Let me show you some bits from my upcoming foraging cooking book – so you can decide easier if it’s the type of book you want to keep on the shelf or not.
After the introduction, the first part of the book is about the little plants growing around.
The second part of the book is the real deal. I cover the whole year with my recipes stepping month by month and cooking off some dishes – savoury, pudding etc using the special ingredients of that special time of the year.
“This is one of my very favourite recipes. Born on a windy rainy afternoon. Wish I was sipping my heartwarming flat white on the sofa with a wool blanket, wandering about life – instead I was walking through a park with soaked clothes on being frustrated and anxious – as i was late from a meeting already. Then I slipped on the pavement a couple of times. Looked down and saw an abundance of acorns all over the place. Then I looked up and a cheeky squirrel was looking at me from the nearest oak tree (pinky promise I’m not making this up!). And it just turned my brain on.
This recipe looks a bit of a loooong process to make. Like proper French desserts usually. But once done- no regrets for all the work you put into it. Merci squirrel. :)(this recipe makes quite a few portions – and choux keeps very well in the freezer)
# Let’s get the praline first – just mix all the ingredients together and taste the heaven. DONE.
# To make the acorn craquelin. This is for perfection. You don’t need to bother with this – however, to put this crunch on the top helps to bake the pastry perfectly and also increases the volume. For this, you fully dry out the rest of your acorn purée and blend it into a fine powder (flour). Mix all of the ingredients together and roll out to a very thin layer – cut into circles with a ring cutter (depending on the size and shape of the choux you are planning to bake, always cut the discs a bit bigger). Freeze. After frozen you can handle them easily.
# Making the choux briefly: heat milk, butter, salt, sugar in a pan till the butter melts. Take off from the heat and mix the flour in and put back on the heat. Keep whisking till becoming a dough ball. Keep moving the dough till it ‘dries out’ enough. Put the dough in the standing mixer with the paddle and turn on high speed adding eggs one by one. Keep running till it cools down. You can find a detailed & deeper explanation of making and baking choux pastry at the back of the book*.
# Cream mousseline. Sounds very fancy – and it is freakin’ delicious I have to say. NomNom. Not atomic physics – just a posh pastry cream really. The original Paris-Brest was filled with hazelnut or almond praline cream mousseline – just super sexy like a real French lover – finger-licking. Get your liquids in a pan and start to warm up while you get sugar, yolk, and cornstarch in another bowl and whisk together. When the liquids are hot, pour over the rest of the ingredients in the bowl, whisk it well and get the whole mix back to the original pan and start to cook the eggs and cornstarch out. Keep stirring and let it boil up carefully on medium heat. Keep stirring while it gets to a nice thick consistency – just don’t let it burn, but boil for a couple of minutes. Done, make sure you have no lumps at all – if you do by any chance, don’t panic, just blend it well with a blender. Wait till it cools down a little – after 10 minutes approx whisk your vegan butter in and then slowly the acorn praline (if your pastry cream is too hot, it might split while you are adding more fat so don’t be impatient). Place your beautiful cream mousseline into a piping bag and let it cool down. For fancier piping be brave and try different nozzles.
# Make it pretty. The choux is a very airy pastry so it’s perfect for creamy fillings. I decorated mine with some oak tree leaves made by tempering white chocolate. Also, feel free to keep it simple by sifting some icing sugar on the top; works very well. Enjoy and don’t forget to drop thanks for the squirrels again. LOL.”
Giving you plenty of tips about how to use real freedom in the kitchen and be creative.
The third part of the book is showing off some preserving techniques like salting, infusing, dehydrating and fermenting your (not necessarily) foraged ingredients. More tips and recipes here.
Wild garlic capers. I simply cannot resist. I have to make them every year. Yes, it’s lots of work, yes it’s a pain in the ass, and yes, unbelievably time-consuming. BUT I’m just mad for them. After the ramson flower, it’s time for the little balls to appear. Wait till they get nice and round ‘3rounded’ shapes then pick as much as your free time allows. Clean and get rid of the stems (it will take ages but good fun in good company so get some helping hands around you) then put them in a jar and fill up with salt. How much is how much? It doesn’t really matter – the point is to salt the bulbs (start a basic Lacto fermentation) while it releases some of its natural water content and it turns darker. Last time I used ⅓ of salt to the weight of wild garlic capers.
Close the jar and shake every day for 2 weeks. After that, rinse the little green balls underwater. Get a pot and boil up 2:1 vinegar : sugar, add the capers and boil for a couple of minutes. You can play with your pickling juice too (add spices and herbs, cider, or malt vinegar) – feel free. After a quick boil, the capers will change colour and will become little ‘eyeballs’. Very awesome. Now simply fill up some clean jars and close. Wait for about 10 days (or more) to mature and enjoy.“
In the finishing part, i enclosed my very favourite and super-naughty recipes for treats and sweet snacks followed by special booze and cocktails using ‘wild stuff’. More tips and tips and tips.
• 50g dandelion roots
• 150g malt syrup
• 150g water
• 350ml vodka
Boil up the water with the malt first – then add the dandelion roots to infuse. When it cools down add the vodka and bottle it. Let it sit for a month at least. Make sure to use prepared dandelion roots (dried and roasted but it doesn’t have to be a super fine powder).”
The last pages contain the basic recipes i was using in the previous pages.
I am not using meat in any of my recipes – but mentioned it a few times. The book is not vegan or vegetarian – I’m cooking with fish and seafood – but most of the recipe is easily convertible to your style. Lots of them are gluten-free and or dairy-free and or sugar-free – or can be with very little effort. Freedom is very important for me that anyone can decide what to eat and how to feel about it.
Hope you will enjoy it – i put lots and lots of love innit and a bit more than a year of work.
Not being a professional book writer – don’t even have a publishing company behind me – i did all the job by myself so please forgive me if any mistake still happen. :)
The price of the book is £25. I will trade the first batch of the book myself to make sure of the quality (i worked very hard on) and you can get some words (dedicate for you or for anyone you would like) if you like to make it very personal. I will post it to you. After the first batch, i will handle this to a trader for further selling (like amazon) but im not sure yet when is this going to happen – but the book will be available on Ebook version also – if you prefer that.
” This is an awesome book! Lots of photos of edible plants, the author has a great sense of humor and her writing style makes the information quite accessible, you don’t have to be a botanist or plant expert to read it and create with your local wild food.
The book is packed with ideas and recipes, it’s quite impressive! The vast majority are accessible to the regular home cook or even someone who wants to start exploring wild edibles.
There is a lot of love and creativity that went into that book, I definitely recommend reading it. “
– author, wild food artist