Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category





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What to Expect from our blog…...

We decided last year (2011) to change the way our blog was used. 

We now show month by month what you should be able to find and update each month with what new wild fungi, herbs & plants we have foraged for.

We have also included our own photos and some recipe ideas.

Happy foraging……..




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Preserving Chicken of the Woods

If you do find a chicken of the woods don’t simply rip it off the tree.  This will stop it growing again in future.  However if you cut off a chunk close to the tree new mushroom growth will resume next season.

Chicken of the woods does not keep well as a dried mushroom.  The best way to preserve it is to fry small pieces of Laetiporus sulphureus in butterand then freeze them for up to three months – as follows:

.1) Underside of the Chicken of the Woods.

.2) Top of the Chicken of the Woods

.3) Cut the chicken of the woods into smallish chunks.

.4)Put the pan on the heat.

.5)Roughly about an inch size chunks.

.6)Add a good amount of butter enough to coat all the chunks.

.7)Add the Chicken of the woods to the pan.

.8)Keep turning the chunks to make sure they are coated in butter.

.9)Once the chunks look slightly golden.

.10)Place them in an air tight container suitable for the freezer.

.11)Place lid on and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Wild garlic – Ransoms/Allium ursinum

The flowers are starting to come up on the garlic now, which will help  with identification The flowers seen as clusters of snow-white, star shaped flowers in spring and early summer, which grow on long stalks above broad, bright green leaves. See February for description for leaves etc.

Flowers can be used as decoration on meals

Garlic flower fritters

  • 250ml milk, or milk and water mixed
  • 110g plain white flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • Dried wild garlic flowers.

When using dried flowers re-hydrate in the milk. Lift each flower and allow excess milk to drain off then dry flower on kitchen paper. Whisk the milk, flour and egg together until you have a smooth batter and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Dip each flower into the batter and deep-fry at 220°C until golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot as a garnish.

Water Mint –Mentha aquatica

Common by edges of streams, in damp meadows and woods.  A rough and hairy mint, often grows in large clumps.  Leaves can be tinged with purple and grow in opposed pairs.    Lilac flowers in a round bushy head at top of plant in July-September.  Can be used as if it were garden mint.

Lemon, Mint & Cucumber water

  • 1/4 a cucumber, sliced thin
  • a lemon, sliced thin
  • sprigs of mint
  • 2 quarts water

Add cucumber, lemon and mint in a pitcher. Fill with water. Enjoy!

Wild  Marjoram, Oregano – origanum vulgare

Common in grassy places on chalk and limestone, a slender herb.  The leaves are oval and usually un-toothed, flowers July to October – The flowers are a pale pinkish purple, in bunches at the head of the plant.  Try drying the leaves as the herb becomes sweeter and ideal in home-made bread or rolls!!!!

Wild Strawberries – Fragaria vesca

Widespread and frequent on grassy banks, heaths and open woods.  A low creepy plant with hairy runners and stems.  The leaves are in groups of three, toothed,shiny green, the fruits are small drooping red berries with the seeds protruding in late June to September.  A white 5 petaled flower.

Dryad’s Saddle/ Pheasant back mushroomPolyporus squamosus

This mushroom is commonly attached to dead logs or stumps at one point with a thick stem.  The body can be yellow to brown and has “squamules” or scales on its upper side.  They can be found alone, in clusters of two or three, or forming shelves. Young specimens are soft but toughen with age.  It is particularly common on dead elm.   It is generally not recognized as an edible mushroom unless the specimens are very young and tender. Cookery books dealing with preparation generally recommend gathering these while young, slicing them into small pieces, and cooking them over a low heat.

Chicken of the woods –  Laetiporus sulphureus

Chicken of the Woods also known as the sulphur polypore, is a safe and easily recognized edible mushroom with a soft texture and no gills. The mushroom grows in large brackets – some have been found that weigh over 45 kg, and they can be 5-60 cm across. It is most commonly found on oak trees, though it is also frequently found on yew, cherry wood, sweet chestnut, and willow. You may find this mushroom during the summer and autumn, brightly coloured fungus is typically found in clusters but is occasionally solitary. Chicken of the Woods is leafy in shape and grows in a semi-circular form around tree trunks or stumps. Bright yellow and colourful when young, the Chicken of the Woods begins forming with multiple thick, petals that develop a bright ivory and yellowish-orange colouring on a velvet-like outer skin. It tends to lighten in colour near the edges. This mushroom has no gills, instead its bright yellow undersurface is covered with tiny pores. As it matures, it becomes thinner and speckled with many small dark brown spots that develop into a mixture of tan and off-white shading as the fungus gets lighter in colour and becomes shaped like a wrinkled fan with multiple leafy protrusions. When young, it is thick and juicy with a soft and spongy texture (as seen above), becoming hard and brittle or crumbly as it ages. Chicken of the Woods should be harvested when they are young and tender, as older specimens get more woody and develop a sour flavour. Specimens that are found attached and growing on conifers and eucalyptus or Yew are considered inedible only  Should only be eaten from Oak trees.

Chicken of the Woods Omelette recipe (serves 4)

  • 1 cup diced Chicken of the Woods
  • 1/4 cup shredded cream cheese
  • 2 or 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 or 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter

Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan over low heat. Beat the eggs and cream, add salt and pepper to taste and pour into the pan. As the eggs start to cook, sprinkle the Chicken of the Woods, cheese, shallots and parsley over the top. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more until the egg mixture sets. Fold the omelette over and remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 1 minute.

Elderflower – Sambucus nigra

Habitat found in woods, hedgerows and waste places. leaves in group of 5 large dark green and slightly toothed.  Flowers are umbels of numerous tiny creamy white flowers.  Sweet smelling. Reddish black berries August to October

Elder-fizz – pictured above

To make 14 litres/3 gallons you will need:-

  • 10-12 elderflowers heads
  • 2 large lemons, juice and zest
  • 900g/2lbs white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Pick the elderflowers on a sunny day when they are in full bloom and check for any bugs or bits.   Put the sugar into a large jug or bowl and pour over enough hot water to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon juice and zest and the vinegar.  Pour into a sterilised bucket, add the flowerheads and make up the liquid to approximately 14 litres/3 gallons.  Cover with a clean teatowel or lid and leave for three days, stirring occasionally.  Strain the liquid through a muslin-lined sieve into a large jug and then pour into sterilsed bottles and seal tightly.   Store laid on their sides – the drink will be ready in about two weeks when it will be very fizzy!

Marsh Samphire – Salicornia

Also known as Sea Asparagus, it grows in salt marshes and on beaches.  This is a small (about 15cm tall) green succulent herb with a jointed horizontal main stem and erect lateral branches. The leaves are small and scale-like and as such the plant may appear leafless.  The plant makes excellent eating. It is best picked in June and July when the stems are young and succulent. If collecting always wash in sea water before taking home and wash as little as possible in fresh water as the rigidity of the stem is dependent on the salt water within it. This will be leached out if the plant is kept too long in fresh water. When young they can be eaten raw and used thus for salads or garnishes. Otherwise they can be boiled like asparagus for about eight minutes in salted water before being served with salted water.

Samphire with lemon, butter and olive oil

One of the simplest ways to serve samphire, and one of the best. It is also lovely served with fish.

  • 100-200g marsh samphire a head
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small knob butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon wedges

Start by carefully picking over your samphire, removing all the root and any tough stems. Now wash and rinse it thoroughly, to get rid of any grit and sand, and break up larger, multi-branched pieces into their smaller pieces. If you bought (or picked) whole, uprooted plants, you can expect to lose between a quarter and a third of it in the cleaning and trimming.

Bring to the boil a large pan of fresh, salted water, drop in the samphire and cook for three to four minutes. Drain, season with pepper, toss with the butter and a little olive oil, and serve at once, with lemon wedges, alongside a good piece of grilled fish.

Bugle – Ajuga

Bugle is a small, spreading plant that produces a ring of blue flowers on top of each set of leaves.  It has a very dark stem and dark green leaves, often tinged with blackish violet.  It is most often found in semi-shaded, moist conditions but can also feature in sunny damp meadows. Has medicinal uses.

Sea Kale – Crambe maritima

Leaves below: – Flowers to the left: – medium sea kale bottom left: – Young sea kale bottom right:-

Sea-kale is a long-lived perennial plant and established individuals may reach several meters in diameter. The leaves have a thick waxy covering which keeps them waterproof.  First flowering does not generally occur before the plant is at least five years old. Flowering branches covered with small white flowers are produced  from early May to mid-August.  The fruit ripens a few months after flowering and the whole flowering branch including the fruit dries out and generally break off from the plant, a process hastened by strong winds.  At the end of the growing season, the above ground parts of the plant die back and the underground parts alone survive the winter. Each spring, the previous year’s flowering branch produces a succession of cabbage-like leaves. The first leaves are a deep vivid crimson-purple, successive leaves becoming greener.  Being generally restricted to shingle Sea-kale is a rare plant, although it may be locally abundant where it is found.

Sea Kale and butter sauce

  • 225g/8oz unsalted butter
  • 1shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 110g/4oz sea kale (6 pieces)
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Chill the butter and cut into small cubes, keep cold.  Put the shallot, vinegar and water into a frying pan and reduce to 2 tablespoons.  Lower the heat and gradually whisk in the butter piece by piece, slowly.  Add the seasoning and lemon juice.  Cook the sea kale in an asparagus kettle for 3-4 minutes so that it is al dente. Serve.

Sea Beet – vulgaris maritima

Sea Beet forms sprawling clumps on shingle beaches and cliffs as well as other coastal habitats. The leathery leaves are dark green and glossy, and the stems are often reddish. The flower spikes are long and wavy and appear from July to September. The tiny flowers are stalkless and have no petals, but  yellow stamens are visible when the plant is in full flower.
This is the ancestor of the garden beetroot and is also related to spinach.

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St Georges Mushroom –Calocybe Gambosa

They can often be found on roadsides, hedgerows & along foot paths. The cap measures 5-10 cm, has a velvety texture with dimples. The cap, stem and flesh can be from white to creamy buff coloured. The gills are white and crowded, the flesh is thick and soft and has a mealy smell. The spore print is white to pinkish white. The stubby stem is bulky at the base.

St Georges mushroom Recipe.
  • 3 eggs
  • 120g St George’s Mushroom, sliced
  • 3 asparagus spears
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp double cream salt and black pepper to taste
Add the butter to a pan and use to fry the mushrooms for about 2- 3 minutes. Trim the woody ends of the asparagus and add to the pan.
Cook on high heat for 4 minutes. Set the asparagus aside then mix the mushrooms with the cheese and season with salt and  black pepper.
Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl along with the water. Melt the butter in an omelette pan or shallow frying pan and pour in the eggs. Mix with a fork until the eggs begin to set then tilt the pan to coat evenly.
Place the mushrooms and cheese on top of the eggs as they begin to set then pour over the cream. Transfer to under the grill for a few minutes so that the surface sets and becomes a golden brown. Add the asparagus spears then fold the omelette in half, place on a warmed plate, garnish with parsley and serve.

Horse-radish – Armoracia Rusticana

It can be found in fields, sides of roads, almost anywhere really,  quite Common on waste ground.It has large leaves, slightly toothed and dock like, growing straight up.  If in doubt, dig down and pull the root. It will be not dis-similar to a Parsnip, fairly long but sometimes a bit lumpy, break the root in two and have a smell – you can’t mistake it then.

Long-keeping horseradish sauce

For the syrup: 1/2 pt white vinegar to 1/2/pt white sugar + a little salt.

Dig horseradish root .Wash well and peel underwater.

Cut up the root roughly and mince.

In meantime make the syrup by dissolving the sugar and salt in the vinegar over a low heat. Allow to go cold.

Use a wide-neck jar with a vinegar-proof lid. Pack in a little horseradish then add a little syrup – fill the jar in this manner. Make sure it is tightly packed and no air spaces are left.

This will keep 12 months or more.

To serve: To a tablespoon of horseradish add same quantity of thick cream and extra vinegar to taste.

Scarlet Elf Cup – Sarcoscypha coccinea

Often found on dead wood in damp, shady places. The caps, which are edible when cooked, are usually 2 or 3 cm in diameter but can be as large as 5 cm.

The irregularly shaped cups have a smooth, red inner surface and a much paler felty outer surface. The edge of young cups is usually incurved.There is a very short stipe, often buried in leaf litter, and it is the same colour as the outer surface of the cup.

Primrose – Primula Vulgaris

Can be found in woodland or hedge banks, railway embankments.  A low hairy plant. 10-25cm high, with crinkly leaves and pale yellow fragrant flowers.  March-May.  Both flowers and leaves are edible, the flavour ranging between mild lettuce and more bitter salad greens. The leaves can also be used for tea, and the young flowers can be made into primrose wine also can be used in salads candied.

Candied Primrose Flowers
  • A generous handful of fresh wild primrose flowers
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp rosewater caster sugar to coat
Whisk together the egg white and rosewater until thoroughly mixed.  Take the primrose flowers, one at a time, then use a very soft brush (a paintbrush is ideal) to coat the flower with the egg mix. Dip in caster sugar so it’s completely covered then set on a tray covered with greaseproof (waxed) paper and set aside to dry overnight. The following day store in an air-tight jar. Typically they will keep for up to a week.

Morels – Morchella semilibera

Can be quite common to find in damp heavy soiled copses in the Spring.  Cap 2-4cm, olive brown, slightly pitted with rather regular vertical ribs. stem creamy white & hollow. Also known as half free Morel.

Crispy morel recipe

This is one of the simplest morel recipes going, and a great way to enjoy them. Breadcrumbs is preferred as it makes them crunchier.

Amounts of morels aren’t listed. Just keep beating eggs and adding more butter to the skillet until the mushrooms are gone, which will be sooner than you want!

  • Morels, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (or flour)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, roll the morels in the beaten eggs. Make sure they’re fully covered.

In a separate bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.

Dip the egg-covered morels in the breadcrumbs, making sure all surfaces of the mushrooms are covered with the crumbs.

Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Fry the morels until they are brown and crispy on all sides. It’s best to do this in small batches, rather than overcrowding your skillet.

Repeat until you’re so full that you can’t take it anymore, or until you run out of mushrooms.

Sweet Violets – Viola odorata

Fairly common in hedgebanks and shady places also open woodland/grassland usually on chalk or alkaline soils, Low, creepy and downy.  The flower is usually dark violet but can sometimes be pink/yellow, Sweet smelling.  Leaves rounded. Generally it does not grow much above 150mm in height. March to May

Crystallised Violets Recipe

1 egg white
caster sugar
freshly picked violets

Paint every crevice of the violet with egg white.  You can use a paint brush for this, but as I didn’t have three clean brushes in the house we used cotton buds, which did the job perfectly well. Then sprinkle with caster sugar until completely covered. Place onto a silicone baking sheet or greaseproof paper and  leave to dry.

Silver weed – Argentina anserina

Silvery green in appearance, the leaves have saw toothed edges.  Found anywhere with grass  –  lawns waste ground and recreation grounds etc.

Oxeye Daisy– Leucanthemum vulgare

Widespread usually in the summer in grassy places especially rich soil.  Erect steams up to 75cm, one flower on each steam, each with a ring of white petals and central yellow button.  The un-opened flower buds can be marinatedand used in a similar way to capers.  Young leaves can be eaten in salads.

Pickled Oxeye Daisy Buds

  • 150g oxeye daisy flower buds, picked before they show an indication of opening
  • 80g salt
  • 300ml cider vinegar
Add the vinegar and salt to a pan and heat until the salt dissolves. Put the oxeye daisy flower buds in a large jar and top with the warm vinegar mix. Cover the jar and stir every day for a week then transfer the broom buds to a clean, sterilized jar, top with the vinegar mix, seal and store in the fridge for at least 2 weeks to mature before using. These make an excellent replacement for capers and are wonderful on salads.
Wild Spring Salad
  • 100g oxeye daisy greens
  • 100g young dandelion leaves
  • 50g sweet violet leaves and sweet violet flowers
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 45ml lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp prepared English (hot) mustard
  • 3 tbsp capers,minced salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Combine the greens and flowers in a serving bowl. Meanwhile, whisk together the oil, lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl. Add the capers and season to taste then pour over the salad, toss to combine and serve.

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Pignut – Conopodium majus

We have found this early this year usually comes out May to July.  Can be found in grassland and woodland. A slender single stemmed plant 20-50cm high.  Leaves are feathery with narrow lodes.

If you follow the fragile stem gently down through the soil, you will find the nutty tuber.  This tastes somewhere between a chestnut and a hazelnut.  Before any excavation however land owners permission will be needed.







Wood Sorrel – Oxalis acetosella

Found in woods and shady places.  The leaves are shaped like shamrock with a lime green colouring.  It flowers April to May (again this is early)Five white petal flower.

Has a sharp citrus taste, which makes it ideal for salads.

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Jack by the hedge/Garlic mustard –Alliaria petiolata

We often come across Jack by the hedge on edges of woods and on hedge banks. its height 30-90cm leaves a fresh bright and green in colour and slightly jagged edge(see photo below), small white flowers appear April to June. When bruised or chopped the leaves give off a smell of mild garlic.

Its great used raw roughly chopped in salads but a favorite is in home made ravioli see recipe below:

Garlic Mustard and Spinach Raviolis with Garlic Mustard Pesto

  • 4 shallots / 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups garlic mustard
  • 4 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz. chopped sundried tomotoes
  • 6 sheets fresh pasta

Saute shallots and garlic in 2 Tbl butter until tender. Add spinach and garlic mustard greens & wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and cool slightly. Squeeze excess liquid from green and chop. Combine all ingredients and season to taste. Cut pasta sheets to desired size. Eggwash pasta and fill with garlic mustard and spinach mixture.


  • 1 cup garlic mustard
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 oz. toasted pinenuts
  • 4 oz. olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon

In food processor combine all ingredients except olive oil. Puree and add olive oil with processor running. Toss cooked raviolis with pesto.

Wild Garlic/Ramsons – Allium ursinum

Our first find of the season and the leaves are just starting to appear.  We found them in a damp wood but they can also be found on hedge banks or roadsides.  You will get a very strong smell of garlic as you approach the leaves, we only tend to pick the leaves and leave the underground bulbs so it grows the following year.

Wild Foragers uses for Wild Garlic:

We use the leaves chopped up for salads and general cooking.

On our stall we sell the leaves dried or infused in home-made Wild Garlic extra virgin olive oil

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Wood Ear – Auricularia auricula-judae

Formally known as Jew’s ear, the wood ear fungus can be found throughout the year, common on elder.  An ear shaped bracket fungus, 2-7cm across, usually found in clusters, brown in colour jelly like in touch.  Its an edible fungus much loved in China where soups featuring it are used as a remedy for colds.

However we find it best used fresh in stews or dried and ground down into a powder as a flavouring.

Chinese-style Wood ear soup

30G (1oz) Wood ear

1 kg (2lb) Brown sugar

500ml (1 pint) water

Clean and soak the wood ear and chop roughly.

Heat the sugar and water until sugar melts and the mixture is almost boiling.

Drain the wood ear, add to syrup and steam for 1 1/2 hours.  Serve hot or cold.

OYSTER MUSHROOMPlerotus Ostreatus

Our best supply has come from dead or dying branches of beech can also be found on ash around late autumn, a fan-shaped bracket fungus 20 cm across, cap well shaped convex at first then flat Grey or slate blue in colour.

Oyster Mushroom  Soup Recipe


  • 1 lb oyster mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 6 cups stock (chicken, vegetable, whatever)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, cleaned and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour the stock into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. As it comes to a boil, add the carrots to the onion/mushroom mixture and cook for 5 minutes.

Next add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook for another 3 minutes.

Once the stock is boiling, add the diced potato pieces to the soup pot and let them heat for 5 minutes.

Now add everything from the skillet (onions, oyster mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and carrot) to the soup pot.

Turn down the heat to medium and cook everything together for 10 minutes, or until you’ve reached your desired taste, texture, and warmth for all the ingredients.

Season with salt and pepper and serve!

Crow Garlic/ Wild Onion – Allium Vineale

Medium perennial 30-60cm leaves stiff grass like semi cylindrical, hollow and grooved , underground bulb onion like 1-2cm – leaves during winter & spring bulbs late spring and early summer, this is our first new find of the year found on Grassy banks (see below) or also field edges.

Pickled Crows Garlic bulbs

Typically harvest in June or July when the bulbs are at their plumpest. Grub the plant up, strip off any bulbs and plant these back in your garden (but use the large ones to pickle) then cut the bulb from the base of the plant and strip off the fibrous outer layer before use.
  • 225g crow garlic bulbs (and larger bulbs),
  • peeled 1 tbsp tarragon leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 480ml white malt vinegar
  • 125g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/5 tsp celery seeds,
  • crushed 1/2 tsp sea salt
Peel the crow garlic bulbs then slice any of the larger bulbs in half then mix in a bowl with the tarragon, thyme and black peppercorns. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and sugar in a pan. Cook over high heat until boiling then stir-in the mustard powder and celery seeds. Boil for 5 minutes then add the black peppercorns and sea salt and boil for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and strain to remove the spices. Place the crow garlic bulbs and herbs in sterile jars, filling to within 2.5cm of the top. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the top, filling to within 6mm from the tip. Seal well and store in a cool, dry, cupboard for at least three weeks before using. Refrigerate after opening.

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