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.

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

 

The “no need to knead”bread

In response to many requests here is the recipe for “The bread” you will need  an hour and ten mins, an oven which heats to at least 220 degrees centigrade but 250 is ideal. This is a very sticky mix and you don’t want to leave half of it on the tin, so bake on a silicone sheet or parchment liberally sprinkled with flour.

Ingredients,

800grms strong white flour,

2 teaspoons,15grms dried yeast, or two sachets.

1 teaspoon salt,

1 teaspoon sugar,

600mls of water at blood heat.

Use a bowl large enough to allow dough to triple in size. Mix all dry ingredient  together, add 400mls of  water and mix, you want a mix which is too wet to form loaves but not too sloppy, continue to add water and mix ensuring there are no lumps or pockets of dry flour in the mix.

Cover bowl with a damp teatowel or cling wrap and allow to rise for one hour or till 2 and half times original volume.

After 45mins turn on oven and set to 250 degrees centigrade.

Prepare baking sheets with silicone or baking parchment and a good sprinkle of flour.

Flour your work surface, I use sieve to sprinkle flour as it gives nice even layer,

turn out dough onto surface, dough should be like honeycomb.

Sprinkle with light layer of flour and using a dough cutter or big knife with floured blade divide dough into 4, pick up each piece quickly and flip it over onto  baking sheet.

bake in oven for 12mins till nicely browned and risen, I remove from baking trays after ten mins and bake directly on oven shelf for last two mins. The oven should be hot enough to scorch the parchment and excess flour on your baking sheet.

Every oven is different, if at first it’s not perfect don’t give up and try again.

Now here’s the clean up bit, scrape all remaining flour from work surface into your sticky mixing bowl and rub to dry flour

into the bowl to pick up the remains of dough,   this makes cleaning up so much easier as you won’t be clogging sink with gluey mix.

This method works well with wholemeal flour also giving a very tasty loaf and of course you can add seeds nuts herbs to your bread.iphone pics Aug Sept 085

Forage and lunch

Sunday Nov 3rd, Offaly, forage and lunch at my house, Clareen/kinnitty area, a few places left, book on 0877418536, look forward to seeing you, Mary

Hazelnut and Blackberry recipies

Blackberry Friands

Ingredients,

  • 1 cup plain flour,
  • 1 and half cups Icing sugar, sieved,
  • 100grms ground almonds,
  • half cup dessicated coconut,
  • 180grms butter, melted and cooled,
  • 200grms fresh Blackberries, rinsed.
  • 5 egg whites,

Method,

Set oven to 200degrees centigrade,

Bake in  friand pan or muffin pan.

Beat egg whites until peaks form,

Mix all dry ingredients together, then carefully fold in egg whites,

Add cooled butter, put two blackberries into each muffin case, add remainder to mixture and stir in being careful not to overmix so the blackberries remain whole and don’t “bleed” into mix, Bake in oven for ten to fifteen mins till skewer comes out clean, Delicious served with spiced Blackberry jelly, a dollop of icecream and hazelnut crackle.

Hazelnut Crackle

Ingredients

  • 200grms shelled Hazelnuts,
  • 200grms sugar 2 tablespoons water,
  • Baking parchment or silicone baking sheet,
  • A few Borage or other edible flowers(optional)

Heat a heavy pan, and add hazelnuts,

Allow to toast shaking the pan frequently,

Tip out the hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel and wrap the nuts and rub them in towel to remove the outer brown skin, this can stain your tea towel so i use a dark colour towel for this part. Discard skins and chop nuts roughly.Spread nuts on parchment or silicone.

Meanwhile using a heavy based sausepan dissolve the sugar in the water without stirring, shake pan now and then,

Continue to heat till the sugar caramelises and turns golden brown, pour the syrup over the nuts, add some flowers or petals or even chopped Rosemary and allow to set, break into shards and use to decorate deserts or ice cream

Blackberry friands with hazelnut crackle, yummm

Blackberry friands with hazelnut crackle, yummm

Eve and Titi picking blackberries

Eve and Titi picking blackberries

Julie's dancing flower fairy

Julie’s dancing flower fairy

Heyday of the year

hello again,

I’ve been quiet for a while only because I’m soooo busy, up at 7 to hunt out those late mushrooms and grab the last of the fat juicy Elderberries, then home to dry, juice, jam and pickle till the wee hours.

There’s not much use gathering stuff if you don’t use it.

Now the larder shelves are filling nicely, there are some “brews”bubbling and burping quietly in kitchen, the living room is festooned in drying mushrooms and my fabulous Fisher Paykel stove is fired up with big pots and 3ovens all going.

There is slow roasted venison with spiced Blackberry jelly for dinner, mushrooms on homemade toasted bread for lunch and Wild berry syrups to go with my Oaty crumble for breakfast.

Soon things outdoors will calm down as it gets colder and I can dig some Dandy roots for coffee, bottle some really good booze and begin thinking “Hampers”

Winter will I hope bring some Blewits which I love and for me it’s also time to make Elderflower Delight from Elderflower essence saved earlier and truffles with Vodka Damsons and fudge with chocolate or wild mint.

It’s been a great year so far, I’ve met lots of new people, traveled just enough, picking up recipes and ideas along the way and spent many many hours among friends and fellow foragers, thank you all and you will be in my thoughts as I pack and bottle, bless you all and keep in touch.

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Transition Year workshop samples

Transition Year workshop samples

Martin will be glad to try the Damson Vodka soon

Martin will be glad to try the Damson Vodka soon

Transition Year workshop samples

Transition Year workshop samples

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Field mushrooms October 12th and still going strong,

Field mushrooms October 12th and still going strong,

lovely Slieve bloom Ceps

lovely Slieve bloom Ceps

Hazelnuts and Blackberries gathered on late September stroll, thanks Eve Titi, Maja Martin for help and great day out

Hazelnuts and Blackberries gathered on late September stroll, thanks Eve Titi, Maja Martin for help and great day out

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