Guest blog by Cracking Good Food Director Adele Jordan
This week we attended a conference for Let Nature Feed Your Senses, a Big Lottery Fund project run in partnership between LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and Sensory Trust. This engages people with nature, food and farming on a network of farms and nature reserves across England. The project is working with people who currently cannot or do not access the countryside because of age, ability or social situation. The conference was based at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, and the college allowed us to use their food technology rooms to run our sessions, which meant donning such things as white coats and hair nets… something we’re not used to!
Cracking Good Food ran two sessions twice, with Beth cooking up sweet and savoury pancakes and Jesper cooking up a tasty soup using greens he foraged from the college grounds that morning.
We made all shapes and sizes of sweet and savoury pancakes together with mouth-watering fillings like blackberry and raspberry cranahan made with oatmeal, cream, honey and whisky layered up between latticed pancakes (ingenious!), pancake parcels with pears cooked in butter served with walnut and blue cheese sauce, and mini pancakes like blinis topped with delicious rhubarb cooked in the juice of freshly squeezed oranges. Absolutely delicious. I don’t think anyone realised quite how versatile pancakes could be!
Jesper showed everyone how easy it is to cook up a foraged abundance of nettles, fat hen, chickweed and comfrey leaves. The soup was so lovely it had everyone gasping in amazement. Who’d have thought it could have tasted so good? The best bit was how he showed everyone how to pop Himalayan balsam seeds from the highly invasive non-native species, pretty much seen everywhere now (with the pink flowers always close to river beds). By dry roasting these seeds and scattering them over your soup, it not only makes for an incredibly tasty, nutritious nutty flavour, but most importantly stops them from germinating to make yet more plants! Members of The Wildlife Trusts were particularly keen to roll that idea out!
More pictures on our Facebook page soon!