Thursday, 30 June 2011

Wild food from the Park: May

Just catching up with posts about our wild food project, in which we are trying to generate food and drink every month from wild ingredients collected in our local park, King's Park in Stirling. Having had something of a culinary success in April with my first ever souffle, a wild Spring greens souffle, I thought I'd try it again, but using the wider range of plants available in May.

And it got a bit out of hand...

In a 30 minute foraging session in the park, I picked twelve wild plants: young nettles and white dead nettles, young, tender ground elder leaves and stems, comfrey, yarrow and dandelion leaves, chickweed, young plants of cleavers ('sticky willy'), the softer, youngest leaves of hawthorn, wild sorrel, the slenderest, most tender of common hogweed stems and wild garlic leaves. Back at home, we realised that our garden's herb bed was quite well advanced, so we added in little pinches or a few leaves of 18 different herbs: wild rocket, sorrell and red sorrell, four different varieties of thyme, sage, woodruffe, garden mace, tarragon (very sparingly - it has a very powerful taste!), chives, lavender, chervil, curry plant, savory winter, carroway and curly-leaf parsley.

So, a 30 plant souffle - a bit over the top, but it serves to demonstrate quite well the wide range of edible species that are out there. The preparation was otherwise as described for the April dish and, again, it turned out both well and delicious:

The final dish, garnished with fresh parsley from the garden

And we enjoyed some ancillary wild food action in May with ingredients collected elsewhere - namely the leaves of a succulent coastal plant, one of the Atriplex or goosefoot family, which is widespread around our coasts and a close relative of the edible garden weeds and wild food staples, Fat Hen and Good King Hal, effectively inland versions of the same family. Very nutritious and quite tasty. We harvested ours at the top of the sandy shore down at Tyninghame in East Lothian:

We added the leaves to a bean and vegetable soup, made with some home-made chicken stock. No photo I'm afraid but, needless to say, it was delicious... Looking forward to telling you shortly about June, when some of our favourite local wild food ingredients become available.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds great. I do love a tarragon sauce with my chicken - luvvly jubbly!


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