Friday, 10 March 2017

Wild Mushroom Tart

200g All Butter Puff Pastry
400g Wild Mushrooms, roughly sliced (if using dried, re-hydrate in boiling water for 30 mins)
Quater pint of Chicken Stock
50ml Double Cream
1 x Onion (medium) sliced & chopped fine
2 x Garlic Cloves crushed/chopped fine
Fresh Thyme
Salt & Pepper

1. Place mushrooms, onion & garlic in a pan, add chicken stock, double cream & simmer gently 20-30 mins

2. Remove half the quantity of mushrooms/onion/garlic with a slotted spoon and put to one side in a small sieve and leave to drain over a bowl.
3 Blend the remaining mushroom/onion/garlic/stock & over a low heat reduce moisture content until you end up with a thick-ish paste.
4. Roll out the puff pastry to a thickness of approx 1.5mm, crimp edges to form a small wall, spread the mushroom paste all over & top with the reserved chopped mushrooms, season with salt, pepper and thyme, brush the pastry edges with egg yolk and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 celsius for approx 20-30 mins.

Autumn & Everything is Fungi-Dory

25ml Chanterelle Infused Botanist Gin
25ml Four Fungi Schnapps

Dash of Bog Myrtle Bitters
12.5ml Rowan Berry Verjus
Carbonated Cep Tonic Water or standard Tonic Water
Slice of Fresh Porcini or a Porcini Crisp

I'm really pleased with this one, deep, earthy mushroom notes, gin infused herbs and spices with a vibrant yet bitter Rowanberry Verjus.

Japanese Knotweed or Rhubarb & Sweet Cicely infused Liquer

10 Fresh young tender stalks of Japanese Knotweed or 4 Stalks fresh very Young Rhubarb
6-8 Sweet Cicely Stems and Leaves
1 Cinnamon Stick
100g Honey
Juice of 1 Orange
Sugar to taste (I prefer to do this after de-canting)

Wash and chop the Japanese Knotweed or Rhubarb and Sweet Cicely. 

Place in a Kilner jar. Add all other ingredients and leave for 3 weeks, shake jar every couple of days. 

Strain through doubled muslin cloth. Add sugar to taste. 

Bottle or put back in jar. Rhubarb liquer meets Ouzo and quite a kick to boot!

The addition of japanese knotweed injects a golden orange hue. Held up to the sunlight it looks like liquid sunshine.

Toasted Hazelnut Liquer

Dreamy. Delicious.

Approx 300g Wild Hazelnuts, shelled
70cl bottle Vodka
Nip of Brandy
Excellent quality vanilla extract (or vanilla pod)

Place hazels on a baking tray and toast in oven, 10/15 mins @180 deg C. Remove half way through and split open. Pop in oven until golden/lightly toasted. 

Remove from oven and take three quarters off the tray, place the remaining quarter back in oven and roast until dark brown. 

Remove and leave to cool, place in a kilner jar, add vodka, brandy and leave 3-4 weeks. 

Strain through double/triple muslin cloth into a clean vessel. 

Dissolve a quantity of sugar in a small amount of water (according to personal taste) & gradually add to the strained vodka, once you've found the perfect balance add vanilla extract. I've taken this on walks and events and some have literally gone 'nuts' about it!

Mushroom Vodka

If you love wild fungi & you love a bit o booze, you'll love this. We supped this as we wondered the woods, we could see the mycelium running... The perfect tipple while on the forage for wild mushrooms. Chaga & Turkey Tail add medicinal qualities.

70cl Vodka
Penny Bun
Turkey Tail

Break chants & penny bun into smaller pieces, add a quantity of finely chopped Chaga, Turkey Tail and place in a kilner jar, cover with vodka & let the magic happen.

The Scrump

25ml Botanist Gin
25ml Wild Vermouth
50ml Apple Verjus
Tonic Water (optional)
Slice of De-hydrated Apple
Foraged Straws optional but Angelica works well

Newton would have been knocked silly by the amount of apples dropping to the floor. The perfect drink at the end of a blustery, fun day of apple scrumping. 

Adding freshly obtained Apple Juice (Verjus) adds extra layers of satisfaction. 

Locating yourself beneath your favourite apple tree adds a nice ambience to the supping occasion - hard hats are optional! 

Different apple fruits lend a variety of dimensions with regards to flavour & taste - the combination game awaits. Try popping a couple of dry, crushed Hogweed seeds, a cracking combo :)

Check the Botanist Gin for more inspiring recipes:

Blackthorn Pacheran

Wow! A gem of a recipe originating from the Basque region of Spain. 

I tweaked a version John Renston of Forage London popped online - cheers John. 

Created using a aniseed liquor such as Ouzo, Raki, Pernod infused with a range of herbs & spices; chamomile flowers, cinnamon stick, coffee beans & orange peel. 

John adds a lovely vanilla twist in his versionpod. I was fortunate enough to have a bottle of Japanese Knotweed & Sweet Cicely Liqueur on my shelf, so used that as the 'aniseed' element (recipe further down page). 

Into a kilner jar add: 500ml Vodka & 500ml Aniseed liqueur, 
350g Sloes, 
Peel of 1 Orange, 
Chamomile Flowers, 
Fresh Ground Coffee or 8 'Arabica' Coffee Beans, 
1 Vanilla Pod or Vanilla Extract (don't confuse with Vanilla Essence!)
Half a Cinnamon Stick. 

Give it a good shake & put in a dark place for approx 1 month or 6, or 12 and then strain through muslin bottle and enjoy! Longer you leave it, better it gets... After straining, de-stone the sloes and use to make a chocolate tart. Recipe for Seville Orange, Chocolate & Pacheran Infused Sloe Tart coming soon!

Honeysuckle Wine

1litre open Honeysuckle Blossoms (collected on a warm sunny afternoon & pressed down lighlty)
2.5lb Golden Granulated Sugar
250g Organic Raisins, chopped (adds 'body' to the wine)
Zest of 1 & Juice of 2 Large Lemons (natural citric acid)
4.5 litres filtered tap water or spring water (the less chemicals the better!)
5 Mature Oak Leaves (adds tannin) or use 1tsp Grape tannin powder
1-2 tsps nutrient
1 packet Sauternes Yeast

Place blossoms in fermentation bin, pour over the cold water, add sugar, lemon zest/juice, raisins, oak leaves & leave 24 hours, stirring ocassionally. 

Next day add nutrient and yeast and cover with muslin, leave to start fermenting. 

Once starting to ferment, stir daily and leave to open ferment for 1 week. 

After 1 week, strain through muslin and place in demi-john, put airlock on and leave to ferment out (usually once all activity has ceased and no more bubbles 'pop' through air lock - this could take several months depending on your brewing conditions, temp etc...). 

Once satisfied that fermentation has ceased adequately, rack contents off of the deposits at bottle of dj and put into another clean dj. Place in a cool/dark place and leave again several months to clear and for any excess yeast deposits to settle, rack again, put into clean dj and leave until 1 year has passed from initial fermentation. Bottle. 

It's worthwhile trying the wine when racking to gauge flavour/body etc and prior to bottling, this will give an indication as to how consumable it is, the longer you leave most wines the better they get. Enjoy.