Posts Tagged ‘foraging’

Buddhafield Festival Bliss and BBC goes to Kew

March 24, 2015

Today I have confirmed that I’ll run a Wild Herb Foraging Walk at Buddhafield Festival, in Somerset from 16th-18th July (the day before London Permaculture Festival, in London, on Sunday 19th July!) I’m greatly looking forward to doing this offering as this festival is one that has been on my wish-list for far too many years now; recommended annually by umpteen friends and now, finally, I have found my way there through the flowers & ferns 🙂

I’m equally enjoying the plans for the Kitchen Buddy section to LPF for 19th July, where we’ll be demonstrating uncookery food art for any children present…:)

The local farmers market delivered a great offering of fresh fruit & veg from Manor Park Gardens 🙂 A delectable pear, a couple of apples, a bunch of kale, a cucumber and a bunch of their finest red radishes costs just £4.00

Raymond Blanc would have approved of my shopping this week; he’s featured on BBC 2 series Kew on a Plate, which was filmed during last year, at a time when in fact, a friend and I went to Kew Gardens for a visit but were unable to enter the little cookery demo area, since Raymond himself was in there filming! 🙂 All is forgiven, Raymond! I am in love with this series! For those who haven’t watched, it’s on iplayer now for months.

The gist is that he and Kate Humble make an entire new vegetable and fruit garden at Kew Gardens, including traditional and historical veg, to make all seasonally based recipes (by Raymond, obviously!) A French chef, cooking (& un-cooking!) with veggie dishes, in french! What’s not to love?! Fascinating footage of Kate Humble in Kew archives, exploring the origins and medicinal properties to carrots!

Tonight, he made not 1, not 2 but 3 veggie\vegan\raw friendly recipes! 🙂 All which could be adapted and also sugar-free too!   Fresh Strawberry tarts, a Barley, carrot & cumin stew and a Chocolate bean Chilli served with Brown Rice! 🙂 Meat-free and Dairy-Free! I’m now a convert!  Small sliver slices of Gooseberry on top of the cheesecake?! (Loaded with sugar & not vegan but…) how sweet! 🙂

Just the ticket for the Diabetes World Summit being held at present, in Geneva.

He uses Stevia sugar to replace standard sugar and makes a frozen berry tartlet casing! Finally a TV Chef using an alternative sweetener to sugar! 🙂

They also saw the Cacao plants at Kew, with their tiny little flower blossoms! kew ph 5 coffeesomething a bit like this – is from the same Kew Hot House… At Hampton Court, no less, they have their own Chocolate kitchen, where they made a similar sounding concoction to my own Liquid L Hot Shots! Very adult in style and often drunk for breakfast, back in the day (16th Century)

We learnt that Cacao first arrived onto UK shores in 1585 and that it was indeed blended with spices to form a thin drink. My version however, is free-from those spices I am not too keen on: aniseed & pepper!

All in all, a fab, friendly series that will no doubt send more droves towards Kew (just what it needs & what the Dr ordered), plus encouraging us to grow more and to eat more (veg) in healthier ways. Good on Raymond Blanc! Merci, Monsieur!

Medicinal plants wild food foraging Walk

May 27, 2014

The morning was wet but fortunately, the rain did not dampen our spirits and it stopped as soon as the group gathered at the station :). Our group comprised of G, an author & old ecologist friend. We’d first (& last met) in Switzerland circa 1991! After 22 yrs+ he’d trekked over to be part of our local foray. At the time, we’d briefly shared our mutual nature interests but hadn’t really had an opportunity to meet before now. He’d also travelled the furthest away, other than M & B, a young Czech couple! Add to this, S, a new local, completed our group.

Walking along the Embankment with our identification books, sheets and info, we found Cleavers (Galium aparine) for detoxing the Lymph and Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris)  for its leaves & white flowers. We collected Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) and Elderflowers at the station and then, garlic \ hedge mustard from the community garden. Wild Food foraging rules: leave 2\3 of a plant intact, to continue to grow, so to pick carefully. Stay clear of anything suspicious or poisonous (Hemlock…) and to only collect from the healthiest parts of the plant.  Throughout the year, different species bloom and become more edible, so there is something usually at many times of the year. After a heavy week of rain, the cow parsley had bloomed early and gone to seed in some places and it is not unusual to find a rotation during the Spring\Summer\Autumn months. When one plant finishes it’s main season for leaves and stems, another is still present.

We took off along the route towards Mansfield park, admiring the neighbour’s broad beans & spiky artichoke plants  and then to a small patch of Chickweed (Stellara media) by the roadside which we did not collect from but noted for later. Another neighbour’s garden contained a Strawberry tree (Arbutus) yet unripe and on private land.

Shepherd’s purse and plantain (Plantago major) were in the former hospital site where the residential block is now situated. At the park, we found cherries ripening, Hawthorn (good for the heart; for love and to support cardiovascular concerns). The area is rich in diverse wildlife;  there is a pair of Mistle Thrushes, Goldfinches and long-tailed tits. There is another small patch of Chickweed (topical uses inc. for skin conditions) towards the Brownhill Rd entrance\exit by brambles for blackberries in the late summer \ autumn and more hawthorns. The chickweed makes a light, refreshing salad leaf.  Dandelions (Taxonomia) have a bitter flavour but are used in herbal medicine to support the kidneys as a diruetic. We walked around the perimeter and along a natural pathway found nettles (Urtica dioica) for iron, magnesium which helps female hormone balance and strengthens the immune system, elder flower, alkanet (prickly but with small, pretty deep blue flowers), jack-by-the-hedge (hedge mustard) and a variety from the rocket family. Along the back section by the ornate metal gate, there is a large Burdock and a few Mallows not yet in bloom (their soothing properties make them ideal for digestive and stomach settling purposes). Their pink, slightly floppy flowers, taste deliciously light, sweet and soothing.

Further along at the bottom\back of the perimeter is Yarrow (Achillae millefolium) which is used as a blood clotting agent, to prevent bleeding. It was used during the war (WW1 and earlier) to heal soldier’s wounds and to stem the bleeding. It is a long, green, feathery leaf, with a fronds texture.  Finally, we collected young, green, lime leaves from the trees bordering the edge of the woodland at the back, for canapes.  Then we took all our collection back up to St Swithun’s Church on Hither Green Lane.

Medicinal Plant Menu

Fresh Nettle Tea, Wild pesto, Courgette & Lime leaf Canapes, Mixed leaf salad, followed by Chocolate Orange Cream with Strawberries.

Others in the church came up to view our lunch and expressed great interest in the benefits to these foods.

We made a refreshing Elderflower water from immersing freshly picked elderflowers into a pot of water and the results were delicious.

“I was surprised how quickly a few elder flowers could flavour a glass of water so well and make it look so appealing!” G.Down

Elder flowers cluster from Mansfield Pk

Serves 6 glasses


4-5 clusters of Elderflower blossom

1 pt fresh water

2 slices of fresh ginger, grated or chopped



1. Immerse the flowers on the stems in a container of water eg.a jug for half hr min.

2. Add the ginger pieces.

3. Serve into wine glasses. The flowers may fall into the glass but are harmless & edible.

4. Refill the container with fresh water and replace the stems once again, to produce another batch for later.

5. Stems may be used for up to 2-3 times.

lime leaf & courgette canapesLime Leaf & Courgette Canapes with Wild Pesto Dressing

Wild Food & Medicinal Forage Walk Participant responses:

“I did feel enlivened this morning, and I’d like to think yesterdays diet helped with that! Evidently works for you! I am certainly going to try and work some wild foods into my diet now 🙂 ” G.D.

This weekend’s Wild Food Foraging Walk and lunch (with F.U.S.S)

May 31, 2013


forage walk prep juicing in kitchenforage walk group yarrow on park embankmentforage walk wild lunch time

This month’s 2nd walk takes place on Sunday morning at Manor Park (nr HG stn) for all. 6 places left.

Recent participant comments:

“Amazing! I loved it! Wonderful to learn about plants I walk past every day and never noticed. Now they’ve become new friends.” A.F
“Thank you Theresa, this morning has been great fun. I have learned such a lot about plants & using them” E.F


Adults £11.00  accompanied children FREE. Inc Lunch.

To book in advance, contact me directly NOW before Sunday. Advance booking is recommended (catering and additional food prep).

Chelsea Fringe Foraging Walks

April 12, 2013

For Foraging enthusiasts everywhere: I am planning 2 walks this Spring as part of the Chelsea Fringe festival, details to be online soon.

They Include learning about up to a dozen edible species, with recipes and tuition in a shared meal.

Dates: Saturday May 25th and Sunday June 2nd 

Prices Adults £11.00. Children go FREE.


Wild Food Foraging Walk

April 23, 2012 My first group outing this year includes the following: A 2 hr guided walk through a local nature reserve and woodland as part of ‘Hither Green Week’. The collection of wild foods: Identify and taste local wild herb varieties and learn about their culinary and medicinal uses in salads, teas and tinctures. For old and new ecology, environment and nature lovers. Suitable for all ages. Complete beginners and current foragers welcome. We’ll discover the edible plants that this hidden haven has to offer. This outing combines the insights gained from personal, private and public tours which is made possible with thanks to: Effat (Iranian Wild Food expert), Rob Hull (Funky Raw) and Tim the ‘Wiltshire Wizard’ amongst others, inc my flora and fauna loving parents to whom I owe my early interest in science and medicine 🙂 Imageme out to play

Woodland running

April 21, 2009

I’ve been for a run around the local park and woods and discovered hoards of hogweed/cow parsley. It’s long stems are a little like celery and in Spring it has little white flowers. The stems are juicy and edible. I’m feeling Reconnected with Earth, provided by her, in eaten some for 15 mins and it’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve run home much faster and my skin is clearer and eyes whiter and brighter.

April 16, 2009

Each day, I pick and collect some plants for lunch. Wild dandelions, with cuc, a carrot, mung beans, a little oil, a pepper and a little tahini.