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Blackberry Season: Apple and Blackberry Crumble Recipe

This is the ultimate treat any time of the year. It is warm, sweet and super delicious. Try our homemade apple and blackberry crumble for the perfect taste of Autumn.

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Crumble Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 70g unsalted butter

Fruit Mix

  • 300g Apples
  • 3 cups of wild blackberries
  • 30g of demerara sugar
  • 30g of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the crumble:

Be prepared to get your hands dirty here. Add the flour to a large bowl. Cut the butter into small squares and add to the same bowl. Wash your hands and dry them. Now put your finger tips into the bowl and begin to crumble your mixture. The mix should look like small pieces of soft granola. If you over mix, it will become light and fluffy. You don’t want this to happen so avoid rubbing too much. You want some bigger crumble bits to go alongside the chunky apple.

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For the fruit layer:

Carefully peel and chop apples into small and big chunks. Don’t worry about perfect sizes, this recipe is supposed to be messy. Enjoy chopping up your apples into different sizes. Put your freshly picked blackberries into a small bowl and wash them gently under cool water. Add the apples to a pot and add a small small of water. Leave them to stew for 5 to 10 minutes. Now add the blackberries. They will quickly stew into a nice juice Slowly pour 1 cup of sugar over the mixture. Leave them to stew on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Now you are ready to put your crumbly dessert together. Start by pouring the Apple and blackberry mix into an oven dish. Now sprinkle your crumble over the top. Place the dish in your heated over for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Delicious!

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Reconnecting with our food for Sustainable Living

With all of this talk of Climate change it is easy for media outlets and studies to play the blame game. However as we are all to blame then isn’t it better that we begin to tackle the issues resulting in all of environmental destruction we see around us together. We can’t go back in time to change our farming processes, our over reliance on the meat industry, our greed for fossil fuels and our refusal to see the signs from natural disasters around us but we can work towards a new value system.

I hate that sustainable living has become a buzz word today. We are all capable of getting back to nature and that is called living. Taking a walk in the woodlands, breathing in the fresh air, getting to know the plants around us and how our ancestors used those plants to feed themselves in the past is a sustainable way forward. If we reach into our childhood curiosity we can find creative solutions and abandon our over reliance on convenient produce that is contributing to the damages that we see in the environment today.

Foraging is one way that we can reconnect with the land. Taking all of it’s principles and building a brighter future.

A special UN and IPCC report on the impact of land management practices on our ever changing climate is significant. Food production, consumption and waste are three key areas that we must tackle to prevent further degradation of our landscapes. A collective approach is always best and we can by simply learning about the foods we eat and valuing where that food comes from. Here are five food choices that will help us to step away from materialism and towards sustainable living.

  1. Admire and Value Nature

It is easy to forget to stop and smell the roses. Many of us spend our days rushing from here to there or cramming into a train to get from A to B.

2. Enjoy your local farmers market

Visiting a local farmers market is always a treat. Not only does a market offer fresh produce and seasonal foods, it is a place that values community. Hang around, have a coffee, talk to the vendors and get some tips.

3. Love Fruit

Fruit is easy to ignore when you reach the supermarket because it is usually positionned right beside rows of carb deliciousness and shelves of nuts that call for our attention but never underestimad the juiciness of a Spanish orange. Organic fruit or freshly picked fruit is packed full of flavor and goodness.

4. Know where your food is coming from

Taking time to learn about where our food comes from may be the biggest way that we can contribute to the environment today.

5. Go Foraging with Friends

Last but certainly not least forage with friends. Joining a local or international foraging tour will open your eyes, give you plenty of food for thought and give you a taste of the last around you.

This is not an exhaustive list but rather some easy tips to start thinking about your daily food habits in a mindful way. We hope this gives you some food for thought and look forward to living closer with nature in a sustainable world.

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6 Wild Edible Plants found by the Sea

When people think of Coastal Foraging they often only consider the varieties of seaweeds and shellfish on offer but believe us, the wild edible plants growing by the seaside will give you plenty of food for thought. Conditions by the coast can make it difficult for some commonly found plants to survive. Strong winds and high tides are no match for these sturdy plants.

Here are just a few of our favourite wild edible plants to forage for by the sea:

Sea Beet

First and foremost is the dark green wild plant of Sea beet. This healthy green will greet you alongside sandy and rocky beaches across Europe. Like spinach the leaves can be added to stir-fry’s, used as a bed for your fish dishes and are a delicious vitamin full addition to your breakfast smoothies.

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Ox Eye Daisies

You can’t miss this friendly edible plant. In the past Ox Eye Daisies were used to treat coughs, asthma, ulcers and to clear sinus problems. It is a diuretic and a tonic. The flowers can be pickled or covered in batter and the young leaves can be used in a summer salad.

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Sea Radish

Looking for a homegrown supply of tasty greens to add to salads and dishes than sea radish is a great alternative source of greens that can be foraged all year round. This yellow headed grows in coastal areas and shines brightly in the summer months. The leaves work well in pesto recipes and the small pods are a great addition to summer salads.

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Yarrow

Be careful not to confuse yarrow for other poisonous plants such as hemlock. Both have white heads for flowers but there are two distinguishing features of Yarrow to look out for. First the glimpses of yellow in the flower heads and next the unmistakable fern-like leaves. They usually grow in groups and pop up in wasteland, countryside trails and along coastal pathways.

Sea Rocket

This coastal friend is a member of the mustard family. With great amounts of Potassium, calcium and Vitamin B this plant can provide a welcome boost to the immune system and all parts of the sea rocket plant are edible. This wild plant holds water and its hard, fleshy leaves make it easier to withstand any harsh coastal climate.

Herbalists love to speak about the health benefits of this common wild plant.

We hope that you enjoy discovering these wild edible plants and find others to add to your favourite dishes. The great thing about foraging is that the land changes with the seasons are there are different plant varieties to be discovered throughout the year.

To join us on on our food and foraging adventures please contact a member of the team.

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Blackberry Season: Blackberry and Banana Smoothie Recipe

Detox and Delicious!

This blackberry and banana smoothie is the perfect treat at the end of your foraging outings during the blackberry picking season. Packed with vitamin C, high in fibre and full of anti-oxidants you will have a refreshing fruit drink full of health benefits. Plus, the recipe is super easy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Blackberries
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 cup of Natural Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of Natural Honey

Instructions

Wash your blackberries once you have picked them to remove any insects.

Peel the banana and mash it lightly with a fork.

Put the berries, banana, yogurt and 1 large teaspoon of honey into a bowl. Use a hand blender or any blender to mix the ingredients.

Enjoy! To learn more about our foraging adventures please contact the team. Happy Blackberry picking all.

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Blackberry Season: Blackberry and Basil Salad Recipe

As foragers we love to discover rare plants and wild edibles all year round but the months of August and September are extra special. These are prime harvest months in Europe. Vines are weighed down with grapes and bushes are filled to the brim with ripe berries ready to be picked.

To celebrate one of our favourite times of the year when all of the blackberries start to appear on the bushes we will be telling you our top blackberry recipes each week for the next six weeks.

We will start with a blackberry and basil salad that we recently tried out for friends.

I can safely say that the mixture of sweet and fresh ingredients makes this wild salad recipe extra special.

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INGREDIENTS

Fresh wild blackberries
1/2 red Onion finely sliced
Foraged Seabeet and Lettuce Leaves
Feta Cheese
Toasted Almonds
Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pick the berries and basil leaves. This is the most important part of the preparation. There are plenty of berries around at the moment. Head to the countryside or a nearby park with your foraging basket and enjoy spending time with nature. We grow basil at home so it’s easy to pick off our leaves.
  2. Gather the other ingredients from your local store and wash all of the greens and berries.
  3. Carefully slice half an onion into thin slices
  4. Cut the almond nuts in half and toast them lightly in a hot pan.
  5. Cut the feta cheese into cubes.
  6. Mix all of the ingredients in your salad bowl
  7. Sprinkle a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar over the top.

Fresh, seasonal and super tasty this is the perfect addition to any dinner party or weekend brunch.

We have some delicious blackberry recipes to share in the coming weeks so stay tuned and look forward to hearing some feedback. If you have any top berry recipes to share please get in touch.

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4 Wild Food Breaks for Autumn

Autumn is the time when the leaves start to dance. Colours of orange, red and brown mix with the deepest green to signal that a new season is here and everything is about to change. Taking a wild food break in Autumn can be a mouth-watering and eye opening experience.

The ground has spend the year soaking up with moisture and sun and now it is ready to shed its very best produce. From berries to nuts, the woodlands are alive with activity. Here are four delicious wild food breaks to enjoy in the Autumn:

A Taste of Ireland: Go Foraging with Friends

The Island of Ireland comes alive in the Autumn months.We offer a wide range of wild food day tours on our weekly foraging adventures but we also have a unique week long trip that brings you from coast to coast in Ireland. If you want to get a real taste of the Irish landscape we are here to help you make that dream possible. From foraging for cockles and mussels to creamy pints of Guinness join us in the Emerald Isle and get back to nature.

TOUR DETAILS

Join the Truffle Hunters in Italy

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There is no better time to experience the fruits of Italy then in the Autumn months when the vines are heavy with grapes and the woodlands are stuffed full of mushrooms. Our foraging friends in Northern Italy know all of the secret locations to bring you Truffle hunting and give you a true taste of the Italian lifestyle. Pizza, pasta and shavings of fresh truffles, what more could you ask for on a foodie holiday.

TOUR DETAILS

Sample the Grapes of the Douro Valley

Did you know that the Douro Valley is one of the most under rated wine regions in Europe. It is renowned for its vinho verde but it also has some crisp whites and reds for you to try out. The scenery in this area with leave you breathless. Grab a picnic and let our expert wine lovers guide you on the ultimate wine filled adventure.

TOUR DETAILS

Soak up the sunshine in the Algarve

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Another region of Portugal where the sun always shines is the beautiful Algarve. In southern Portugal we can bask in the sunshine all year round. We will bring you on a wine making excursion that will give you life-long memories. This is suitable for groups of up to 10 people. Learn about the local food traditions and how to make your very own vino in the heart of Europe’s most stunning landscapes.

TOUR DETAILS

For more information on any of our wild food experiences for Autumn please contact one of our travel experts.

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DIY Smudge Sticks with Foraged Herbs

Smudging is a custom that originated in the Americas. Indigenous tribes used the ritual of smudging to cleanse the air, banish negativity and bring positive energy into an area. It is also known as a Sacred smoke bowl blessing. Yes, you can use plants to drive away negativity.

We do not follow the indigenous tribes rituals but it does inspire us to create our own version of smudge sticks for individual use. If you have had a stressful day then a little bit of smudging will go a long way to creating a relaxing, peaceful environment.

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How to make a homemade Smudge stick

  1. Gather wild herbs. Sage is commonly used but other wild plants such as spruce sprigs, thyme, rosemary, lavender and rose flowers work well.
  2. Bundle the herbs and tie them tightly at the bottom.
  3. Wrap the string around the herbs, criss-crossing the string to ensure the herbs stay in place.
  4. Cut off any excess string.
  5. Now it’s time to light your herbs. Leave it burn for a couple of seconds before blowing out the flame. Now use the smoke to cleanse the air.
  6. Use a heat resistent bowl filled with a cup of sand to distinguish the herbs.

Foraging for Smudge stick ingredients

Keep in mind that some herbs work well together and compliment each other. Lavender and Sage, Mint and Tarragon or Pine and Rose work well. At different times of the year there will be smudge stick ingredients available.

Tips for using Smudge sticks

Be careful when lighting any herbs of plants indoors. Always keep a bowl of sand near the smudge stick. Never leave a smudge stick unattended. Don’t over smudge.

We hope that you enjoy using your smudge sticks. To join us on some wild herb foraging adventures please get in touch with a member of our travel team.

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3 Medicinal Plants to Help with Insomnia

Are you feeling tired all of the time? Do you suffer from insomnia? Sleep deprivation can be a common occurrence in our busy lives today. It is well documented that sleep loss disrupts our attention span and causes emotional stress. Symptoms include mood swings, memory loss, lack of motivation, increased appetite and irritability.

Ongoing lack of sleep can have negative effects of your immune system which means it could take you longer to recover from common illnesses.

Our first recommendation is always to take a long walk in a natural environment. Join one of our day tours in nature or look for your nearest park or coastal town, walk slowly, breathe in the fresh air and allow yourself to become immersed in the nature around you. Try to leave your phone at home. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night try using some relaxation techniques, listen to soothing music and sounds.

Here are three of our favourite wild plants that are known to help relax the mind and help you to get a better nights sleep.

Lavender

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Lavender is treasured for it’s scent around the world, from perfumes to cleaning products to beauty products. It can be found growing throughout Europe. The lavender plant has multiple varieties. Studies have found that lavender can aid sleep through aromatherapy. To get a more peaceful nights sleep try placing a small bunch of lavender in your pillow case or lighting a lavender scented candle for a short time before going to bed.

Wild Chamomile

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Chamomile is one of the most popular wild plants, used by herbalists and foragers around the world. It’s daisy-like flowers are easy to recognise. Both the flowers and leaves are edible. The dried flowers contain terpenoids and flavonoids, which are known to help with insomnia, anxiety and relaxing the muscles.

For a better nights sleep make a simple tea from the flowers or put a bunch of chamomile under your pillow and enjoy the scent until it rocks you to sleep.

Valerian

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When many people hear the word today they may think of House Velaryon from Game of Thrones but long before Game of Thrones came to our T.V. screens the Valerian Plant was being used for medicinal purposes. This pretty plant prefers the sunshine and you will find it along the coastlines. The ancient greeks used to hang valerian in their homes to keep out evil spirits. When most people think of the Valerian plant they think of sleep as it is the most commonly used over the counter sedative in Germany. It is also said to reduce anxiety, stress and migraines. It contains calcium, iron and magnesium.

When preparing Valerian to aid sleep it is best to use the root of the plant and simmer is gently in water until it reaches boiling point. Drain away the root and sip on the remaining liquid. You can also use it as a foot bath and this is said to aid insomnia. Simply take a bundle of the herb (flowers and leaves), wrap it with string and add it to a basin of warm water, allow your feet to soak in the mixture for ten minutes. Let us know if this works for you.

These plants are readily available throughout Europe. They may be more obvious in the late spring and early summer months when the flowers start to bloom but the leaves can be just as effective.

If you are suffering from insomnia for a prolonged period of time than it is a good idea to see your doctor for recommendations.

For more information on any of our wild foraging tours please contact one of our travel experts.

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9 Must Try European drinks

We could spend all year talking about the many delicious wines to try when you are visiting Europe but what other iconic European drinks should you try out? We have a few firm favourites that you should try out when you are visiting different part of Europe. 

Irish Coffee, Ireland

You will find this heartwarming drink throughout your travels in Ireland. Often featured on dessert menus it offers a taste of strong Irish whiskey with a creamy touch. Visit the Emerald Isle any time of the year to sample this classic cocktail. Contact one of our team for some insider tips and Irish food adventures

Prosecco, Italy

Famous now though out the world as the affordable version of champagne, this refreshing sparkling wine was first made in the region of Veneto, Italy.

Aperol Spritz

The south of France is bursting with young celebrities from around the world and this iconic bright orange drink is a classic beach cocktail. It is light, refreshing and the bright orange colour cries for some fun in the sun. Live the life of luxury sitting in a beach bar of the French Riviera with a glass of Aperol. 

Port, Portugal

Exclusively made from grapes in the Douro Valley, port is the drink of Porto. It is often served after dinner and tastes like a sweet wine. Vintage Ports are collectors items and if you are visiting the UNESCO listed region of the Douro you will have the perfect opportunity to taste this treat. Join our local experts to discover the Douro.

Champagne, France

Strictly made from grapes in the region of Champagne France, this high brow drink is the perfect excuse to get a taste of the high life. As it was associated with royalty in the 17th century it never lost its stature. Spraying champagne is a symbol of celebration today.

Limoncello

A popular lemon liqueur this fruity drink is a popular ingredient in some tasty cocktails and if you plan a visit to Southern Italy you are sure to find limoncello on the menus. You will also find this zesty drink if you plan an adventure in Puglia.

Mulled Wine

First discovered in Rome this tasty winter drink has become a staple across many colder countries and is a treat at Christmas time where you will find market stalls filled with mulled wine. Recipes vary from country to country but the core ingredients include red wine, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and orange zest.  Explore the magical Christmas markets in Europe to taste the best mulled wines.

Pear Cider, France

The landscapes of Normandy are filled with fruity goodness to be explored and anyone who visits the region should try the famous pear and apple ciders, also known as the eau-du-vie or water of life. Calavados and the surrounding areas support more than 43,000 farms today. Join us in the Orchards of France to discover the delicious pear cider.

Sangria, Spain

Last but not least head to Valencia in the south east of Spain for some of the best Sangria the world has to offer.

This list is by no means complete but it will give you a taste of what is on offer. If you know of more drinks we should be trying out please feel free to give the team some insider information. 

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Fruit Picking Calendar

For those of us who love spending time in nature, getting to know the local produce and getting back to the land then it is useful to know what fruits are ready to harvest and when the fruit harvests take place in Europe. See our fruit picking calendar below:

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With every season comes a new type of fruit to enjoy. In winter the orange trees are heavy with ripe pickings, in Spring the cherries start to brighten the trees, in summer apples are waiting to be plucked and in Autumn the berries are alive and woodlands are bursting with fresh fruit that you can taste and smell from near and far.

For more information on any of our fruit filled adventures please contact our travel team.

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