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Feast and Forage


Kate Saunders | 3rd May 2016

 

Sometimes instead of me teaching, it is lovely to go on a course and learn something new myself. As you may know I’m always keen to learn new foodie ways and love the outdoors, so what better way to combine the two.

 

 

 

My husband and I headed down to the New Forest, Somerley Estate to be exact, to go on a Feast and Forage Course. I have to admit I brought it for hubby as a birthday present, but secretly wanted to do it.

Fortunately the weather was on our side, I had headed into town the day before, to gear myself with some waterproof trousers as we had such a horrible weather report, we were all geared up with waterproofs, which weren’t needed, we rose to a beautiful cool crisp morning.

What a lovely welcome we received, the kettle was on ready for a cuppa.

Feast and Forage
Kettle on ready for a cuppa

 

Starting off with the rules and regulations on foraging which seem to be all common sense really, however I was surprised to learn that if you pick anything from the wild, you can give it away to friends and family etc, but you can’t sell it, it is illegal.

Then off to forage, it wasn’t long before we had found our first item, Wood Sage, wonderful to par boil with potatoes and then roast them.

Wood Sage
Wood Sage

Common sorrel, and wood sorrel very different in looks one with an almost v shape at the bottom of the leaf and the other has a heart shaped leaf, also the wood sorrel has a very pretty flower, so into the bag went the two sorrels for salads and the flower into another flower bag.

Sorrel
Sorrel
Wood Sorrel
Wood Sorrel

Bearing in mind, we were going to eat all that we found, we were still nibbling it all whilst finding it.

Our instructor all the time was finding roots and other leafs to tell us what we could use each one for.

Lime leaf was our next undertaking, which really does taste like lettuce, and can highly recommend it in a cheese and tomato sandwich.

Lime Leaf
Lime Leaf

I would never in a month of Sundays think about eating a beech leaf, but yes I did, they were also going into the salad bag, have to admit it was rather good.

Beech Leaf
Beech Leaf

These little purple flowers from the ground ivy plant can also be used in salads to give a little colour too.

Ground ivy with its delicate purple flowers
Ground ivy with its delicate purple flowers

Broom and gorse both vibrant yellow, both very different, Broom has almost a broad bean type taste to it, and of course we all know that is where to term broom (as in sweeping brush) came form as that is what they used.

Gorse on the other hand was not really to my liking the flower was OK, bitter in taste, better in a salad with other ingredients. You can also eat the shoots of green, but don’t make the mistake I did and eat it into the dark green, it was just like eating straw, not nice, the tiny tips at the top were ok.

Broom
Broom

Thistle, yep, I ate thistle too, our instructor took off all the thistles and it really does taste like a cucumber.  Along the way we were gathering nettles, primroses and other wonderful flavours and aromas that were going into our bags.

Thistle
Thistle

Now we had foraged our goodies it was time to have our feast.

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