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Posts from the ‘Recipes’ Category


Last week’s guide to wild mushrooms proved to be popular, and now that spring and summer are well on the way there is plenty of opportunity to get into the countryside and scavenge fresh, delicious ingredients for dinner (we can’t wait!). It is important to stay safe whilst scavenging, however, and to know what you are doing. And so, as requested, here is a guide to our two favourite types of scavenged seafood; Mussels and Crabs.


1.Before you go fishing, crabbing or mussel collecting make sure that you have checked a tide timetable. Tide times vary, even within a few miles, so make sure the timetable applies to the correct area. Either buy one from a newsagent for the whole year, or Google ‘tide times.’ Do not go out across rocks and sand dunes at low tide, when the tide is turning and about to start coming in, as you could get stuck and have to swim back, which could be very dangerous.

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Last week we warned of the dangers of foraging for wild mushrooms and provided a guide that listed the mushrooms not to eat and to take special care to watch out for. This week we return to the humble mushroom, but with a more positive compilation of wild mushrooms you can eat, where to find them, and what to do with them once you’ve got them.

There are loads of different types of edible mushroom out there; here are some of Come Scavenge’s favourites…



The Field Mushroom, Agaricus campestris, is the most commonly eaten wild mushroom in Britain. It is best cooked within hours of collecting; it can be dried but then loses much of its flavour. It is commonly found in fields and grassy areas and is found in small groups or alone. This mushroom is not commercially cultivated because of its fast maturing and short shelf life, so go out and forage for it!

Here are some of Come Scavenge’s favourite Field Mushroom recipes:

Creamy mushroom Ragout with nutmeg mash:

Devilled mushroom with pan-fried liver and spinach:

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If you are heading to the British coastline this Spring or Summer, watch out for samphire, the ultimate classy freebie.

Samphire is a sea vegetable that grows abundantly on shorelines, in marshy shallows and on salty mudflats. It is similar to asparagus (but better), has a crisp texture, and tastes of the sea. It is a delicious freegan favourite.

Collecting samphire is a coastal British tradition; in the 17th Century Shakespeare referred to the dangerous practice of collecting rock samphire from cliffs, saying: “Halfway down, Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!”

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has said “This native plant is tasty, goes brilliantly with fish and, if you can be bothered to go looking for it, completely free.”

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Acorn coffee

Freegan Harry Thompson told Come scavenge with me he couldn’t survive on what he gets from bins because he would not be able to function without coffee. Sometimes supermarkets and cafes throw out surplus beans that are past their best but this is rare.

But there is an alternative, the humble acorn.

Acorns are the best-known natural substitute for coffee, they are supposed to have a similar taste and effect and at this time of year there are loads of them all over London’s parks. Harry and I went for a walk on Hampstead Heath in North London and found a huge oak tree. The ground underneath it was covered with acorns so we gathered up a couple of handfuls and took them home, still skeptical that they would taste as good as a steaming hot latte from Costa.

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Can you eat your Christmas tree?

This Christmas, the chef Heston Blumenthal re-invented the humble mince pie with a special pine sugar that released the smell of christmas trees when sprinkled on the hot pastry.

As thousands of Christmas trees are thrown away this Twelfth night, can we “do a Heston” and use them to make delicious food?

In an op-ed for the New York Times, award winning chef Rene Redzepi writes: “Nature takes enormous time and effort to produce something that we use only briefly. Why don’t we make greater use of this living tree, as we make use of so many other kinds of plants on earth, by eating it?” It’s like hyper-local foraging, from your own home.

In London alone, almost a million Christmas trees are thrown away each year – and fewer than 10% of those are recycled. Some councils have special “treecycle” schemes to stop trees going into landfill. Once the baubles and fairy lights have been removed, a lot of pine needles are left.

So, here are some ideas for ways in which to enjoy your Christmas tree to its full potential, by eating it:

Pine needles can be dried out, ground into a light, citrus-y spice and used as a garnish for soups, salmon or pork. In his food blog, Peter suggests soaking them in vodka. Rene Redzepi says it can be sprinkled on cookies, added to rice, or rubbed on a chicken.

If you can’t be bothered to make the powder, just use the sprigs, as you would rosemary or thyme. Chuck them into some steamed spinach or broccoli to give a lemony aroma. Or, after cooking steak, flavour the meaty juices with some pine needles. Fresh fish, salted for a day and covered in fresh needles absorbs the green colour and festive aroma.

Absolutely Wild, who run foraging courses in Hampshire, suggest using pine needles to make syrup. Douglas fir needles are best. They also make flavoured oil for salad which has been used in Nordic cooking for centuries.

Pine butter is another option. Mix butter with pine needles (to taste) and a sprig of thyme, some lemon juice or even a splash of brandy in a blender until soft and green then pass through a sieve.

Eat Weeds wild food guide suggests pine needle vinegar as an alternative to balsamic vinegar. It can be splashed into hot drinks to help ward off seasonal colds and also goes well with fish.

Here is their recipe. It makes 500ml.

  1. Take your clean, sterile glass jar and add enough pine needles so the jar is packed tight.
  2. Bring 500ml of organic cider vinegar to a rolling boil and immediately remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. Sieve if necessary.
  3. Pour the cooled vinegar over your jar with pine needles in, and fill to the top. Screw on the cap.
  4. Leave in a darkened cupboard overnight, then use in sauces, with salads, peas or even with fresh fruit. It may sound bizarre but its sharp flavour works well strawberries and vanilla ice cream.


The remains of Christmas dinner

Leftovers can be the most exciting part of Christmas. Even if you’re sick of the sight of turkey and have sworn to only eat celery until next Christmas, there are plenty of possibilities.

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An epicurean activist

If you didn’t make it to Feeding the 5,000, don’t despair. Lovely chef Tom Hunt has posted lots of great recipes for dishes he made on the day here. Tom says he learned how exciting seasonal produce can be while working with chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage. These recipes show that leftover ingredients can make delicious, sophisticated meals. Find out what his seven ways to use a loaf are, make apples and pears that are a bit past their best into a Tarte Tatin, or use up stale bread and vegetables into a robust Italian Ribollita soup.

Tom has recently opened Poco in Bristol, a restaurant inspired by what he calls “a tapas vibe” and a drive to waste as little food as possible. Surplus ingredients are made into tasty dishes and given out free with drinks, just like at Spanish tapas bars. Last week a slow roasted pork belly with fennel and lemon juice was on the menu and the leftover meat was made into a stew with white beans and celery which was given out for free.

Where possible, Tom doesn’t peel vegetables, as their skin is very nutritious, and he composts everything. Parsnips sometimes need to be peeled but the skin makes delicious crisps.
Tom also runs Forgotten Feast restaurants, which use “ugly, unwanted and unloved” ingredients. You can find out more about them here.

Tom started skipping while he was a student in Falmouth and still does, saying, “you never know what you’ll get”. One of his best finds was a box of avocados that he came across whilst exploring London’s Covent Garden.

Racoon dinner (not for the faint of heart)

 Yep, you heard right. Racoons can be a tasty dinner and a lot of foragers chose to eat them. What’s more the furry creatures are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, with sightings in Durham and Hampshire last year. So, how do you cook and eat a racoon?

 Tip number 1 Remove the scent glands from under the front legs before eating

Tip number 2 Racoon is best eaten in the winter months. Cut the jugular vein and hang any you find by the tail immediately after you have killed them.

Tip number 3 If you have found your racoon, not killed it, and don’t know how long it has been lying dead for add spices to mask a gamey taste it might have.

Tip number 4 Remove as much fat as possible from the carcass.

Tip number 5 Submerge the possum in two gallons of water, five tablespoons of baking soda and ½ a cup of salt. Refrigerate overnight.

Tip number 6 If you are going to freeze the racoon put it in a plastic container filled with water, with a tightly sealed lid.

Tip number 7 Racoons will feed about five adults, four if they are REALLY hungry.

 FROM FROZEN- Meat should be thawed, then brined and soaked overnight. To cook parboil it for two hours then slow roast or barbecue to perfection.


Some Racoon recipes

You will need…

1 racoon

2 medium onions

Teaspoon of oregano

Dressing recipe:

1 loaf of bread

¾ cup of chopped onion

Poultry seasoning

Broth from boiled coon

Sage, salt and pepper

Remove the meat from the cold salt water and put it in a pot, cover it with fresh water. Now add two medium onions (chopped) and the oregano. Boil the meat until it is tender.

Put the racoon meat in a roasting pan and cover it with the dressing (see recipe above). Use broth from the boiling to wet down the dressing and bake until it is done.


Recipe of the week #1

Here, in our recipe section, we bring to you our favourite recipes for using up leftover foods. Forage, corporate scavenge, bin-dive; do what-ever it takes to get the ingredients, here’s what you can do with them.

Cheats Chicken Casserole


  • One vegetable stock cube
  • One x-large glass of white wine
  • One tin of vegetable soup (any you can get hold of will do, but lentil and vegetable is particularly good)
  • 2 chopped chicken breasts
  • One small white onion
  • One small red onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Whatever vegetables you can get your hands on/ have left over: carrots, green beans, leaks, broccoli, courgette; anything/everything you want
  • A few handfuls of coriander (or parsley if that’s all you can get hold of)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

 What to do:

  1. Heat a little oil in a big casserole dish (you can do this on the hob).
  2. Heat the onion and vegetables for a few minutes until soft.
  3. Add the garlic and chicken. Cook for another minute, until the chicken is lightly browned.
  4. Dissolve the vegetable stock cube in one small cup of boiling water.
  5. Add the soup, vegetable stock, wine, salt, pepper and chopped coriander to the casserole.
  6. Cook in the oven on about 180’ for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve with mashed potato/jacket potato/rice/pasta/bread or eat alone as a soup.
  8. Put what’s left in the fridge and you’ve got an easy, tasty, healthy meal to heat up for the rest of the week.


Can you eat snails?

All hail the snail?
I used to think eating these slimy garden pests was disgusting, the sort of thing you’d do in a Bush Tucker Trial on “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”. But my first taste of snail, stuffed with a delectable combination of breadcrumbs and parsley, left me wanting more. It seems the French, who consume about 700 million snails a year, are onto something. As well as being delicious with garlic, snails are a great source of protein and, best of all, they are all over the place. At a time when purse strings are tightening, shouldn’t we be celebrating the snail – looking to the ground, lifting flowerpots in search of this free and abundant meat? There are English recipes for snails going back centuries and we’ve been exporting our snails to the French since the 1890s. So can we eat the ones in our back gardens?

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