rough wash. Scoop out, and add them straight to a pan of boiling water for 60 seconds to blanch them. Scoop them out and add to fresh iced water to stop them cooking and retain their vibrant colour. After a minute, scoop them out with your hands (they’ll have lost their sting by now) and ring out all the moisture you can. Chop roughly, and put in a blender/food processer. De-shell the cobnuts with a nutcracker, chop roughly and add these to the blender. Chop the garlic roughly and add this too, along with the parmesan. Add a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and whizz on max for 30 seconds. Then whizz more gently adding the remaining oil slowly, until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and season. Store in an airtight container, with a layer of pure oil over the top, for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Nettle and Cobnut Pesto