Foraging for Hazel Nuts

Many of the things that foragers present you with can, to say the least, be a little suspect at first glance. However, hazel nuts don’t fall into this camp, they are easy to find, are unlikely to be confused with anything else, require little by way of preparation and they even taste good!

Foraged hazel nuts by Keith Gooderham at Greenshoots Photography

A hand carved alder wood bowl containing hazel nuts

Going to the woods and coming back with bags, hats and pockets full of nuts brings back many childhood memories. Hazel nut are also strongly associated with Christmas in my mind, bowls of nuts being placed out on the side “just in case you fancied them,” as if the mountain of turkey with all the trimmings was likely to ever leave room for such snacks!

Hazel Nuts and nut crackers

Nut crackers and nuts

Nonetheless, armed with these fond childhood memories I have been covetously watching some hazel bushes and their slowly maturing crop of nuts along a nearby abandoned railway line.  However, after watching them throughout August and September I took my eye off the “ball” for a week and nearly missed them! The expected harvest of plenty suddenly become a very meagre one indeed! Whether I had been beaten to the nuts by squirrels or worse still other foragers, or the ripe nuts had simply fallen off and disappeared into the undergrowth I can’t say, however, if I am honest there were ample nuts remaining and so, after an all too long a gap I have succeeded in collecting nuts once more and next year I will be more vigilant!

Foraged hazel nuts

A hand carved alder wood bowl containing hazel nuts

hazel nuts photgraphed by food and drink photographer Keith Gooderham

Freshly foraged hazel nuts

How about you? Have you been out foraging? What did you find?

Fungal Foray

Sunday saw another foraging trip arranged by the Cail Bruich restaurant and led by the Galloway Wild Foods forager Mark Williams. Unlike the previous foraging expedition this time we headed out of city to the Mugdock Country Park and instead of drizzle and grey skies we had brilliant sunshine all day! This being the end of September we were of course in search of fungi and while we would have gone very hungry if we had been dependent upon the fungi we found in the woods at Mugdock we did find a variety of fungi ranging from the eminently desirable cep right through to the far less attractive stinkhorn and brown roll rim toadstool.

The following pictures are a selection of snaps from the day:

Forager Mark Williams models the 2014 spring season Eco-friendly Red Nose range while the judging panel look on!Forager Mark Williams models an number of different versions of the 2014 eco friendly Red Nose while the judging panel look on!

We found lots of brown roll-rim toadstools, Paxillus involutus  in the woods but unfortunately while they were eaten in the past they can cause a fatal auto immune response which may happen very rapidly or only after eating them for several years. So unless Russian Roulette is something you fancy they should be left strictly alone!

Not all mushrooms grow on the ground. The hoof fungus, Fomes fomentarius, is commonly found growing on birch trees in Scotland and although not edible it has a variety of interesting uses. To learn more start with a look at Wikipedia.

Not all fungo grow on the groundYet another inedible fungus; the stinkhorn, Phallus impudicus and given the vile smell not something that you would like to eat! This foraging business is hard work still no sign of any food!

Stinkhorn!Mark points out the finer points of the stinkhornAt last. Real food! Fortunately both Mark and Cail Bruich chef/owner Chris Charalambous brought along some mushrooms foraged from elsewhere.

A feast of different mushroomsChris made a dish in which venison chorizo (from Great Glen Game), chanterelle and winter chanterelle were the star performers.

Channterelles and Venison CCommon chanterelle and winter chanterell being sauteed with venison chorizoTasting elderberry vinegar. One of the rave discoveries of the last foraging trip and despite initial reserve it made another batch of converts here too. I am half way through making a batch of vinegar, to see progress so far visit my Flickr Photostream

Tasting Elderberry VinegarTasting elederberry vinegarMark’s mushroom extravaganza! How he managed to get all of this

Mushrooms ready for cookinginto this and then saute it without letting any escape I don’t know !

Mixed mushrooms ready to sautee

Many thanks to Mark and Chris for a truly memorable day out!

For more information about the Cail Bruich restaurant and Galloway Wild Foods please follow the links.

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013 All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Foraging in Glasgow’s West End!

Sunday saw a trip to the Wildside or more precisely to Kelvinside as an intrepid band followed Mark Williams along the banks of the Kelvin on a foraging trip with a difference. Mark lives in Gatehouse of Fleet, that forgotten corner of SW Scotland where the vastness of the Solway Firth dominates the southern border and to the north are the remote hills and forests of Galloway. Mark is a forager with a difference, working under the name Galloway Wild Food, he doesn’t so much forage to sell to chefs and delis, as is usually the case, but instead he spends much of his time teaching people how to forage and to recognise the hidden treasures that are literally on our doorstep! Mark had been encouraged to head north to “the Big City” by Chris and Paul Charlambous owners of the Cail Bruich restaurant in Glasgow’s West End to take part in a combined foraging walk and a meal featuring many foraged ingredients. The walk was a revelation, did you know that the roots of one of our common hedge row plants tastes just like cloves?! I didn’t and as you can see below clove root (Geum urbanum, Wood Avens, Herb Bennet) was only one of the many plants that we discovered here in the heart of Glasgow!

Mark’s “Nature Table” of Foraged GoodiesMark's Foragers Nature TableMark extolling the benefits of hog weed!KG130728001aWeb1 Pineapple weed growing in abundance along the banks of the River Kelvin.KG130728008aWeb1And you do what with it?!KG130728010aWeb1Paul discusses the merits of pineapple weed with Mark but looking at the picture now I am reminded more than anything else of the Bob Newhart sketch “Introducing tobacco to civilisation

“Welcome back” – Elderflower champagne and proseccoKG130728014aWeb1

And now for part 2!

The Menu!KG130728013aWeb1“A drizzle of elderberry vinegar”KG130728021aWeb1Elderberry vinegar, sweet yet sour and sticky is an absolute revelation and a must have! The elderberries will soon be ripe so don’t miss out and follow the simple recipe now!

Sushi filled with foraged goodiesKG130728023aWeb1Congratulations and thanks to Mark, Chris and Paul for a really enjoyable day.

To learn more about Galloway Wild Food please follow the link

To learn more about Cail Bruich restaurant please follow the link

To see more photos and learn about Greenshoots Photography please follow the link

Good food – it’s all about sharing. ENJOY!

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013 All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.