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?

VEGETABLES & THE COLOR PURPLE

Alien Invasion?
Have you noticed? Purple vegetables are taking over; purple kale, purple carrots, purple French beans, purple cauliflower and now purple kohlrabi. Conspiracy theorists, ideas please, before it is too late!

Food and drink photography by Greenshoots Photography

Purple Kohlrabi making an exhibition of themselves!

But of course there is a much more prosaic answer. The purple colour in the leaves, stems and “fruits” of many plants is due to the presence of a powerful anti-oxidising agent, anthocyanin which can act as a natural sun screen for the plant, something which is especially important for young seedlings and new leaves but in something like the purple cauliflower below there can be little if any advantage to the plant. Although anti-oxidants in food a widely regarded as “good” their nutritional value must be also limited in that cooking will destroy the purple colour in most vegetables (purple cauliflower is said to be an exception to this loss of colour).

Food and drink photography by Greenshoots Photography

Brain Section or Purple Cauliflower

Food and drink photography by Greenshoots Photography

French Beans

Food and drink photography by Greenshoots Photography

Purple Russian Kale

Food and drink photography by Greenshoots Photography

Purple Radish Sprouts

Have you tried any purple vegetables? Did you manage to keep their colour when you cooked them?

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.

It’s all a matter of taste: part II

In my previous post I said that one of my pictures had been commended in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition but I was not allowed to publish it until it appeared on the competition web site on the 24th of April, well the 24th has come and gone and in fact it is now the 24th of May so it’s high time I posted “the Picture”
The photo was taken at the Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow and was submitted in the “An Apple a Day” category and is therefore called:

An Apple for Teacher

KG130122008Web1The other pictures which I submitted are shown below.

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath SmokiesThis picture was taken last August in Edinburgh at the “Foodies Festival” where Iain Spink was doing a brisk trade in selling freshly smoked Arbroath Smokies. The fish, locally caught haddock, are filleted, dry salted and tied in pairs over a wooden baton before being smoked in a half whiskey barrel covered with hessian. After 30 to 40 minutes the fish are ready to eat, warm, smoky, moist and sweet – truly mouth-watering experience.

Partick Fishwife

Partick Fish Wife I have been visiting the biweekly Farmers Market at Partick in Glasgow’s West End for many years and for all that time Macmillan’s have been there come rain or shine but always with a smile and the best of Scottish seafood.

Voluptuous Red Peppers

Voluputous Red PeppersFood is not just a matter of taste it engages all the senses, smell, touch, even occasionally sound and of course always  sight! These bright rounded peppers look good in their own right but also hint at all the other things that they can contribute to from crisp salads to roasted and stuffed peppers.

Man Cooks Breakfast!

Man Cooks Breakfast!This picture is really just a bit of fun but there is also some truth in it as anyone who has seen me at work in the kitchen will attest with every pot, pan and utensil being used and every surface covered with the fallout from my cooking!

The Voluptuous Red Peppers shot is my personal favourite picture and when it was posted on Flickr it had an amazing 6800+ views, most of which occurred on just one day! However, different audiences react in very different ways to the same image. Clearly it’s all a matter of taste, if you have the time I would love to hear which picture you like best!

It’s all a matter of taste

Last year Pink Lady, the apple brand, launched an annual international food photography competition with the winner not only being awarded the prestigious title of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year but also walking away with a cool £5000 in prize money. With such an incentive it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that entries in its second year have increased by 70% with some 5500 images submitted. As the competition becomes better known around the world this number will no doubt continue to grow, after all 5500 images is small beer compared to the 49000 entries submitted to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Anyway 5 of the entries to the Pink Lady competition were from me. Sadly 4 of them failed to get even an honourable mention but one was “commended” and it will appear in the competition’s on-line gallery on the 24th of April until then I can’t even tell you the title of the work let alone let you see it! However, here are my remaining entries at least two of which I think were far better than the picture that ended up being selected. I would love to hear what you think:

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath Smokies

This picture was taken last August in Edinburgh at the “Foodies Festival” where Iain Spink was doing a brisk trade in selling freshly smoked Arbroath Smokies. The fish, locally caught haddock, are filleted, dry salted and tied in pairs over a wooden baton before being smoked in a half whisky barrel covered with hessian. After 30 to 40 minutes the fish are ready to eat, warm, smoky, moist and sweet – truly mouth-watering experience.

Partick Fishwife

Partick Fish Wife

I have been visiting the biweekly Farmers Market at Partick in Glasgow’s West End for many years and for all that time Macmillan’s have been there come rain or shine but always with a smile and the best of Scottish seafood.

Voluptuous Red Peppers

Voluputous Red Peppers

Food is not just a matter of taste it engages all the senses, smell, touch, even occasionally sound and of course always  sight! These bright rounded peppers look good in their own right but also hint at all the other things that they can contribute to from crisp salads to roasted and stuffed peppers.

Man Cooks Breakfast!

Man Cooks Breakfast!

This picture is really just a bit of fun but there is also some truth in it as anyone who has seen me at work in the kitchen will attest with every pot, pan and utensil being used and every surface covered with the fallout from my cooking!

Commended

Image 5

Sorry but I can’t show you this image or even tell you it’s title until it is published on the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the 2013 on-line gallery on the 24th of April!

I posted the Voluptuous Red Peppers picture on Flickr a week ago and  since then it has had an amazing 6800+ views, most of which occurred on just one day! This picture has been a personal favourite ever since I first took it but it is often difficult as a photographer to be really objective about your own work, there are just too many associations with the image to allow a really unbiased view. But even different audiences will react in very different ways to the same image. Clearly it’s all a matter of taste, if you have the time I would love to hear which picture you like best, just use the voting form below and of course any comments are very welcome!

Neigh Worries!

Local butchers are not being slow to cash in on the ongoing horse meat debacle. I saw this sign at weekend  outside Andrew Reid’s on Great Western Road in Glasgow’s West End.

Neigh Worries

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.

Pasta With Love

Tagliatelle by “Pasta With Love”

Given that tomorrow is Valentines’ Day the title of this post my be regarded as a little contrived, however, the title has made itself in that it is the name of a small startup company which has been making a big impact on the farmers market scene in both Glasgow and Edinburgh ever since they first started business a little under a year ago. “Pasta With Love” is the work of a young couple, Duncan and Ness Fildes, who are clearly on a meteoric trajectory after winning a Great Taste Gold Taste Award for their linguine only three weeks after they started to trade!

“Pasta With Love” are to be found at the Mansfield Park Market in Glasgow every second and fourth Saturday each month and they also attend the markets at Queens Park, again in Glasgow as well as at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market. For more information visit their FaceBook page and see also Caroline von Schmalensee’s excellent article about “Pasta With Love” in her blog the “Edinburgh Foody”

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Tagliatelle with cheese sauce, tomato, mushrooms and bacon

This is a simple and quick dish packed with wonderful flavours and makes a perfect meal. For an even easier version use smoked Bavarian ham (Lidl) instead of bacon, a great taste and no need to cook it, though it is fantastic on pizzas!

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Serves 2 ready in 15 minutes.

Switch on the oven and set to 190oC, put a large pan of water, half full, on to boil, adding a glug of olive oil to the water; extra virgin (Is there any other? This will help stop the pasta sticking together once it has cooked). Wash a dozen or so freshly plucked basil leaves and 4 to 8 ripe tomatoes, depending on size, before slicing the tomatoes; crossways is best and leave to one side. Place 4 or 6 rashers of smoked bacon (pancetta or streaky bacon is fine too) in a baking tray lightly coated with olive oil and put in to the oven. Take 6 or so chestnut mushrooms, brush off any dirt and cut off the base of the stems before slicing vertically and placing in a frying pan with a good glug of oil and sauté. By this time the water for the pasta should be boiling, remove the saucepan lid and add the pasta, approximately 300g will be ample and boil for 3 to 4 minutes (4 to 5 minutes if cooking from frozen). While the pasta is cooking finish off the mushrooms by adding a dash of dark soya sauce and stir well. As soon as the pasta is ready tip it into a colander and allow to drain, covering with the saucepan lid. Return the pan to the stove and tip in 250ml of four cheese sauce (widely available from most supermarkets, alternatively make your own but we are keeping things simple!), reduce the heat to medium, tip in the pasta and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Put the plates in the oven to warm, (pasta hates cold plates!) while removing the bacon. Cut the bacon into stamp sized pieces and together with the mushrooms add to the pasta – cheese sauce mix and stir in. Take the plate from the oven and plate-up not forgetting to add the sliced tomato and basil! Season to taste and enjoy!

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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.