Alexanders stem recipe smyrnium olusatrum

Mussels, Alexanders and Crow Garlic

I cooked up this dish back in February when the snow and frosts were making foraging rather difficult. Walking in my local park in London the only plants that seemed to have enough foliage for me to take a little bit were Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) and Crow garlic (Allium vineale).

Foraging for flowers in London

Sweet Violet Syrup

 Sweet violet (Viola odorata) Violet flowers first sprung up in London well over a month ago, and have doggedly persisted ever since, refusing to accept that spring is late in arriving. Frost hardy to -7°C, the unique colouration of their flowers make them easy to spot at this time of year amongst the sparsely populated…

Hedgerow sorbet foraging

Hedgerow Sorbet

This is far from the best year for wild fruits, but there are still some ripe pickings out there. Hawthorn berries and rose hips can be found in abundance, but I have struggled to find decent patches for elderberries, sloes and cherry plums in London.

Chicken of the woods Laetiporus sulphureus

Chicken of the woods pie

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) When I was out collecting elderflowers for cordial the other day, I caught a glimpse of bright orange in the bushes. After carefully squeezing past the nettles and brambles to investigate, I found myself standing on a pile of old logs.

Hogweed buds

Hogweed and cheese

Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)  Caution: Hogweed is a member of the carrot family which contains several highly poisonous species. Direct contact with the raw plant can cause phototoxic effects, so always wear gloves and long sleeves when handling.   Hogweed is very widespread, growing in meadows, hedgerows and along the edges of fields. It has large pinnate…

Elderflower biscuits shortbread

Baking biscuits

Elderflower biscuit recipe  (guest post from Miriam)  I baked elderflower biscuits for Jason’s Parent and Child Wild Food Walk last weekend. I adapted a recipe for lavender biscuits which I have used with various wild flowers and blossoms, including Yarrow and Meadowsweet. It uses ground almonds which gives the biscuits a lovely texture and a…

Wild Garlic Soup Ramsons Allium ursinum

Wild Garlic Soup

 Ramsons (Allium ursinum) There are around 10 different types of garlic that grow natively in Britain, but ramsons are what most people think of when they hear the words ‘wild garlic’. This is because it is easily the most common and profilic Allium species, as well as having the largest leaves, making it more usable and…

Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta weed

A peppery little plant

Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) I did not have to go far to find this peppery little plant – I picked it from between the paving slabs in my back garden and then sprinkled it on my lunch. Hairy bittercress thrives in freshly disturbed ground, and is therefore most common in well weeded gardens, under orchards and…


Winter Blooms

Gorse (Ulex spp.) There is an old saying: ‘kissing’s out of season when gorse is out of bloom‘ and fortunately this is very rarely, as you can nearly always find at least a few flowers on a gorse bush. Even in the depths of winter it is still possible to find a bush in full…