Helena Garcia’s Yorkshire foraging recipes

PUBLISHED: 14:45 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:04 26 May 2020

Nettle soup

Nettle soup

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Great British Bake Off finalist Helena Garcia has been foraging in the Yorkshire woodland to create some lockdown recipes

Nettle soup

Nettles are an incredible source of nutrients. They are abundant in woodland and parks, even in gardens and they are also easily recognisable. Nettle tea is the most common way to use them but they’re totally versatile and can be used in baking and/or cooking too.

It is best to wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting stinging nettles. Keep the gloves on while you’re preparing the nettles as well. The best time to harvest them is while they’re still small, no more than a foot tall, because that’s when the leaves are the most tender. Use scissors to snip off the top 10cm of the nettle plant.

Ingredients

60g nettle leaves

2 tbsp olive oil

A couple celery sticks, chopped

2 banana shallots, chopped

450g red potatoes, peeled and chopped

1.5 ltr chicken or vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

2 springs of thyme

Salt and pepper

Single cream to serve

Method

Using gloves, remove the nettle leaves from the stems and wash in a colander. Set aside.

Fry the onions and celery on a large pot over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, stock and bay leaf and thyme. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the nettle leaves.

Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, around 15 minutes, adjusting seasoning to your taste.

Let the soup cool slightly, the transfer to a food processor or blender and purée.

Serve with a swirl of cream and decorate with some edible flowers.

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Dandelion infused ice-cream

I love the gentle floral taste of this ice-cream. Dandelion is seen by some as a weed, but to me, it radiates the essence of summer! Make sure to pick dandelions from grass that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.

Ingredients

360ml double cream

360ml single cream

175 grams honey

6 egg yolks

60 grams dandelion petals

Pinch of salt

Method

1. Put both the single and double cream in a medium saucepan, add the honey. Add the dandelion petals and a pinch of salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and leave to cool for 30-40 minutes. Leave the dandelion petals to infuse the cream.

2. Pour the cream through a sieve to remove the flowers and return the pan to the hob.

3. Add the egg yolks to the pan over low heat, and slowly add the infused cream while whisking constantly. Keep whisking until it forms a custard that covers the back of a wooden spoon.

4. Add the custard to a container with a lid and freeze for 2 hrs, until partly frozen.

5. Remove from freezer and whisk again with an electric whisk and refrigerate until fully frozen.

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Edible flower biscuits

During lockdown, I’ve been embracing my garden like no other time before. Most of us will have a selection of flowers in the garden without realising they’re edible. Violets, roses, lavender, lilacs, geraniums, pansies, calendulas… the list is endless. Using these flowers is the perfect way to decorate and give a colourful infusion to plain butter cookies.

Ingredients

180g plain flour, more for dusting

½ tsp baking powder

115g salted butter, at room temperature

100g caster sugar

1 large egg yolk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

A selection of edible flower heads, parsley, thyme or small sage leaves

Method

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue mixing.

Slowly incorporate the flour into the butter/sugar mixture and mix until fully incorporated.

Wrap the dough in cling film, flatten into a disc and refrigerate for 20 minutes while you prepare the flowers.

Remove flowers from stems and lay out a selection of what you would like to use, some full heads and some separate petals, leaves etc.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

Roll out your dough onto a lightly floured surface to a ½ cm thickness.

Cut out circular biscuits (or whichever shape you’d like) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Press the prepared flowers on top. You can brush with a little water if they don’t stick.

Bake for 7–9 minutes or until the edges start browning.

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