I was lucky enough to be able to take a day out of my working week to visit Calke Abbey in Derbyshire with my sister and niece for a girlie day out – National Trust cafe and walled garden. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but we had a lovely time 🙂 despite the wind and we back in the car just as the rain started to fall.
A walk through the grounds gave me my first taste of several early ‘ambulating snacks’ – sorrel – so shape and bright, hogweed shoots – peeled of their hairy coat have a peppery-celery taste and… I just had to show off – pinching out the top of a nettle, rubbing it hard between finger and thumb and eating it raw – cool trick – no sting and lots of early spring goodness.
Well its hardly bleak sitting here in my centrally heated house full of post Christmas food, but then I’m not soley reliant on wild food, unlike the author of my latest bedtime reading.
John Lewis-Stempel’s book ‘The Wild Life’ details his year eating only food that he has caught, picked, foraged or shot himself on his 40 acre farm in Herefordshire. During the winter months there is very little available for foraging, hence the blog being very quiet, but this guy has managed to do a whole year! His story is quite incredible.
Here is one of his receipes for ‘Hogweed Mash’
Only dig roots from where you are absolutely sure Hogweed and only Hogweed grows (some umbellifers are deady poisonious) wash and grate the roots, boil in salted water. Once its cooked, it can be mashed into something resembling sweet potato. Brilliant!