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fat hen foraging

In an ideal world, this is how I like my foraged food to look. Spot the candied alexanders stem, carrageen-set panna cotta and wild fennel shortbread in this composition.

It is said to the point of cliche, but nonetheless true, that there is something about foraging for food that seems to tap into our most primitive instincts. Just the simple action of plucking a leaf from a tangled Cornish hedge and finding it tastes like wasabi or watercress or coconut – in short, something you would normally pay for – is unfailingly thrilling.

That probably says a lot about how darkly far we’ve come from the origins of our food. Still, there’s no need to go getting too primitive about these things, and that’s what I particularly like about Caroline Davey of St Buryan wild food school Fat Hen. On her courses, it’s not just about whether the plant is edible, it’s about whether it tastes good… and not just good, but Read the rest of this entry »

Ever since attending a ‘gourmet wild food weekend’ with Fat Hen near St Buryan last year, I’ve been full of the joys of wild garlic, or three-cornered leek (or Allium triquetrum if you really want to get serious).

This ubiquitous and pleasantly pungent plant (different to the UK’s native wild garlic, Ramsons, which we don’t really get in Penwith) is all over west Cornwall in spring – and is currently bullying its way into a hedgerow near you.

Those fretting about upsetting the ecological balance by foraging should take comfort in the fact that Cornwall Council considers wild garlic a problem species and is actually directing funds to clearing it in some areas.

Foraging for food is a nervy business for beginners – and clearly you need to ensure a positive identification before chowing down – but you can take it from this very twitchy forager that wild garlic is easy to identify. For one, it stinks!

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p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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