On a recent episode of Great British Menu a chef served a nettle foam with smoked pigeon and pigeon heart. He cooked in London, represented Scotland and the nettles were picked by a ‘professional’ and presumably driven down the A and M11 to a London wholesaler called...Read More
Exploring a region through its ingredients and traditions.
The West Highland Forager blog is an exploration of our local habitat and its history using wild food as a theme. It documents our attempts at searching out ingredients as prescribed by the seasons and local recipe traditions. We are great believers in the benefits and pleasures to be had from a diet physically and culturally connected to the world immediately around you. The blog advocates low impact gathering, limited to daily personal use, and of ingredients that you are confident are safe to consume.
We have lived in the Highlands for four years and combine full-time jobs with some small scale animal husbandry and vegetable growing. Our interest in foraging derives primarily from a love of cookery and the outdoors. Shopping and foraging for food has always been the vehicle by which we have explored wherever we have stayed.
Starting with what is in season and using a combination of the advice of those around us and a mass of reference materials and recipe books we search for ingredients. These range from roots, flowers and fungi to seaweed and shellfish. We are not survivalists and are only interested in wild foods that make a genuinely positive contribution to our cooking. Our diet is by no means exclusively wild and we value well farmed and produced food stuffs from everywhere. Rene Redzepi from the restaurant NOMA in Copenhagen has developed the notion of a North Atlantic Cuisine that powerfully draws from a pallet provided by the Scandinavian region and its seasons. Our position in the Highlands is similarly northern European and we are inspired by NOMA to think about Scottish food within this context.