Food for free - Friends meet for dinner with a difference at the home of a keen forager

PUBLISHED: 00:16 30 December 2010 | UPDATED: 18:22 20 February 2013

Foragers Peter Banks and Stephanie Moon

Foragers Peter Banks and Stephanie Moon

Friends meet for a dinner party with a difference at the home of a keen forager

Food for free

Friends meet for a dinner party with a difference at the home of a keen forager

Grow it, pick it, cook it that could be the Peter Banks family motto; not a bad one at all in this age of austerity. Its food for free, said Peter who gave his first foraging dinner party at home in Markington, near Harrogate.
It was a doubly special event because the food was prepared and cooked by award-winning chef Stephanie Moon with the help of two students, Chris Root and Daniel Pawson from Leeds City College, where she teaches.
And among the dinner guests was Yorkshire foraging expert Chris Bax.
The whole idea of this dinner was to bring people together to eat food that had travelled zero food miles to get here, said Stephanie whose face will be familiar to readers not only because she is a winner of the Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards Chef of the Year but she is often seen cooking on television as well as at events around the county.
She also devised and introduced at Rudding one of the first menus in Yorkshire to include the miles food travelled before being served.
Literally the lions shear of the food here tonight has come from Peters garden or from Markington village such as the pigeon and the eggs. All the herbal teas lemon balm and mint served after dinner, came from the garden.
It is a great way too of teaching the students to think about using produce from the garden rather than buying it from a supermarket.
Earlier in the day Peter, who is managing director of Rudding Park in Harrogate and Stephanie who is also consulting chef at the hotel, foraged for food in the grounds of Markington Hall. Peter, a trained chef, and his family live in a wing of the Grade II listed house which was once the home of anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce.
They gathered fruits and vegetables including apples, potatoes, parsnips, beetroot and chick weed. More ingredients
such as pumpkin, rabbit and
crayfish came from the Rudding Estate. Pheasant and pigeon were shot locally.
Stephanie improvised for those who were shy of eating game and prepared a delicious beetroot risotto and a rather fancy omelette using local eggs which meant everyone enjoyed foraged food.

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Locally shot pigeon, Markington beetroot risotto and foraged chick weed from Markington Hall

Fish and rabbit course
Rudding Park Estate rabbit, pumpkin puree (picked that afternoon) and crayfish with Wharfe Valley rapeseed oil and foraged wood sorrel.

Main course
Markington pheasant, confit leg ball, garden parsnip puree, local honey roasted, freshly pulled out of the ground potatoes and pan juices sauce.

Textures of Markington apples quince with local hens egg meringue, steamed apple pudding, apple puree, apple crisps and apple compote all made with Markington apples.

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