Archive for the ‘Evan’s Food Blogs’ Category

The Strawberry Tree’s Wild Garlic Pesto

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Macreddin Logo

 It’s March and it’s the start of another year of Wild Foods. Wild Garlic is in huge supply and is available from now up until late April.

Check out our famous Strawberry Tree recipe below.

Wild Garlic Pesto

WHAT GOES IN

50g Fresh Wild Garlic Leaves

25g pine, cashew, hazel or chestnuts…your choice!

200ml Organic Olive Oil or better still Irish Organic Rapeseed Oil

40g grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano or really mature Coolea Farmhouse Cheese

Organic Black Pepper and Sea Salt

HOW IT GOES

Simple recipes are not always the easiest. It’s taken us years to get this just right. Any of the above Nuts, Oils or Cheeses will make a fabulous fresh spring tasting Pesto…we’re just not saying exactly which go into our Strawberry Tree Wild Garlic Pesto!

So, the easy way is to blitz the nuts and half the oil in a food processor and add in the grated cheese. Then add the wild garlic and blitz with the remaining oil to the right consistency. Then simply season, to your taste. As a fresh Oil Dressing, it’ll work, every time

HOW TO FINISH

Pour into sterilised Kilner Jars and keep in the fridge or a really cool, dark pantry. More so than with Basil Pesto, there is a reaction between the Wild Garlic, Oil and especially metal lids…hence the Kilner.

WHAT YOU GET

Is a serious Pesto; a deep dark green Pesto with attitude, a Pesto that will slap you in the face with the unmistakably strong taste of wild natural garlic and its lush woodland dwellings. What you also get is ‘bottled spring and summer’…to give as a present to your friends, if you are able!

If not, use it to impress as a dressing over salads, bake into your favourite bread dough, add to any pasta dish or mix with butter and slip under the skin of a chicken roast…the list goes on, just use your imagination and go Wild!

WILD GARLIC PESTO & LEAVES

WHERE TO FIND GARLIC

It’s a common plant all over the island and it thrives in mixed woodlands and other damp, shady places like country lanes and near streams. In the right place it will be widespread and easy to spot.

 HOW TO PICK

Do not dig up the bulbs and never strip a plant of all its leaves or remove all the flowers or plants in a small area. Pick mid-sized to larger leaves and flower heads that have blossomed. Baskets are ideal for gathering (particularly for the flowers) but if you plan to preserve the leaves choose roomy plastic bags. Pack loosely and do not press down or you may bruise the tender leaves and flowers.

Growing from a surprisingly small translucent bulb, broad, pointed, bright green leaves push up through the soil to gradually form a multi-leaved bunch and are followed by a single flower stalk bearing several small white blossoms. Most years the harvest begins in mid-March and continues until mid-April. This period may vary according to local conditions or a spring that arrives early or late. Usually you can harvest over a month.

Some people prefer the young milder leaves; others wait until the plant flowers, and the flavour is stronger, and gather leaves and flowers at the same time.

The flower of the Wild Garlic is highly identifiable and for the first time forager this is when this wild food should be harvested. Prior to this, it might be mistaken for the leaves of the Wild Lily of the Valley, and other wild plants.  Some of these are, of course not pleasant to eat or indeed poisonous.

A good means of positively identifying Wild Garlic is grinding the leaves between one’s fingers, which produces a pungent garlic-like smell. The leaves of Lily of the Valley come from a single purple stem, while the Wild Garlic leaves have individual green-coloured stems. Remember when our foraging if in doubt don’t…

Return to The BrookLodge Website

Wild Crab Apple & Rose Hip Jelly

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Strawberry Tree Restaurant – September/October Recipe

Harvest time is always precious, whether down on The Farm or along The Hedgerows, The ‘big reap’ really only gets to be ‘BIG’ on certain years when everything falls nicely into place.

There are so many parameters outside our human control; temperatures, humidity and sunshine are natural occurrences that we have to leave in the lap of the gods.

After 3 years of rain and the coldest start in April, the gods and Mother Nature really have smiled on us, at last!  The Farm reap 2013 has been just super but our Wild Foods Harvest has been bumper, the best since 2006.

None, more so than the Crab Apple…we have seen small boughs break this year with the weight of the fruits.

Here’s a recipe that marries two wild members of the Rosacea family together; The Wild Crab and The Wild Rosehip. We love recipes like this…one harvest, three results!

CRABAPPLE1

WHAT GOES IN

1.5 kg Wild Crab Apples, prepared

.5 kg Wild Rose Hips, prepared

Cinnamon or spices, to taste, if you wish

1kg sugar

Water, just enough to get the juices running

HOW IT GOES

Simmer rosehips in a pot for 2 hours, press through a sieve. Chop the apples bring to the boil and simmer separately until soft. Combine the rosehip pulp, crab apples and juice and strain liquid through muslin, without forcing, overnight.

HOW TO FINISH

First, take the clear liquid, place in a pot with sugar on a 50/50 basis (1 Lt. Liquid to 1 Kg sugar) stir and boil rapidly until setting point, 106 degrees. Skim and pour into sterilised jars, cover, and store in a cool dry place.

Second, twist the muslin and force the pulpy mixture through, pour into sterilised jars, cover, and store in a cool dry place.

Third, take the pulp, press through a sieve to remove cores and seeds. Spread this on a dehydrator tray or baking tray. Dehydrate or place on baking trays in as low an oven as possible, overnight or until dry.

 WHAT YOU GET

One set of ingredients, three results and no waste!

A clear Wild Rosehip and Wild Crab Apple Jelly: That works beautifully and simply toasted with a goat cheese, or as an old-fashioned ‘Fruit Butter’ accompaniment with a vintage cheese. Also works a treat with pork, turkey or chicken and makes a great accompaniment with a traditional meatloaf or as the sweet ingredient if you’re making your own muffins.

Also a Cloudy Wild Rosehip and Wild Crab Apple Cordial: Perfect as a chilled cordial with water for the kids instead of the mainstream stuff, just add your own ‘sugar syrup recipe’ to slightly sweeten. Also perfect for the adults as ‘a teaspoon of autumn’ with a glass of bubbly. Chill well after opening or if needed, freeze.

Finally, a Dried Wild Rosehip and Wild Crab Apple Leather: Cut into cubes or thin slices, you can use it with your Granola or Muesli in the morning; check it out in your bread or scone recipes.

Evan & Tim

CRAB APPLE

Photo’s: courtesy of Evan Doyle  

Return to The BrookLodge Website

Pickled Wild Marsh Samphire

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The Strawberry Tree Restaurant – August Recipe

Well, Wild Sea-Marsh Samphire and Wild Sea-Rock Samphire have become so popular recently…being highly identifiable, these plants are now the new fashion! Indeed, it seems that Marsh Samphire has now been domesticated farm-wise and is available in the shops!

However, you can’t beat the taste of The Wild and there are lots of emails and queries coming in to us here daily, as to where it is wise to pick this fabulous Wild Crop.

Here at The Strawberry Tree, we’ve been harvesting Wild Sea-Marsh Samphire for over 25 years…fresh is best but if you’re unsure about where you’ve harvested this fabulous plant, well then pickling is the safest and most traditional way to go.

Evan & Tim Pickled Wild Rock Samphire

 Pickled Wild Marsh Samphire

WHAT GOES IN

500g Wild Marsh Samphire

500ml Organic Red Wine Vinegar

300 g Organic Caster Sugar

Small Organic Onion – sliced finely

One Organic Celery stick – chopped finely

2 Organic Bay leaves

½ tsp Organic Pink peppercorns

½ tsp Organic Fennel Seeds

1tsp Organic Mustard Seeds

½ Organic Red Chilli – Chopped finely

The zest of one Lemon

HOW IT GOES

Twice wash the Wild Marsh Samphire and set aside in a large Container. In a large pot, place Sugar, Onion, Celery, Bay, Spices, Lemon Zest and pour over the Vinegar.  Put on the heat and stir until everything is mixed. Bring to boil and then simmer. Let cool a bit, then poor the Pickle over the Marsh Samphire in the large container.

HOW TO FINISH

Pack the warm Marsh Samphire Pickle into sterilised Kilner Jars, top up with the strained pickle, put the lids back on and it will keep up to 3 months.

WHAT YOU GET

Well of course, pickled Wild Samphire works well with all shellfish, but it is also perfect to keep for when ‘the flats’ start running after September. It is also a perfect treat with honky-heady Irish Blue Cheese or really well, matured Irish Hard Cheeses and finally it is a cool pickle that works really well with slow cooked winter Irish Hill Hogget.

Recipe: Evan Doyle, Tim Daly, The Strawberry Tree Restaurant, 2013  

Photo’s: courtesy of Evan Doyle  

Return to The BrookLodge Website

Inis Turk Delights of Wild Elderflower and Poitin

Monday, July 1st, 2013

THE STRAWBERRY TREE RESTAURANT, JUNE/JULY RECIPE

Well, the Elder is in full bloom, everywhere you look, every ditch and hedgerow is dappled with those wonderful white blossoms. Their evening scent, when it gets really heady and competes with the perfume of The Honey Suckle, is just a treat to engage with.

The Elder Flower is our second big wild food harvest for The Strawberry Tree Kitchens every year. We’ve been busy making, Elder Cordial, Elder Wine, Elder Sparkling Wine, Elder Vinegar and much more, to replenish our Wild Foods Pantry for the year ahead.

Of course, with any bountiful harvest…we also get an opportunity to indulge in whims. Our Wild Elder Flower Fritters have been on the menu for the last few weeks. But so too has this wonderful Summer-Sunshine recipe for our version of Turkish Delight.

Evan & Tim

24A INIS TURK ELDERWHAT GOES IN

1 Cup of Wild Elder Flowers (no stalks)

20g leaf Gelatine

700g Granulated Sugar

130g Corn flour

30g Icing Sugar

Juice of two Lemons

300ml Water

A few drops of Rose Water

3 tbsp Poitín or Vodka

 HOW IT GOES

Soak the Gelatine leaves in a shallow dish of cold water. In a heavy based pan, heat gently and dissolve the Sugar, Lemon juice in 200 ml of water. In a bowl, mix 100 g of Corn Flour 100 ml of water until smooth, stir into the sugar syrup and return the to a low heat.

Squeeze the Gelatine to remove excess water, and then add it and the Elder Flowers to the mixture and whisk until the Gelatine has dissolved. Bring the mixture very slowly to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring almost constantly.

Remove once the mixture has clarified a little and become gloopy. Stir in the Poitín and Rose Water leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Mix 30g of Corn flour with the Icing Sugar, to make a ‘dusting powder’.

Line a shallow baking tin with baking parchment, fill with mixture and dust.

HOW TO FINISH

Leave in a cool place until set. Once cooled, place in the fridge for a few hours until it become slightly rubbery. Cut the Inis Turk Delights into cubes with a knife and dust with the remaining dusting agent. It should keep in the fridge for 3 – 4 weeks.

WHAT YOU GET

Some of us remember the treat of Turkish Delights at Christmas. This is our x-rated adult version! Homage is to Inis Turk and makes absolutely no reference to Poitín that might or might not come from in or around that location. Inis Turk Delights work a treat at the end of dinner with a musky dessert wine.

Recipe: Evan Doyle, Tim Daly, The Strawberry Tree Restaurant, 2013  

Photo’s: courtesy of Evan Doyle  

Return to The BrookLodge Website

A Wild Nettle and Potato Soup

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Well, what a difference a change of wind direction and a week or two makes. Gone are the harsh northerly winds and at last the ground temperature has risen to above the 8 degrees required for growth.

And wow, does nature make up for lost time! We’ve never seen the buds and the blossoms appear so fast. The wild Rowan, Elder, Sloe and more are just bursting. The wild Primrose is splashing its colour everywhere including on our salads and the fabulous nettle plant is at the perfect height for the first harvest.

Here’s one of our recipes for a nettle and potato soup. Perfect time to use up last years potatoes and add a dash of springtime with the freshness of baby nettle leaves…enjoy!

WHAT GOES IN:

100g Wild Nettle Leaves, picked carefully!

10g Wild Garlic Leaves

350g Old Organic Potatoes, roughly chopped

A Large Organic Onion sliced

2 Sticks Organic Celery, chopped roughly

An Organic Leek, sliced

2 Bay leaves

2 pints Organic Vegetable stock

50 ml Organic cream

Organic Olive Oil, Sea Salt & Black Pepper

HOW IT GOES:
In a large pot, heat oil and simmer Onions, Celery and Bay leaves together until soft. Add the Leeks and cook for a few minutes, then Garlic, season lightly, and then add in the Potatoes. Stir everything together clockwise and pour in the Vegetable stock.

Bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer, cook until the Potatoes are soft.

When Potatoes are cooked, add in the Wild Nettles and Wild Garlic, cook for a few minutes, remove from the heat and blitz in a processor until smooth.

HOW TO FINISH:
Pour soup puree back in the pot; add cream to right consistency, warm and season with Sea Salt & Black Pepper as required. Serve with a swirl of Wild Garlic Pesto or cream topped with ground Nutmeg.

WHAT YOU GET:

Is a perfect transition from the heavy winter-warmer style soups to the lighter style of Summer! Flavoured with the last of the Winter leeks, thickened with fabulous floury old Spuds and combined with the first taste of spring with the baby Wild Nettles and the hint of Wild Garlic, this is a perfect early spring soup.

Recipe: Evan Doyle, Tim Daly, The Strawberry Tree Restaurant, 2013 

Photo’s: courtesy of Evan Doyle 

Return to The BrookLodge Website

The Foraging Season has arrived in Macreddin Village

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The Wild Foods Master Class

An opportunity for participants to learn and discover in depth knowledge about Ireland’s abundance of Wild Foods. The Wild Foods Master Class including demonstrations and practicals is the only regular course of its kind in Ireland. The Master Class runs over two days where participants will experience a practical hands-on demonstration by the Chefs of The Strawberry Tree Restaurant. The Class will cover identification as well as instruction on how to gather, cook and preserve using traditional methods such as sugar, oil, drying, vinegars and alcohol.

Class Dates:

March: Tuesday 19th – Fully booked.

Tuesday 26th – Limited availability

April: Tuesday 09th – Available.

Tuesday 30th – Available

More dates to follow.

http://brooklodge.com/foodanddrink/wildfoodsmasterclass.asp

Call The Reservations Team on 0402-36444 or email reservations@brooklodge.com for more details.

Return to The BrookLodge Website

Review Sunday Times 3rd March

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Natural ingredients are everywhere and they’re yours for the taking according to Evan & Biddy’s new book.

See articles attached from Sunday Times March 03rd: Evan talks of when he opened his first restaurant and used wild food ingredients to now in The Strawberry Tree, the ONLY Certified Organic & Wild Restaurant in Ireland. Just this week the chefs of The Strawberry Tree restaurant collected 27 black bags full of wild garlic, all of which will be preserved in jars and used in the restaurant.

Return to The BrookLodge Website

Evan’s Wild Food Book…

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Published by O’Brien Press, Wild Food is a wonderful collaboration between Evan Doyle: The BrookLodge Hotel at Macreddin Village and Biddy White Lennon: food journalist and writer.

The BrookLodge is home to The Strawberry Tree Restaurant. Its Kitchens, have been harvesting and presenting wild foods daily on its menu since 1988 and this year celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary. The Strawberry Tree also hosts Irelands only walk in Wild-Food Pantry for its Guests, but more importantly for its Chefs!

This is the first time, that Evan Doyle has put together the knowledge and the recipes gathered from over a quarter of a century of using these wild foods.

Wild Food is a fantastic new guide to foraging which reveals the secrets of how to identify, pick, preserve and cook the most common wild foods that grow in our hedgerows and woodlands and on our hillsides and seashores. Packed with helpful tips and advice on gathering, preparing and cooking foraged foods, this combined field guide and cookbook was inspired by the growing interest in wild food and foraging in Ireland today and is the perfect introduction to harvesting nature’s bounty.

Includes:

*Where to look, what it looks like, how to pick

*A guide to foraging through the seasons: nettle, dillisk, carrageen, garlic, sea beet, samphire, St George’s mushrooms, sorrel, hawthorn, elderflower, sea lettuce, strawberries, chanterelles, bilberries, field mushrooms, blackberries, damsons, ceps, elderberries, hazelnuts, rose hips, sloes and more

*How to prepare and preserve your foraged finds

* Over 60 delicious recipe ideas, including dozens of unpublished recipes from The Strawberry Tree at The BrookLodge Hotel

* Traditional uses for common wild foods

*  Great gift ideas for family & friends and lots more

We can arrange for one to be sent to you by post, just give us a call at BrookLodge on 0402-36444 and we can pop one in the post to you.

Return to The BrookLodge Website

Turf Roasted Organic Beef Fillet

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

January, like every winter month is all about comfort foods, about real earthy cooking and about savouring those deep, dark winter flavours..this is what we are so good at doing in Ireland and this is what the Menu is about at this time of year in The Strawberry Tree.

Turf roasting, fits this season so well. The turf works ini the sam way as a salt crust does, protecting the food and keeping the moisture in. We first came up with this concept in The Strawberry Tree back in 1995. In the interim, we have developed so may varations, however all centre round this simple recipe and method.

WHAT GOES IN:

1 kg Organic Beef Fillet

80g Brooklodge Organic Steak Rub

2 kg Flaked Turf, further ground with a rolling pin

50 ml Organic Rapeseed Oil

HOW IT GOES:

Portion the beef fillet into two 500g pieces, rub in the BrookLodge Steak Rub and put to one side. Heat a large frying pan with the rapeseed oil and seal the beef on all sides to a nice brown colour.

In a large roasting tray place enough of the moistened turf (about 2 cms) to line the bottom of the dish. Place both beefs on lengthways and cover with the rest of the turf, patting and pressing to form the shape of the meat. Preheat oven to 220C and roast for 20 min to 25 min.

HOW TO FINISH:

When cooked, take out of the turf and rub off with some paper towel to take off most of the excess turf, carve and serve.

WHAT YOU GET:

Is a wonderful, earthy and slightly smokey taste that really suits the beef. What you also get is a pink, juicy roast that allows you to brag about bringing true ‘Irish terroir’ to the kitchen. 

                

The Strawberry Tree Restaurant, 2013. Photo, courtesy Steve Ryan

Return to The BrookLodge Website

The Wild Primrose – ‘Springs Prima Donna’, and other Wild Leaves

Monday, May 14th, 2012

We like this time of year, there are welcome breaks in between the Big Annual Wild Food Harvests. The Wild Garlic has just, been reaped, and The Pantry is packed to the brim with our dark, glossy green pesto.

Now, we find ourselves just waiting for the bee’s to finish cross-pollinating The Elder Flower for the next large Wild Food Harvest, indeed it is virtually upon us. Room has been set aside in The Pantry for Elder Flower wine, champagne, cordial etc and our famous Elder Flower Fritters will do a ‘Ta Dah’ on The Strawberry Tree menu over the next few weeks.

However, this lull provides us with the opportunity to get out foraging along The Long Field for the sheer pleasure of it! All the Wild Greens are up, Wild Wood Sorrel, Penny Wort, Dandelion, Sheep Sorrel, Primrose Leaf as well as the Wild Flowers…The Wild Garlic Flower, Gorse Flower, early Herb Robert and our favourite, The Primrose.

Down on The Farm, the baby greens are not up yet. As with all farmers, Alan and Mark are very careful about when they go to plant their crops. The overall temperature of the soil and much more besides, results in the Farmer choosing the optimum time to sow.

Nature is reckless, though when it comes to Wild Foods. They are already starting to burst into full growth, it happens whenever She wants and with the hardier nature of wild greens…they arrive much sooner than the Farm Harvest.

So, Wild Greens and Wild Flowers are making welcome cameos all over The Strawberry Tree menu, whether as simple raw adornment with our Starters or Main Courses or as wild sauces, wild soups etc and The Wild Flowers have started to slip into our Dessert recipes too.

However, it is our simple Wild Green Salad, which we love best! This is an annual ‘show off’ moment. A ‘Menu Course’ that deserves a better name than just ‘A Middle’…this is a Course that makes a statement to our guests.

All The Wild Leaves, Wild Garlic flowers and Gorse flowers simply tossed in Kitty Colchesters Organic Rapeseed Oil, and topped with The Prima Donna of the Irish Spring, The Wild Primrose Flower. Its mild peppery and lettucy flavour needs no dressing. Just sprinkled and placed over the top and letting them shine, is enough for us!

Here are two of our Strawberry Tree recipes, where we show off the Wild Primrose.

A FRESH WILD LEAF AND PRIMROSE RECIPE

The Strawberry Tree Wild Leaf Salad

WHAT GOES IN

1 Handful Wild Wood Sorrel

1 Handful Wild Penny Wort

1 Handful Wild Dandelion Leaf

1 Handful Wild Sheep Sorrel

.5 Handful Wild Primrose leaf

.5 Handful Wild Garlic Leaf

Quarter cup, Happy Heart, Irish Organic Rapeseed Oil

HOW IT GOES

Simply toss these spring leaves with the rapeseed oil, no need to add seasoning; the lemony peppery taste of the sorrel and pennyworth combined with the pungent flavour of the wild garlic is enough to carry off this salad. Both The Primrose and The Dandelion are really easy for anyone to harvest, if your not sure about the Wild Greens, supplement your salad with some indoor-grown baby greens from your Green Grocer.

HOW TO FINISH

Finish to impress, toss in Wild Garlic flowers, Gorse Flowers, there’s lots out there! Finally, top off with lots of Wild Primrose Flowers.

A PRESERVED WILD PRIMROSE RECIPE

The Strawberry Tree Wild Primrose Flower Jelly

WHAT GOES IN

100 Wild Primrose petals

100 Scented early Garden Rose Petals

600g Sugar

400 mls Water

2tsp Rose Water

Juice 2 Lemons

HOW IT GOES

Put half of wild primrose flowers and all rose petals into a bowl. Sprinkle over half the sugar and crush into flowers, leave over night in the fridge. Pour over boiling water and infuse for a second night.

Strain, combine with lemon juice and remaining sugar, heat gently in a pan to dissolve sugar. Bring to rapid boil until setting point (3-5 minutes or 106 degrees). Remove. As it cools, stir in the rose water. Pour into sterilised Kilner Jars. Just before setting, fold in the remaining fresh primrose flowers, seal.

HOW TO FINISH

Finish with roast baby lamb either in the jus/gravy, finish as an accompaniment to a fresh goats cheese, with any white chocolate dessert or a light sweet mousse or blancmange.

WHAT YOU GET

Is a fabulous tinted jelly, great on its own, but perfect as a gift to your friends or family

Return to BrookLodge website