The elder tree is a remarkable thing. It doesn’t look like much – it’s more of a weedy shrub or a shrubby weed than a tree – but it gives us fragrant elderflowers early in the season, and deliciously winey elderberries at this time of the year. Continue reading
Wild garlic abounds at this time of year … everywhere except in my neighbourhood. I am planting some for next year but in the meantime I have to forage far afield to find it. There are alternatives though if it’s equally elusive where you live. Continue reading
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
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
It 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
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
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
I love the foamy, scented flowers of elder but on balance, I probably love them more when they’re made into a fragrant summer drink. Continue reading