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Elderberry port and autumn thoughts

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in News | 2 comments

Elderberry port and autumn thoughts

So the summer has come and gone. There’s still a little bit of elderflower cordial left so in my mind I can extend it a bit but September the first is always the day I associate with the end of the summer. It means that school’s just round the corner. The summer berries and peas are finished. It’s time to start thinking about what plentiful bounties creation has to offer during the next season of life.

 

I spent the summer foraging, baking and finishing my chicken coop and threw in a trip to Greece for good measure! I was delighted with my seaweed bread with seaweed picked from the beach at Trefin (Pembrokeshire). I’m nailing the technique for dandelion coffee (the trick is roast the pieces the same size or you’ll burn some whilst some of the rest is still soft) (both of which deserve a blog post of their own!) but the real excitement begins now. Autumn berries.

 

Blackberry picking is the most foraging most of us ever do. There are three laws of blackberry picking:

  1. You will get scratched.
  2. There is always a better berry just out of reach.
  3. You can never get enough.IMG_2156

 

Because I love the thought of free food I try to get out blackberry picking as often as I can. I make jam, crumbles, pies, and always freeze some for later in the year. The truth is, there’s a whole load more berries out there for the keen eyed forager. I’ve seen damsons, wild plums, sloes, crab apples (ok, not strictly a berry) but if there’s one berry

I’d love you to try and get into it’s elderberries. They’re plentiful, packed with vitamin C, make great jam and cordial but the best thing is:

Elderberry port. From the moment I pick my last elderflower in mid July I look forward to the berries. Literally I was thinking, can’t wait for the berries! I’ve got elderflower wine, redcurrant wine and elderflower vodka on the go at the moment but mmmm that port.

 

Here’s the recipe. Thanks Megan for your help!

 

4 pints of elderberries (just put them in a measuring jug)

1.5 kg sugar

125g raisins

4.5 litres of water

 

Bring the water and elderberries to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Strain (through a muslin cloth) and discard the pulp.

Add the sugar and raisins to the hot liquid and allow to cool. Ferment in a demijohn (I left mine in a bucket last year because I didn’t have one) for about 5-6 days then bottle in sterilised bottles and keep for a year. Ok I only kept mine until Christmas because I’m too impatient and I wanted to give cheap presents to my family. It was divine.

 

Happy home brewing.

Elderflower delight

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in News | 0 comments

Elderflower delight

The month of June brings almost unparalleled joy to the forager. As far as flowers go, the elderflower is the absolute king. It is so delicious and so versatile. It is one of the few wild foodstuffs that is collected for commercial use, and for good reason. It produces a beautifully refreshing, summer cordial, one of the finest hedgerow champagnes, and an increasingly popular, sweet treat called elderflower delight. Thank you John Wright in the River Cottage Hedgerow Handbook for that.

I won’t give away that recipe, you’ll have to buy the book for that but I will pass on my recipe for elderflower cordial:

3 lemons

35 elderflower heads

1.5 litres water

2 kg sugar

50g citric acid

IMG_1932

Boil 500ml of the water and dissolve the sugar in it. Then add the rest of the rest of the water, elderflowers, lemon zest and juice and the citric acid.

Leave it over night. Strain it through a muslin into sterilised bottles. Keeps for a few months due to the high sugar content.

You’d better satisfy your foraging urges soon as the flowers won’t be round much longer! I’m already looking forward to August-September time for the berries to make elderberry port!

Booze for free

Posted by on May 15, 2013 in News | 0 comments

Booze for free

One of the delights of foraging is producing 9 litres of wine for the cost of a kilo of sugar and a couple of lemons (ok so it’s not quite free!)

I spent a lovely half hour in the sun on the way home from work one day last week, picking dandilions and then spent not quite such a lovely half hour picking the green bits off!

It’s a bit of an experiment at this stage but I’m certainly looking forward to sampling and a bit more experimenting.

Where did I put that corkscrew?

Dechreuodd e ‘da merch.

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in News | 0 comments

Dechreuodd e ‘da merch.

Dechreuodd e ‘da merch. Ma fy stori yn un diddorol ac yn un sydd, gobeithio, yn mynd i’ch ysbrydoli. Dwi ‘di clywed cogydd ar ôl cogydd yn dweud

“Dwi di bod yn coginio ers o’n i’n chewch,” ond nid dyna fy stori i. Yn tyfu lan o’n i yn bendant yn gweld bwyd fel rhywbeth hanfodol er mwyn cael egni i wneud yr holl bethau arall o’n i am wneud. Pan welais un o fy ffrindiau coleg yn rhoi cyw iâr mewn pasta bêc, fe’m syfrdanwyd! Dyma, os bosib, pinacl bwyd.

 

Yna cwrddais i ferch a newidiodd fy mywyd am byth. Y tro cyntaf nes i goginio iddi, coginiais i basta a saws (heb gyw iâr!) Dwi’n synnu daeth hi erioed nôl. Gofynnodd imi a allith hi goginio i fi. Nes i wrthod gadael iddi goginio eog yn y ffwrn gan feddwl nôl ar yr holl adegau coginiodd mam eog i ni fel teulu.

“Pum munud arall, jyst i wneud yn siŵr,” fyddai hi’n dweud bob tro ac yn gorffen gyda physgodyn sychach na thafod camel. (Sori Mam!)

Gorfodais iddi ferwi’r eog mewn dŵr. Gweithiodd hi saws gwyn syml a dyna pryd mwyaf anhygoel fy mywyd hyd hynny.

Y noson honno dechreuais ar daith ni fydd byth yn gorffen. Taith i brofi byw trwy fwyta. Dwi ddim yn bwyta i fyw mwyach ond yn dathlu pob rhan o fyw gyda bwyd. Dechreuodd taith Tŷ Paned. Ymunwch â fi ar siwrnai Tŷ Paned. Dathlwch fwyta!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do mi briodais y ferch newidiodd fy mywyd!