Today we went foraging with our local home ed group. I’ve never been foraging before, apart from for blackberries as a kid but they always just sat on the side in a bowl once I got them home anyway. In Wales there are plenty of wide open green public spaces to go tromping about and there are lots of signposted walking trails too. The plants we were foraging for today are hardy and grow anywhere; you can go foraging anywhere there is a bit of greenery.

I’ve heard of foraging as it seems to be becoming a popular thing to do but it never really took my fancy. This activity was kindly planned and facilitated for free by one of the families who are in the home ed group so it was a great opportunity to learn something new. The kids got to playing straight away and we got loads of fresh air.

hiking

We walked a route that was right behind where we used to live. It’s a housing estate that backs onto a green belt, so the countryside kind of pops up on you. The walk took us through a new local cemetery which has a natural burials meadow with no markings for the remains on the side we walked through and then onto woodland where we sat together on some logs to share nettle soup.

nettle soup

The nettle soup (the frobscottle) was delicious.

All along the way we stopped and tried lots of different plants and the dad who was leading collected loads up to have a salad with the soup he had kindly made and brought to share. I was really surprised at the variety of flavours. I kind of expected varying degrees of the taste of grass but all the ones I tried were so different and really flavoursome. I tried ramsons which tasted unmistakeably of garlic, then goose grass which has a hazelnut taste at the end. Bittercress which tasted exactly like ‘normal’ cress,  and sorrel which tasted really zingy like crab apples. None of it would be out of place on a garden salad in a posh restaurant for either looks or flavour. It was great to see how easy it is to find edible plants and the best part was all the kids thought it was great and were trying them and getting really involved too.

view

We passed a pond and saw some frog spawn which I was just as made up with as the kids, even though my inner health and safety regulator comes out in hives when I see children near open water. It was fine, nobody fell in! We clambered over styles which is always fun and splodged in mud, pushed through bushes, and sat on logs. Beg grabbed my hand and asked me to admire the view with her at the top, and we filled our lungs and hair with the wind and I felt thankful to God for our freedom and the green green grass of home. It was such a great day and has helped me to positively reaffirm my home schooling decision.

nettle soup

I would fully recommend trying foraging for yourself. I’m positive you will be surprised at the different tastes. You can make nettle and ramson leaf soup in the same way you would make any soup, just wash them and fry them until soft and add in some vegetables of your choice and blend down. Nettles are apparently full of vitamins and can be used to treat painful muscles and joints. I’m off to find an elderflower cordial recipe on pinterest ready for spring. If you’re into plant-based eating, you may get some inspiration from my Vegan Supper Club post.

Check out my pinterest boards here: The Hippy Christian Mum Pinterest

Enjoy! Have you tried foraging? What did you make?

Last night I went all Gwyneth Paltrow and ate an entirely plant-based meal.

 

I went along to a Supper Club in a community cafe in Caerphilly (I just tried to spell that phonetically and really can’t, google Caerphilly castle-it’s impressive). The venue was the former town library which was upgraded and relocated and now it is used as a community cafe which is also hired out. Which I thought was a really fab idea. I went along with my friend from church whose daughter & friend are the genius chef/creator people behind it. It’s called Nourish Supper Club and has been a sell out success. A superb 3 course meal with no gluten, dairy or grains, using all fresh seasonal ingredients all for £23 per person. Deal. Considering I’d had McDonald’s for lunch I was excited at the prospect of some real food.

“…organic produce direct from local farms…”

 

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Sweet Green Juice – parsley, lettuce, spinach, celery & apple.

 

So not knowing what to expect at all I was pleasantly surprised when we went in to be greeted with a restaurant set up. We were shown to our table which had our places set out and the menu on the table and a flower centrepiece. Our hostess said we had an extra seat in case I needed room for the baby which was really thoughtful and I just loved that. I had actually managed to get a night off but there were other babba’s brought along which was great. There was definitely a lovely ambience created, with lovely mellow music playing. We had a quick gander at the menu and got on with the important business of having a good natter. We both had the sweet green juice which was lovely (you wouldn’t know there was no sugar in it).

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Soul soup & nettle pesto.

For starters we had soul soup. I am from this point forward going to call all soup I eat soul soup because I think it’s that great a description for soup. It was warm and green and I instantly assumed I knew how it would taste so I was surprised at the variety of flavour in it. There were at least 3 different levels of flavour. The pesto was really earthy and full. I’ve never had fresh pesto before so that was a treat for me and the raw dehydrated pumpkin and sesame seed crackers added that bit of texture. The info on the menu said the food is dehydrated at 42 degrees and this preserves the nutrients in the food.

 

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Summer Abundance Platter.

 

The main course was a Summer Abundance Platter which was a flatbread, 2 falafel, green salad, cucumber, tahini, and carrot hummus. The quality of the ingredients really shone through in this plate (the lettuce was honestly, really delicious) but what impressed me the most was the inventiveness of the dish overall. The cucumber was pickled which gave another tangent of flavour and it just wasn’t boring in the least. Already I was surprisingly full but had been looking forward to the pudding all week!

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Strawberry cheesecake with mascarpone cream and warm wild mint & rose tea.

 

I wasn’t disappointed in the pudding. With no added sugar or sweeteners I expected it to be a good imitation of a dessert but it was so much more than that. It was a gooey strawberry sweet loveliness in my dairy free mouth and I enjoyed every morsel. I think every table went a bit quiet on that course. Or perhaps I was just in my own world. Who knows. Anyway I liked the pudding the best.

We came home feeling full and relaxed and knowing each other just a little bit better and it was a really lovely evening. I felt like I had been privileged to have tried and been invited into a way of healthfulness I had never considered before (entirely plant based food) and it was nice for me to go out for a meal and not feel like the awkward customer “Is there milk in this?” . Ellie and Nicola worked really hard to serve everyone and made sure everyone enjoyed themselves and it worked so well. I will definitely be recommending Nourish Supper Club to people. If you know how to say Caerphilly because you live anywhere nearby you can find the Nourish Supper Club page on facebook if you would like to book in for the next one in September.

I’ve linked up with…

Cuddle Fairy