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Where has the past week gone?  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything for a week now – it seems to have flown past.  Mr Rigg and I have just spent the weekend with my family in Gloucestershire, which was lovely. 


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

Although very chilly we had bright blue skies and the autumn colours are started to appear.  On Friday I spent the day working at the National Trust head office in Swindon as part of my volunteer work for them.  I am the Sustainable Food Communication Officer working alongside the Local Food Co-ordinator, and I am really enjoying my work.

So after a great day’s work, my afternoon was made complete by meeting Valentine Warner – who did the fantastic tv show and books called What to Eat Now and What to Eat Now More Please! 

I loved his programmes and the recipe books, so to meet him was just incredible.  He seemed really down-to-earth and interested in the work the National Trust is doing.  What a great man!


Image: Valentine Warner

Saturday morning was spent getting measured for my wedding dress (aah!) which was both exciting and slightly surreal. 

I have already found my wedding dress in a beautiful boutique in Cheltenham but it needs some alterations.  My dress is handmade by an incredible lady who runs the boutique, and is made from 100 year-old handmade lace.  I can’t wait to wear it!


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

In the afternoon my little sister did a photo shoot of Mr Rigg and me picking blackberries – she is going to be taking photographs at our wedding and so she’s practising.  Mr Rigg and I aren’t that comfortable in front of the camera, but she managed to take some lovely shots.


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

Saturday evening we celebrated her 17th birthday with roasted vegetable lasagne and warm apple cake. 

 

Happy Birthday Iz Biz!

The weekend finished with a lovely autumnal walk on Sunday morning with my mom, dad and Alfie the deerhound.  We came across a pear tree that was overhanging the lane, so picked some pears to take home.  Then we discovered a walnut tree! 


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

We gathered pocketfuls of walnuts and once home opened some up to reveal the walnuts inside.  Mom popped one in the oven to roast it slightly and it was delicious!

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Mr Rigg, Buddy and I have been out this past week foraging for wild goodies.  We collected a basket of blackberries, cobnuts/hazelnuts and rosehips. 

I’m not sure whether we’ve been gathering hazelnuts too early – I must look it up.  Our little hazelnut tree/bush in the garden has got a few nuts on it for the first year!  My parents have a huge tree which drops loads of nuts – I’m sure in a couple of weeks I’ll come home with lots.

There are quite a good number of blackberries, although they’re all quite small and I have yet to find one which isn’t sour.  Ours are destined for apple and blackberry pie with apples from the farmer’s market.

And again with the rosehips, not sure if we’re picked them too early, but I want to try making rosehip syrup to make into cordial…turns out the recipe I have requires 800g!  Wish me good luck!

Girl Interrupted Eating is a fantastic food blog and one of my favourites.  On discovery it a month ago, I spent all evening reading back through the blog.  It’s written by Becky who lives in the East Midlands and she posts some delicious recipes.  She’s also often out foraging for wild food – horseradish is her latest find beside the canal!

With summer starting to peak and thoughts of Autumn looming on the horizon, I have been inspired by Becky’s recipe for Blackberry yoghurt cake.

The full recipe can be found here and be sure to add Girl Interrupted Eating to your favourites.

Image: Girl Interrupted Eating

These are the last of the berries from my garden: blackcurrants, raspberries and loganberries.  Although there are a few loganberries still ripening, the raspberries and blackcurrants are all but finished. 

We’re heading off to Yorkshire this weekend to visit Mr Rigg’s family and be joined by my parents.  A restful few days awaits and someone else to do the cooking – and very good cooking it is. 

I will pop this small bowlful of berries into the freezer, and cook with them over the coming weeks (at least that’s the plan!). 

Whilst picking the berries I was dreaming up different ideas of what I could do with them, and my favourite idea so far is a sort of late summer berry crumble or pie

I have spotted blackberries turning deep purple in the hedgerows, so think supplemented with a few of these a crumble or pie would be lovely.  Plus we have a tub of homemade clotted cream ice cream to finish.

Is anyone else starting to feel that summer is waning and autumn is approaching?  Maybe it’s just the warm, wet and windy weather we have had recently in our part of England that has awakened a longing for stews and pies.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope to be back afresh next week to catch up on all that I’ve promised to post – this week has been unnaturally busy and I’ve barely had a chance to breathe.

I can’t believe that just a month ago the weather was mild, the leaves were golden and crisp, and we were out in a city park hunting for mushrooms.  Led by local forager and medical herbalist Jesper Launder(www.jesperlaunder.com), a group of us were diving into bushes (much to the amusement of dog walkers and families out for a walk) and grubbing about in the undergrowth, all for the love of edible wild mushrooms. 

I find that once I get my eyes tuned in, as it were, to seeing mushrooms then I see them everywhere.  But I wasn’t having any luck this particular weekend.  Waist-deep in brambles, surrounded by knee-high nettles, looking in all the inhospitable, unreachable spots that I thought a mushroom would just love to grow in…but nothing.  As a fairly competitive person, I was a bit miffed at other people’s finds, even if they were often inedible. 

Then I came across this…yes, the big white mushroom in the middle. 

my big white mushroom :: Manchester ::

I finally got my mushroom-vision sorted, and they just started popping up everywhere.  I seem to have a knack for finding hidden treasures on the ground, my mother always told me off for picking up ‘rubbish’ from the floor (although once it was a £20!).  Anyway, the ‘big white mushroom in the middle’ is an Asphalt Mushroom, similar to the cultivated mushrooms we find at the supermarket, and so-called because it is often found pushing through tarmac in the most mundane areas of urban sprawl.   Mine (I was very protective of it) was found half buried in soil, hence its rather grubby appearance, and I had to excavate around it in order to remove it.

wild mushrooms :: Manchester ::

As you can see we ended our walk with a couple of basketfuls of some fantastic wild mushrooms – including some Shaggy Ink Caps (which N found) and were delicious fried in butter until golden and crisping round the edges.

What I love about Jesper’s mushroom walk (it’s not the first we’ve been on) is at the end, he sets up some burners and cooks up all the edible mushrooms we’ve foraged with a lot (a lot!) of butter and we all get to taste them.  It’s always a delight to see kids eating things you’re sure under different circumstances they’d turned their nose up at.  But as the most avid hunters and foragers, they forget and just want their share of the prize.

cooking the wild mushrooms :: Manchester ::

The fantastic weather over the weekend meant a perfect opportunity to enjoy the English countryside.  On Saturday we went for a walk along the canal, and picked a meagre amount of blackberries that are currently in the freezer as I can’t dedice what to make with them yet – blackberry junket or hedgerow crumble?

Sunday heralded a local food festival, held in a nearby town (Altrincham) in their covered market – which with the sun blazing down was more like a greenhouse.  It was great to see so many people out and about, enjoying locally made and produced food, and sampling dishes from local restaurants.  We bought our festival currency and scoffed down a vegetarian curry, a chicken tikka wrap, a glass of Spanish beer and two slices of pizza for lunch on Monday.  Sadly, I forgot my camera and haven’t any pictures to show for the fantastic food on offer.

Our favourite local farmers were there – Sue from Little Heath Farm – a table laden with delicious cuts of beef and pork, and a hamper displaying the local veg they sell in their modest farm shop.  The ‘pie man’ as he’s affectionately known in our house – Neil from The Great North Pie Company – a new addition to the local food scene, hadn as usual sold out an hour into the festival and by the time we arrived all that was left was his empty pie stands and a handful of leaflets.

We sampled some freshly squeezed apple juice from a stand celebrating local allotments, fought over the last few crumbs of one of the best Victoria sponge cakes I’ve ever had – from Hulabaloo Cafe – and went home carrying a treasured bottle of local ‘Discover’ apple juice an an ‘escargot chocolat’ – a French breakfast pastry like a cross between a Danish pastry and a pan au chocolat.  De-lish!

As I haven’t any pictures to show of all this loveliness, I shall post a shot of the weekends harvest from the garden – freshly dug potatoes and a variety of tomatoes.

freshly dug potatoes and homegrown tomatoes

freshly dug potatoes and homegrown tomatoes

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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