We’ve all watched in awe as the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage chef Gill Meller rustle up another dish to die for using food ingredients gathered, quite literally, in their own backyard. What you might not have realised is just how widespread and accessible so many ingredients are for many popular dishes as well as the more esoteric offerings from our celebrity chefs – there’s so much more to foraging than picking blackberries in the Autumn.
The second in a seasonal series of foraging walks created in partnership with Sidetracked magazine, the summer collection focuses on Dartmoor and its landscape of stunning views.
Recommended by International Mountain Leader and expedition chef, Kieran Creevy (@kierancreevy), the collection includes a range of walks of varying lengths and difficulty levels.
Each route has been handpicked by Kieran for its wild edibles – from flowers to berries and herbs.
Explore and download the routes in this collection here:
Route 1: Haytor quarry, tramway and rocks
Route 2: Brent Moor
Route 3: Princetown to Higher Hartor Tor
Route 4: Dartmeet to Laughter Tor
Check out our spring foraging collection, which took Kieran and his team to Wales. See the Wales foraging collection here.
Foraging recipe: Summer
By Kieran Creevy, International Mountain Leader and expedition chef.
Ingredients (serves four)
4 x 150 g cod fillets, skin on. Good alternatives for this dish would be; Mackerel, Pollock, Sea bass
2 double handfuls bilberries. If unripe replace with fresh gooseberries - available locally
4-6 tbsp caster sugar
1 stalk rhubarb, chopped into small chunks
2 handfuls fiddlehead fern tips (tightly curled, green only, washed and dried)
2-3 handfuls sowthistle leaves, washed and dried
1 tbsp whole spices (e.g. Mix of some of the following: Grains of paradise, coriander seeds, timut pepper, telicherry pepper, fennel seeds, black cardamom)
Stainless steel, spun iron or cast iron pan for preference
Wooden spoon, knife and fish slice if needed
Season the fish fillets with salt and a little pepper.
Heat the pan to medium/hot.
Add the spices and toast until fragrant.
Add 1 tbsp sugar and sufficient cider vinegar to cover the pickling ingredients.
Simmer for 1 minute.
Place the pickling ingredients in a food canister and pour over the liquid. Cover and leave to pickle.
Clean the pan, return to the heat and add the gooseberries, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water.
Cook until the gooseberries split, taste and add extra sugar if required. NB don't make the compote too sweet as it will interfere with the overall dish. You want to retain some tartness.
When compote is ready, place in an insulated food canister.
Clean the pan, return to the heat and melt a generous knob of butter.
Place the fish skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Flip over, cook until the centre of the fillets are still translucent.
Remove from the pan to a dish, cover with a square of tinfoil or parchment paper and leave to rest for 2 minutes.
While the fish is resting, toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan, when toasted, pour into a container or bowl and sprinkle over 1 tbsp of caster sugar.
Spoon some gooseberry compote onto each dish, place the cod fillets on top and ppoon over the brown butter sauce. Add the sowthistle salad leaves, pickle and hazelnuts to the plates and serve.
Please note the byelaws in place to protect Dartmoor National Park, specifically byelaw 8 regarding fires:
No person shall light a fire on the access land, or place or throw or let fall a lighted match or any other thing so as to be likely to cause a fire. This byelaw shall not prevent the lighting or use in such a manner as not to cause danger of or damage by fire of a properly constructed camping stove or cooker.” More information can be found here.
Please forage responsibly. If you chose to cook in the great outdoors, please observe the following guidelines:
Please note that most land in the UK is under private ownership or owned by a state body. Ask permission before foraging on someone else’s property. Familiarise yourself with the law regarding wild plants as some species are protected due to being rare, fragile, under threat or form a vital part of the ecosystem.
Identification and knowledge:
(Photos: Liz Seabrook)