Wild About Food

Image of funghi growing in the woods

Pretty but inedible (I know now)

Like a lot of Brits I’m leery about picking wild mushrooms. Hedgerow fruit, no problem. Wild garlic, absolutely. But in spite of the fact that I often picked field mushrooms with my dad when I was a child, I’m funny about funghi. Too many Agatha Christie novels at a formative age, perhaps, along with a yawning gap of ignorance.

“Mushrooms have got a bad PR agent, that’s all,” says Carl Shillingford Continue reading

Eats Shoots and Leaves

Image of bees on lavender plants

You’d have to be colour blind not to notice the current fashion for edible flowers and micro greens. They appear in almost every posh restaurant and glossy magazine photo-shoot. And they are very enticing: the bright colours of the flowers and the tiny, delicate but sometimes pungent shoots. Continue reading

Rosehip Jelly

Image of rosehips growingIt was a bit of a wrench picking the hips from the wild roses because they looked so beautiful glowing in the autumn sun, but I consoled myself with the thought that they’d shrivel and drop off soon anyway and I’d be conserving their flavour through the winter, suspended in an amber jelly. Continue reading

Positively The Last Bullace Post Of The Season

Image of a wild plum tree

Harvesting the last of the wild plums from the hedgerow and being short on time, the thought of picking the stones out of bullace jam didn’t appeal. But it’s one of the family’s favourites so I wanted to keep the bullaces’ gorgeous greengage flavour while cutting the workload. Continue reading

Hedgerow Jelly

Image of elderberries growingThere’s something enormously satisfying about getting food for free – if you ignore the personal cost of the bramble scratches, nettle stings and midge bites.

You can make this jelly with a wide variety of hedgerow fruits in addition to the crab apples – try blackberries, wild plums (bullaces), sloes and elderberries. If you can’t source crabapples, cooking apples will do.  Continue reading

Elderflower and Buttermilk Pannacotta

Image of elderflower and buttermilk panacotta

I think the best pannacotta I ever ate – in fact I think it was the first I ever ate –  was years ago in Italy when I was doing a television feature on the Slow Food movement.

The lovely Slow Food people took us to a restaurant in a wisteria-covered courtyard close by their office. The food was good but I was so blown away by the dessert I can’t remember anything else on the menu. Continue reading

Wild Plum Jam

Image of white bullaces growing on the tree

I’d never heard of bullaces before I moved to Suffolk. Now I’m knee deep in them.

They’re a type of wild plum that grows in the hedgerows in East Anglia, although different varieties apparently grow in various parts of the UK, from east to west. Continue reading