Foraging And Cooking With Wild Seaweed

Fi Bird | Posted 31.05.2017 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

It is a growing trend for the authors of seaweed publication to note that amateur seaweed foragers tend to damage marine and foreshore environments. Such books advocate that we 'buy dried' from professional harvesters and or use seaweed infused in tracklements.

Seaside Fudge For Christmas

Fi Bird | Posted 22.12.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

I pop some well washed carrageen into a pan, cover it with water and simmer the pan over a low heat for about 20 minutes until a rich gel is released. I then sieve the gloop into a pot, cover, and refrigerate the resulting gel for up to ten days. I use it to thicken, add sheen to sauces, in marshmallows or as a setting agent in panna cottas and mousses.

Coastal Mincemeat With Real Suet

Fi Bird | Posted 12.12.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Photograph Fi Bird On Christmas Eve at around 4 o'clock you'll find me making mince pies listening to Carols from Kings College, Cambridge on BBC Rad...

Seaweed In The Kitchen

Fi Bird | Posted 21.11.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Cut thongweed well below the button to ensure its future growth, and don't be greedy. When cooked this seaweed turns runner bean green. Early in the season sea spaghetti cooks in noodle time. Novice seaweed eaters might try serving sea spaghetti 50:50 with wheat pasta. Fresh thong weed is out of season now but you'll find dried in delicatessens and specialist shops.

Native or Non Native - Wild Garlic in the Kitchen

Fi Bird | Posted 08.04.2017 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

The countryside in spring brings to mind Hardy's story of Tess of the d'Urbervilles and the concern that the butter had a funny twang as a result of the cows having dined on the leaves of wild garlic - wild garlic has both wild scent and a pungent flavour.

Wild Spring Greens and Seaweeds

Fi Bird | Posted 16.03.2017 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Foragers can have a lean time of it over the cold winter months but as the days lengthen, and we hear the distinctive song of the skylark as it hoovers in flight, the forager can fill his or her basket with buds and wild spring greens. The March wind may blow but wild garlic works as well in a dumpling as a sushi style wrap.

Traditional Food From the Isles

Fi Bird | Posted 24.02.2017 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

The supermarket may waylay traditional cooking, but at the higher end of the market there is an eagerness to embrace traditional foods. There is a new pop up restaurant with a menu that sweeps the Highlands and Isles, scooping up delicious morsels and displaying them on a banquet table.

Marmalade and Seaweed - How Unoriginal

Fi Bird | Posted 15.01.2017 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

I'm of the opinion that a recipe is rarely originally and I remain indebted to Dorothy Hartley for inspiring me to add Sevilles to my seaweed repertoire.

A Pudding for Hogmanay From the Western Isles

Fi Bird | Posted 29.12.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

The celebration of the last night of the year, Hogmanay, is the most important of Scottish traditions. My father had no recollection of joyful Scottish Christmases in the 1950s, when Scots worked over Christmas per se but he had fond memories of an Aberdeenshire end of year winter solstice feast. It is only within the last generation that Scotland has embraced Christmas.

Frozen Christmas Jewels - Pomegranates and Sea Lettuce

Fi Bird | Posted 29.11.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Stir Up Sunday fell on a day when I was on the mainland in my Angus kitchen. As usual I'd left most of the pudding bowls across in the kitchen on the Isle, so in a waste not want not fashion, I packed the excess pudding mix into a container.

British Laver and Japanese Nori

Fi Bird | Posted 10.11.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Hotchpotch Seaweed Sourdough Porphyra spp. or laver is a red seaweed. Although, when you spy laver on rocks, it may look khaki green or even black. ...

Streams Full of Lily Leaves and Autumn Growth Watercress

Fi Bird | Posted 08.09.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

I call the lochan by the supermarket of the Isle, Lily Loch. It never ceases to amaze me that such an exotic water plant can clog up Uist ditches and lochs. On a day when the sun shines, a lily clad lochan is heart lifting even in the breezy Outer Hebridean wind.

Wild Food Alert

Fi Bird | Posted 24.08.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Seaweed is being described by some as a superfood, the new kale, but to date there is little evidence based research to support such a claim.This is because until recently seaweed, which is at the bottom of the food chain, has not been considered worthy of research funding.

Why Do We Need to Compare Dulse, a Sea Vegetable to Bacon That Comes From a Pig?

Fi Bird | Posted 17.07.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Some of us who have been cooking with wild seaweed long before it reached its dizzy, new found celebrity status, may think that dulse tastes like bacon but others will disagree. If pushed I'm in the bacon'ish' camp but I'm not overly keen to compare the two.

Vegetarians Rejoice, Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon Actually Exists

The Huffington Post UK | Natasha Hinde | Posted 16.07.2015 | UK Lifestyle

Sound the superfood klaxon, because scientists have discovered a type of seaweed that tastes like bacon. Researchers at Oregon State University’s...

Hand to Mouth on the Machair and Seashore

Fi Bird | Posted 29.06.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Canon MacQueen was born on the Outer Hebridean Isle of South Uist in 1923 and was the youngest of seven children. He left the Island to go a Catholic seminary on the mainland at 13 but returned to the Hebrides as a priest in Eriskay, and latterly, on the Isle of Barra.

Cooking With Fresh British Seaweed

Fi Bird | Posted 19.05.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Over the summer months landlocked folk who holiday by the sea, might check up on tide times and chase a low spring tide (when the sea retreats to expose rocks usually covered by water). Dulse is a delicious red seaweed to look out for

Seaweed Isn't Just for Trendsetters

Fi Bird | Posted 11.05.2016 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

This weekend a brother in law and I fed seaweed to my elderly mother in law.The food on offer by the nursing home had been declined and yet after a little coaxing, my ma in law cleared her plates of food. Seaweed was the secret ingredient in most of the courses.

Cooking with Seaweed

Fi Bird | Posted 20.06.2015 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Many Scottish and Irish recipes use carrageen, which was historically given as a tonic to consumptives.Traditional seaweed recipes however, also include dulse and laver but the seaweed recipe library is sparse and instruction is rarely didactic.

When the Tide Goes Out the Forager's Table is Laid.

Fi Bird | Posted 23.05.2015 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Some foragers sprinkle salt over the tell tale keyhole marks that razor clams leave in sand but seasoned foragers will leave noisy kids and dogs at home and quietly grab their razor clam. As with so many things, patience and practice help to perfect the skill.

Cooking With Seville Oranges and Seaweed

Fi Bird | Posted 09.04.2015 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

This year I've made my marmalade on the mainland, on an Aga without the aid of the fierce, controlled gas flame available from my Island kitchen cooker. The first rolling boil of the marmalade season can often be a hit and miss affair and this year was no exception.

Stir up Sunday With a Hint of the Sea

Fi Bird | Posted 20.01.2015 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

The last Sunday before Advent is the traditional time to make the Christmas pudding. It is often referred to as Stir Up Sunday, a reference which comes from the collect from the Anglican Church's Book of Common Prayer.

The Truffle of the Sea - Pepper Dulse

Fi Bird | Posted 10.01.2015 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

I'll hazard a guess that Pepper Dulse, a ruby red seaweed with branching fern-like fronds was a favourite with Victorian ladies who added seaweed to their 'fern-mania' collections. It's strong in flavour, and when dried and finely ground is one of my stalwart store cupboard ingredients.

Outer Hebridean Canapés and Wine

Fi Bird | Posted 06.12.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

One of my favourite seaweeds to cook with is dulse. It is a ruby, red seaweed, which dries to a deep pink, and turns green when cooked. Dulse grows on rocks in the subtidal zone or sometimes grows as an epiphyte. It often hitches a ride on kelp.The pretty fronds resemble fingers and its stalk (stipes) are short.

Foraging Black Caviar on the Seashore

Fi Bird | Posted 22.11.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Fi Bird

Seaweeds unlike some fungi aren't toxic. Some species of seaweed don't taste very nice but an amateur seaweed collector, armed with a decent guide wil...