Posts Tagged ‘foraging’

Wild Food

Thursday, August 6th, 2015 | Books, Food


Wild Food is a book by Roger Phillips and is on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recommended reading list from his Rover Cottage Q&A.

The sub-heading on the cover is:

A complete guide for foragers

However, it isn’t. In the introduction it talks about how it is not a field guide to identification, and really doesn’t help you actually forage any food. It does however give you a great range of recipes and cooking options once you have gathered the ingredients.

It splits the contents into mushrooms, flowers, seaweed, vegetables and herbs, fruits and berries, and finally teas, beers and wines. It then goes through each of the ingredients and tells you what to do with them.

The book itself is really nice: a matt hardback cover with plenty of colour photos inside. I haven’t really used it though because every time I buy such a book, it seems to insist it is not a field guide, and you need to get another book for that.

It does pick up massive points though, because in my review of The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency I said I was always going to be disappointed in the future whenever a book did not have a section on brewing and wine making – this one did not disappoint!

Food For Free

Friday, June 26th, 2015 | Books, Food

Food For Free is a book by Richard Mabey on foraging. I got the pocket-sized edition which is great for travelling around with.

It contains descriptions of loads of different plants you will find it Britain and each one comes with an illustration and a photo. It describes what it looks like and what you can do with it. All good stuff.

On the negative side, it is very insistent that you use a real identification guide, which it claims this is not. I felt that distracted a lot from the purpose of the book. Why make it pocket-sized for example if you’re not taking it into the field?

It is also arranged alphabetically whereas I felt grouping similar plants together would be more useful. If I see a plant I want to be able to find that section and work out which one it is. That way also has difficulties – how do you find the section you want if you already know what it is, and how do you judge what is similar? However, on balance I think the trade off would have been worth it.

It does however address any concerns you might have that you could accidentally pick something poisonous by telling you it will probably be fine. I feel much better after that…

Food For Free

Cook on the Wild Side

Monday, March 9th, 2015 | Distractions

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s first TV show was called Cook on the Wild Side. In his first series he converted a truck into a “gastro van”, which the back folded out into a complete kitchen for him to cook from anywhere. He then drove round the country foraging for food and cooking it up.

There was a surprisingly amount of illegal activity in it, which was amusing. He tried poaching, trespassing and raiding supermarket bins. He went everywhere from inner city London to the highlands of Scotland. In seemed quite realistic in that a lot of his attempts, especially fishing, just did not work.

In the second series he used a boat that he sailed up the canals and even included a bike with a pedal-powered stove so that he could leave the water whenever he needed.

While the series was highly entertaining, I also took away two practical tips. The first is that you can eat common garden snails. Literally you can just pick them up and fry them. Though you may also want to cleanse them for a few days before doing this. Gorden Ramsey has a great video on this as well:

Secondly Hugh recommends a book called “why not eat insects?” and then goes on to gather up woodlice from a wood and then fry them too. Apparently they taste like shrimp. I like shrimp…