Hi and welcome to WildFoodMary.com!

Mary Bulfin - Forager

Photo by Harry Weir for Food and Wine magazine

Mary Bulfin,I am a forager, chef, and lover of all good food nature has to offer. I collect wild foods, use them fresh and also preserve, make all kinds of treats from delicious elderflower delight to relishes, dried mushrooms, and wonderful liqueurs.

I also give guided foraging walks and workshops to small groups throughout the year. Limited places are available so  book early.

If you fancy going out to forage yourself, check out my what’s in season now page for tips.

Some of you have asked for recipes recently and I am very happy to answer requests and swap ideas.

Also, please feel free to send me photos of species you want identified!

I can be contacted on my mobile at 087 7418536, or by using the form on the contact page.

Summer mushrooms, berries and flowers

It is a muggy damp July evening,the garden is full of new spuds, courgettes, carrots, beans, peas and bucket loads of berries all needing some attention be it weeding or picking, and in the hedges there are the last few Elderflowers, on the mountains a very healthy crop of Fraughans or wild Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus). Fraochán
These tasty little berries are packed full of vitamin C along with large amounts of anthocyanins, blue pigments which are powerful antioxidants.

Today on the way home we spied some Dryad’s saddle polyporus squamus mushrooms growing on a neighbors tree stump, they made a tasty dish for dinner, I have tried these before but had picked slightly older ones and it was like chewing an old boot.So it was good to finally enjoy them as young tasty polypores, they are easy to identify, growing on dead wood and reaching up to 50cms in diameter, they have brown scales and a depression in the cap close to the stem. They are a bracket fungus growing with pores on the underside, sometimes called pheasant of the woods due to their scales which look like a hen phesant’s back.Dryad's saddle

tasty mushrooms

Phesant of the woodsPhesant of the woodstasty mushrooms
On July 6th we collected and enjoyed our first Chanterelles of the season, so delicious.

Recently a lady visited who is interested in quilting and has begun to dye her own fabrics, this has caught my interest and helped me notice certain wild plants in a new way. I have been seeing Dyer’s rocket for years and vaguely wondering what that tall hand some plant is, to forget all about it in search of familiar forages, now it has a whole new significance for me, not that one needs to be usefull as well as handsome but it helps!I hope to find a half hour to cut some and dry it for use in Glady’s craft.Dyer's rocket
getting to know this plant led me to wonder which other plants can be used to dye fabrics and the list is long, including nettle roots, flag iris flowers and roots, Bilberries to mention but a few.

In other news my recipe for rose cake has been well received by many of you, thank you all for kind comments.
We have bottled the Elderflower “Champagne” and will check the pressure in the bottles over the next few weeks as the champagne is for a family get together in August,also made vegan ice-cream and buckets of cordial, no matter how many blossoms I collect and use there is always a slight feeling of not having gathered enough,at the same time it gladdens my heart to see the berries setting and swelling with a promise of rich harvest to come.
Hazelnuts looking good too as are the Damsons…. so much to look forward to, but just now time to sit still and watch the sky darken and the bats come out on this moonlit night.

Summer is here

Rosa Rugosa it’s time for flowers, Beautiful Rosa Rugosa with their heady scent and of course Elderflowers, but don’t limit yourself to cordial, you could make a simple ice-cream from Elderflowers and today I baked a rose cake to serve with the ice cream, here is the recipe.
It’s gluten free

ROSE CAKE
15grms of fresh Rosa Rugosa petals,
teaspoon of rose water,
200grams of ground almonds,
4 eggs,
75 grams of unrefined caster sugar,
half teaspoon of gluten free baking powder.

Line the base of a round 20cm cake tin with baking parchment and oil or butter the sides.

Heat oven to 175 degrees cent. If you are using a mixer such as kitchen aid whisk the eggs together but if using a hand held beater you will need to seperate eggs and beat yolks and whites seperately, adding half sugar to yolks and half to whites.The beaten egg white is added last.
Mix baking powder with ground almonds, stir into beaten eggs (or egg yolk) add sliced petals and rose water, spread in 20cm cake tin and bake for about 25 mins till skewer comes out clean. cool and serve with a few fresh berries and crystallized rose petals and ice-crem.

June Forage Dates June 2014

3 dates for June,

Sunday june 1st at Clareen Offaly.

Saturday June 21st at Clareen Offaly.

Saturday June 28th at Clareen Offaly.

Come along and  get to know your hedgerow and how to use wild plants and fungi.

Enjoy a tasty lunch of wild and organic foods.

places limited to allow best experience, 

price 25 Euro per adult.

Book with Mary on 0877418536Image

 

Dates for May 2014

May 4th, Galway slow food event,fully booked.

May 10th, Jamestown nature reserve, Ennisgorthy, Wexford book with Will on (087) 2052266.

May 17th, Offaly forage,book with me on (087) 7418536.

The countryside is ablaze with wild flowers and all kinds of wonderful plants see and enjoy, not to mention the sublime Morels and St.George mushrooms, so come out and enjoy getting up close with your local hedgerow.

 

Apologies

Hi everyone,

so good to have some sunny weather, especially at Easter when so many are lucky enough to have time to be out enjoying it. My Hotmail account has been permanently blocked and as I had emailed many of you from that address my apologies as I have been unable to see messages or reply to them.

If you wish to contact me please send email to contact@wildfoodmary or phone 0877418536,thank you and happy Easter to all.

 

Time to go a gathering April May 2014

New Dates for Walks and lunch,

Fresh green growth is everywhere,spring flowers are appearing, it’s time to go a gathering.If you would like to get to know more about what’s available all around, how to cook it preserve it or even make simple home remedies. Join us for wild food walks and talks, lunch of wild and organic foods included.

Cost is 25Euro per person for walk and lunch.

In order to offer best experience numbers are limited so book early.087/7418536.

Pignut

Pignut / Fairy Potato / Prata Sioga

april-pics-137

 

April 12th Saturday.Offaly.

April 21st Easter Monday. Offaly.

April 26th, Saturday. Offaly.

Dates for May and June to be posted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jew’s ear fungus

Jelly fungusJew’s Ear fungus Hirneola auricula-judea

found growing on dead Elder branch.This little fungus is very popular in Asia and dries very well,  IMG_0470

Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum  is beginning to appear, and good to pick now. Use as a green veg or Miles Irving suggests a risotto of blue cheese and Alexanders, worth a try. I collected lots of seed last year and will sow them in my own patch, a lovely plant to have.

Also still some time to dig and scrub those dandelion leaves for drying, just check leaf shape to be sure you are digging Dandelions.

 

January 2014, not so bleak

It’s a mild wet January night and I’ve been out to see what’s happening in the woods and byways.

To my delighted surprise the hedgehog mushrooms (Hydnum repandum) are still putting out fresh growth, we had many a feed of them throughout Nov and Dec and they have continued, a very tasty little morsel served alone or with steak and pink pepper,Yumm.

Also the Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda) though I found just one on Dec 26th.

You may also find some Jew’s ear fungus (Hirneola auricula-Judae) they often grow on dead or dying Elder trees.

For me the plant of the month has to be Dandelion(Taraxacum officinale)or specifically the root of the plant.

now is the time to dig the roots and dry for Dandelion coffee. dandelions are terrific plants with so many health benefits and roots should be harvested during winter months while all the energy here. As the weather is mild and damp it should be easy to dig them just now.

When you have dug them, scrub well,chop and roast in oven at about 150 degrees centigrade till they are coffee colored, store in airtight container when cool and grind to make coffee.

Dandelions are rich in Iron, Magnesium,Calcium,and other minerals, plus Vitamin  A, B1 B2 B3 B5  C and E.

they relieve degenerative joint disorders, are well recognized as liver and kidney boosters and also reduce blood sugars.Not bad for one very common plant, and that’s not all, we can talk about the leaves and flowers later in the year but here is an interesting snippet from herbalist Isabel Shipard, “dandelion plants are said to breathe out ethylene gas….. by growing dandelion under fruit trees the ethylene gas given off can aid in the early ripening of the crop” now that is something to try.

Also appearing on a wall near you, especially if the wall is lime free is Navelworth (umbilicus rupestris) I love the leaves to munch and they are at their best early in the year.

This year the Chickweed (Stellaria media) has continued to grow fresh all winter, I keep a small jar of pesto made from it in the fridge and whizz up a fresh batch every now and then, it’s another amazing herb, particularly good from anyone with bowel disorders.

So it may be winter, but well worth getting out and getting some fresh greens or Dandelion roots, maybe even a mushroom for supper.

 

 

 

 

 

Gift Vouchers

Now available, WildFoodMary gift vouchers you can now give the gift of the wild food experience,guided walks, workshops and delicious food.

contact 0877418536 or email contact@wildfoodmary.com.

It’s been a great year for wild food, still going. Sat Nov 30th a stroll in Slieve Blooms gave a large haul of Hedgehog mushrooms and amazingly also some Chanterelles.

The Oak leaves are dry and crispy, time to harvest some for wine and at home there is Blackberry wine to bottle, Elderberry syrup to make from frozen juice, Damson Vodka to bottle, Truffles to make from the drunken Damsons and lots lots more.

I have had a fab year, met so many interesting people, thanks for all the emails and interest and wishing each and everyone peace and a happy new year.

Transition Year workshop samples

Transition Year workshop samples

The Brownies

Chocolate and Wild berry Brownies,

Ingredients,

250grms butter,

250grms sugar,unrefined if possible,I use a mix of demerara and caster,

250grms self raising flour,

80grms cocoa powder,

4eggs,

1teaspoon vanilla extract,

half teaspoon baking powder,

200grms of wild fruit jam such as Damson or sloe or fresh berries, blackberries, raspberries,

Set oven to 175degrees centigrade, line a baking pan (25cmx25cm) with parchment or butter well.

Beat butter and sugar together till light and fluffy,

Sieve flour cocoa and baking powder together,

Add to mix in three batches, adding one third flour mix then an egg then more flour till all well mixed,

spread mix in baking pan and add dollops of jam or fruit dividing across surface if brownies, this gives you satisfying sticky bits in brownies, you could also drop in chopped nuts and chunks of white or dark Chocolate.

bake in oven for 12 to 16 mins, checking after about ten mins, you want brownies to be just set not baked “dry”

Brownies will keep 3days in airtight tin if you can keep your hands off them that long.mix 012

 

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 301 other followers