Cooking with Weeds - food inspiration from edible weeds

Wild Food Recipe Ideas for the Digital Age

The Cooking with Weeds eBooks contain formally laid-out recipes,
while this page gives you a few ideas of the possibilities that wild foods
hold for anyone with a spirit of culinary adventure or curiosity.

lamb's lettuce - a weed in the kitchen LAMB'S LETTUCE & CHILLI VENISON
Venison fillet is cut into thin slices then baked in an oven on kitchen foil till almost dry (a bit like biltong) then served warm on a bed of lamb's lettuce (Valerianella locusta) leaves and sprinkled with red (or green if you prefer) chilli which has been de-seeded and shredded very finely.
using seabeet as a kitchen ingredient SEA BEET AND LAMB CURRY
All the usual Indian spices here - chilli, ginger, cloves, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom - in what might be termed a spicy lamb stew with seabeet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima) as the vegetable green addition. Onion, tomato and yoghurt are also among the ingredient mix, along with a pinch of grated nutmeg used to complement the leaf greens.

The lamb is marinaded in a spice and yoghurt mixture for an hour, then added to fried onions and other spices. A little water is added, plus tomatoes and tomato purée, and the whole lot simmered until the meat is cooked through and tender. Towards the end of the cooking time, shredded seabeet (which has been boiled for 4 or 5 minutes) is added to the pot. Who said edible weeds couldn't be inspiring?

pasta and nettle pesto
Penne (or pasta of choice) is cooked until al dente. Meanwhile, a handful or two of RAW nettle tops are roughly chopped, along with garlic (in the picture the flower buds of the wild garlic, ramsons, [Allium ursinum] were used), some grated parmesan and olive oil are blitzed together.

When the pasta is cooked, drain, and then fold in the nettle pesto - putting back on a low heat for a minute or two so that the mixture warms through. I sometimes serve with flaked, cooked, salmon, or as in the picture with cooked prawns briefly warmed in a sauce of tomato and chilli.

wood ears and saffron cream sauce WOOD EARS IN SAFFRON SAUCE with PASTA
Wood ears (Auricularia auricula-judae) are a type of fungus that grows on the common elder (Sambucus nigra) and have a gelatinous feel to them. When cooked they are delicious.

Wood ears cut into slices are fried in butter along with crushed garlic. After a few minutes add a slug of white wine, a few saffron threads (pre-soaked in warm water), a pinch of cayenne, and then a good spoonful or two of double cream. Reduce the heat and continue cooking until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season to taste. Serve over cooked pasta - penne or tagliatelli are best.

Fish & Thistle Palm Oil Stew PALM OIL, BASS & THISTLE STEW
Thistle stems simmered in water (or stock too) then added to a base of onion, garlic and tomato cooked in a little palm oil with a hint of chilli added. Cubed bass fillet, which has been lightly poached, is added in the last few minutes and folded into the sauce base and allows to stew for a few minutes more. Serve with rice, or if you're not too worried about the very occasional unhealthy treat, sauted potatoes.
Bramble tips cooked Asian-styled ASIAN STYLE BRAMBLE TIPS
A side-dish of bramble tips cooked in a coconut and ginger sauce to which sliced spring onion has been added.
Burdock cooked with deep fried duck breast DUCK & BURDOCK
Deep fried, cubed, duck breast with a Szechuan pepper and 5-Spice coating. Cooked pieces folded into burdock simmered with chicken stock and ginger, with the sauce thickened with water-chestnut flour (though plain cornflour would do).