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The Hedgerow Cookbook by
Wild at Heart
It’s a tradition, still, for many of us. We await the
arrival of blackberries, we collect elderflowers, we are entranced by
the perfume of wild garlic. If we were lucky enough to have had a
childhood spent roaming lanes, fields and forests then it’s likely that
some of our most vivid memories are of collecting food.
Foraging is more popular than ever. Perhaps it’s financial hard times
that have driven some folks to consider the outdoors as an
extension to the larder; for others it’s concern for food miles (air or
lorry); and there are those who have always loved gathering produce.
These pages offer ideas, advice and recipes to inspire anyone who wants
food for free.
Most of the ingredients considered in The Hedgerow Cookbook are easily
found on heaths, in hedges and even in more urban environs. There is
plenty to pick and gather and it’s all healthy produce, and almost
guaranteed to be free-range and organic.
Nettles are abundant and a good start. Yes, you will need to wear some
fetching rubber gloves but you are unlikely to be spotted by anyone who
cares. Nettles are versatile and can be made into vibrant soup and
fillings for pies. I am sure that once used in these recipes the reader
will find other uses, such as pasta sauces.
Rosehips are seldom used these days but they are a Superfood, being so
high in vitamins. When I was a child most homes had a supply of rosehip
syrup and I still enjoy it made into a steaming hot drink on cold
winter nights. The syrup keeps well for months, and will be fine for a
year if trouble is taken over bottling.
There can be nothing more evocative of a British summer than
strawberries. We think of Wimbledon and tennis with an afternoon tea of
scones, cream and big juicy strawberries, but we have wild strawberries
that are small, delicate and filled with the very essence of
strawberryness. This book offers a very smart alternative to a cream
tea with Pimm’s Jelly. This really does contain that summer tipple as a
cushion for those little red fruits. This is the kind of treat that
demands one wear a white cotton dress or a blazer and boater.
Crab apples seem seldom to be gathered these days and it’s a shame as
they make the most marvellous jelly, but The Hedgerow Cookbook has a
simple sorbet that will work as a light dessert or a refreshing
palate-cleanser between courses. An ice-cream maker is an advantage but
not an essential for this recipe. One can easily put the base
preparation in the freezer and periodically whisk the setting crystals
to give a granita-like texture which will be just as delicious as the
The pick-of-the-book is Blackberry and Apple Crumble Cake. It’s an
economic cake for teatime and takes advantage of regular apples and
those blackberries collected from bushes during the summer. This is a
little like a New York Crumb Cake but with the addition of succulent
fruit. It’s good on its own or with a garnish of some double cream.
The Hedgerow Cookbook is a beautifully presented tome that will appeal
to lovers of good food; and if that food is free, gratis and for
nothing that has to be a bonus.
The Hedgerow Cookbook
Author: Wild at Heart
Publisher: Pavilion Books