What a year its been- I never expected when I started this website 4 years ago it would go from an online world of posting recipes, experiments and experiences and turn into something, real, interactive and informative. The first year of HGC school has been great fun and a I feel I have learnt almost as much as all those who have attended the courses (I think the best tip I received was from one Alan Paterson who told me to use washing powder to soak and clean burnt eggy pans- works a treat)! I cannot thank those who attended enough for making our first year a great success.
Throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn I was consistently pleased to see that I had really had found the perfect place for the school, the flora & fauna of the surrounding landscape not only provided rabbits, squirrels, pigeon, fallow deer and carp for the HQ kitchen’s meat store (even allowing a few attendees to dispatch them on the day), but the plants and fungi were just as forthcoming: Giant puffballs, bay boletus, parasols and chicken of the woods all put in a timely, yet surprising appearance.
2011 saw HGC doing privately booked bespoke courses as opposed to days you ‘book on to’, this will still be the case for 2012- But fear not! In 2012 we are organising a series of group days, which you CAN book onto. These will have a predetermined structure and a bit cheaper than the private days
Private days and overnight courses will still be available- I still feel that the learning experience for the attendees is much better and on a more personal level than having larger groups, this also enables you to choose your desired date and we can design the course around what you wish to learn about. We have started taking bookings already for next year- May and June are gradually filling up so please get in touch if you fancy becoming a 21st century Hunter-gatherer. There will be more dates to following for June, July and August.
Obviously all our courses are based around foraging and cooking, but that still means you have to know how to source it and how to cook it when you are off the grid and in the woods. This is how the HGC curriculum evolved- we do so much more than plant identification and ensure that you WILL get your hands dirty! As pictures are worth a thousand words, here are a few snapshots of what we have been up to this year on our courses at Hunter:Gather:Cook HQ and what YOU could be experiencing next year!
The HQ Kitchen- designed in the perfect kitchen triangle, Oak tables constructed from Oak from the very wood in which we reside.
Off-Grid Ice Cream- its amazing what you can do with a bit of plastic, a power drill and a couple of buckets. Blackberry & wild mint ice cream.
Staggy- Yes, we do Stag and Hen do's aswell! It only seemed fitting to get them a roebuck for Lunch, do a bush tucker trial and shelter challenge at the end. All washed down with 10 gallons o'cider.
Trapping & Knapping- how to catch your fur with a fig.4 deadfall and of course, you will need something to cut it up with: flint.
Deer in a day- from processing to smoking, underground ovens and slow roasting. Too much meat? Never.
Cooking- Dutch ovens do more than just stews. Muurikka Skillets and good ol'fashioned Smoking tripod always make an appearence.
Hunter:Gather:Shelter Overnighters- If you are spending the night with us, we will take you through how to build a comfy nest for the night.
Clay Oven Cookery- Our clay oven produces the best Rabbit & nettle pesto pizza and the spade we used to make it is excellent for fry-ups.
Rabbits- Once we have taken you through how to remove their furry packaging and joint them, they transform into pan fried saddle of rabbit wrapped in pancetta and sage on a wild salsa with puffball base.
Pigeon- Plucked, Pan fried and relaxed- either with a wild leaf salad and blackberry jus or Carpaccio'ed with baby horseradish leaves, elderberries and wood sorrel.
Mycological Munch: Plenty of fungi found on the farm for a fun-filled afternoon of feeding. Bay boletus, puffballs and chickens.
Man's greatest discovery: Fire, without which we would only eat cold food. At HGC we cover all the basics from wood selection, fire management, fire by friction and the all reliable flint and steel. (Sorry about all the F-ing).
Pots & Pans...and Rabbits too.