Finally…out of the woods, it’s been a jam-packed fun-filled month down at Hunter:Gather:Cook with more courses in May than the whole of last year! Many has been the occasion over the last month that I have bedded down on the foraging school kitchen floor, afterall with back to back course its not worth going home- plenty of tasty leftovers to be eaten up. I wonder how many chefs have kipped on their kitchen floor sober? So Apologies for the lack of updates, but it’s been amazing to be away from the computer for so long and playing with ingredients out in the wild- back in France now so chained to the computer until later on in the week when its time to hit the foothills of the Pyrenees for some fly fishing and wild camping.
To see what’s been going on this month, please visit our facebook page for a bucket load of pictures from last month’s courses.
Some years back, whilst still a city dweller, I made Wild stinger pesto using nettles, wild garlic and a hit of hairy bittercress to add some pepperiness to the proceedings. These days the wild garlic and Bittercress have been substituted for Three cornered Leek and Lady’s smock or young horseradish leaves. Ramsons or Wild garlic is something I tend not to use so often now- I find it too overpowering even in small doses. Three-cornered leek is much less potent and has a pleasant sweetness to it. This is an ideal recipe for spring when our native wild garlics are out and the nettles are not yet flowering, although it is something that can be made throughout the summer if you find some cut back nettles banks.
As with most things that change over time, recipes are prone to evolution, the more familiar you get with an ingredient and the more books you read, things are bound to change. A big winner at HGC this spring has been our Stinger Pesto balls. They have on occasion and due to presentation, morphed into cakes- next step probably burgers and a tasty one they would make too…
Lets not mess about with tofu, soya crap and Quorn. If you do happen to be an unfortunate Vegetarian as opposed to a content omnivore- this is a recipe for you both using one of natures superfoods. Meaty as you could get without a drop of blood being spilt (although we tend to serve it with saddle of rabbit).
- (Makes 12 balls)
- 200g Nettle tops (full carrier bag)
- Small Bunch of Three cornered Leek (1 bulb of garlic)
- 1 egg
- 50g of breadcrumbs
- 40 g of Parmesan (grated)
- Salt and pepper to season
- Olive oil
Wash the nettles to remove any greenfly etc, Place in a saucepan and cover with boiling water, simmer for 5-10 minutes until soft. Remove from heat, drain in a colander and run cold water through the nettles to cool them. Using your hands, squeeze all the liquid from the nettles. You will end up with a small ball of condensed nettle tops- never fear, they will fluff up nicely. Remove any larger stalks then flatten on a chopping board and chop and chop till they have fluffed up, then place in a mixing bowl.
Take a fork and mix the ingredients until combined. Wet your hands with water (prevents mix sticking to your hands) take a small chunk of the mixture and roll it into balls (golf ball size), give it a squeeze to see if it holds, if it cracks then the mix is too dry and you should add a glug of olive oil, or another egg.
Can be served with just about anything- a good squeeze of lemon is a nice touch. But they make a good base for meat or fish to sit upon, especially good with Rabbit…things that grow together go together!
Below are a few pics from HGC Spring courses. We are currently taking bookings for August, so please get in touch if you are interested. We will soon be posting some Mushroom dates for October with our resident Mycologist and Truffle hound Trainer Melissa Waddingham…watch this space.
Proud Hunters after Butchering their first deer under the Expert Guidance of HGC instructor Ash Ross.