One of the things we love to do at Incredible Edible is capture and share local knowledge. In this instance, it’s all about cooking our lovely, fresh, seasonal produce. Any recipe we post will include a main ingredient that can be found in growing in one or more of our beds, or that you can forage from the surrounding countryside. Feel free to share your own recipes via our contact page and we'll post it here.
(Please note, if foraging for wild food, please be certain you know what you are picking. Perfectly edible plants can closely resemble others, which are themselves toxic. You are responsible for your own safety and harveting plants responsibly. Legally, you are only allowed to pick flowers, leaves, seed, berries and fruits. It is illegal to dig up a plant from the ground, this includes the digging up of blubs. NB: Some images shown below are taken from online sources, although wherever possible we try to use our own).
BLACKBERRY and CRAB APPLE JAM
- 2 kg blackberries, washed and with stalks removed
- 1 kg crab apples (or sour baking apples), cored and chopped
- 300 ml water
- 3 kg granulated white sugar
- Good glug of whisky (optional; if using, reduce the amount of water by the amount of whisky used)
Simmer the blackberries in a large pan with half the water, until they’re soft.
Do the same with the apples, in a separate pan, using the other half of the water.
Mix the two fruits together in one pan, remove the pan from the heat, allow to cool slightly and stir in the sugar. Stir until it has dissolved, bring to the boil and allow to boil vigorously until setting point is reached; you can determine this by putting a small blob of the jam on a chilled saucer. If the jam’s ready, it will wrinkle if you push it with your finger.
Pour into warmed, sterilised jars, cover with wax discs and, when completely cold, put the lids on.
If you want to make a smooth jam, then you can sieve the cooked blackberries before mixing them with the apples. You’ll need slightly less sugar if you do this – just 2.25 kg – but it’s such a messy process, I’d suggest you live with the pips!
RIVER COTTAGE NETTLE SOUP
(from River Cottage Hedgerow Handbook)
Fresh nettles abound! Pick the young tips if possible and never use nettles once the flowers have come out. So March and April are ideal times to pick.
- Half a carrier bagful of stinging nettle tops, or fresh-looking larger leaves
- 50g butter
- 1 large onion (or a dozen crow garlic bulbs if you want to be truly wild), peeled and finely chopped
- 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock, or even light fish stock
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp crème fraîche
- A few drops of extra-virgin olive oil
- A few drops of Tabasco
Wearing rubber gloves, sort through the nettles, discarding anything you don't like the look of and any thick stalks. Wash the nettles and drain in a colander.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook gently for 5-7 minutes until softened.
Add the stock, nettles, potato and carrot. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the potato is soft, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Using an electric hand-held stick blender, purée the soup and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into warmed bowls and float a teaspoonful of creme fraiche on top. As this melts, swirl in a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and Tabasco.
RIVER COTTAGE WILD GARLIC PESTO
(from River Cottage Hedgerow Handbook)
Makes one small jar
- 50g Wild Garlic leaves, washed
- 30g Pignuts, sliced and briefly toasted in a little oil in a frying pan
- 30g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 80ml olive oil, plus extra to cover
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
The simplest method is to put everything except the oil in a food processor, blitz for a few seconds, then continue to whiz while slowly adding the olive oil through the funnel. I prefer to leave things a little coarser and take the traditional path of finely chopping the Wild Garlic leaves, then grinding them with the Pignuts and Parmesan, using a large pestle and mortar, and adding the olive oil towards the end.
SODA BREAD with HERBS
This is a farmhouse recipe using the buttermilk left over from the butter-making process. The original recipe would have used Imperial weights and measures.
- 350g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 300ml buttermilk
- Finely chopped herbsof choice
Set oven to 200 C (180 fan).
Mix flour, salt and bicarbonate in a bowl, rubbing well together to distribute bicarbonate evenly.
Make a well in the centre, tip in the buttermilk and herbs, mix quickly and lightly with a large fork to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured board, knead briefly, then turn out onto a well floured baking sheet.
SOMERSET APPLE CAKE
This is a farmhouse recipe using autumn windfalls or reject apples. The original recipe would have used Imperial weights and measures.
- 175g soft margarine or butter
- 175g light brown muscovado sugar
- 3 medium eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 250g self-raising flour
- 100 ml milk
- About 500g tart apples (eaters or cookers), peeled, cored and diced
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar for sprinkling
- a 23cm springform tin or a tray-bake tin, lined with baking paper
Set oven to 160 C (140 fan). Beat fat and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs. Sift flour and fold in with a large metal spoon, adding milk and apples when the flour is only partially mixed. Spoon into prepared tin and spread evenly. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake about 1 hour (40 - 45 minutes tray-bake) until cake is golden brown and a cocktail stick inserted into centre comes out clean.
Loosen cake with a round-bladed knife and unclip tin, cool on wire rack or eat warm (tray-bake can be cooled in tin).
Best eaten within a day of baking.
GARLIC MUSHROOM FRITATTA
- low-calorie cooking spray
- 250g/9oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh chives
- 4 large free-range eggsbeaten
- freshly ground black pepper
- Spray a small, flame-proof frying pan with oil and place over a high heat. (The base of the pan shouldn’t be wider than about 18cm/7in.) Stir-fry the mushrooms in three batches for 2-3 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned. Tip the cooked mushrooms into a sieve over a bowl to catch any juices – you don’t want the mushrooms to become soggy.
- Return all the mushrooms to the pan and stir in the garlic and chives, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Cook for a further minute, then reduce the heat to low.
- Preheat the grill to its hottest setting. Pour the eggs over the mushrooms. Cook for five minutes, or until almost set.
- Place the pan under the grill for 3-4 minutes, or until set.
- Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove from the grill and loosen the sides of the frittata with a round-bladed knife.Turn out onto a board and cut into wedges. Serve hot or cold with salad.
Recipe by Justine Patterson on BBC Food Online.
RASPBERRY AND APPLE CRUMBLE SQUARES
- 1 Bramley Apple, peeled and diced
- 100g butter, softened
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 280g self-raising flour
- 125ml milk
- 200g raspberries
For the crumble topping
- 50g butter, diced
- 85g self-raising flour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- zest 1 lemon
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20 x 30cm cake tin with baking parchment. Put the apple in a small pan with 2 tbsp water. Cook for a few mins or until the apple starts to soften.
Meanwhile, make the crumble topping. Rub the butter into the flour, sugar and lemon zest until it resembles big breadcrumbs, then set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, then gradually add the egg. Tip in the flour and milk, and continue to beat until everything is combined. Incorporate the apples then spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the surface, then dot with the raspberries. Sprinkle over the crumble topping and bake for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean, and the topping is golden.
Recipe taken from Good Food Magazine, September, 2011.