Paul on mushroom hunting

Mushroom hunting. 
As I have mentioned before here that when foraging mushrooms you will need to be 110% sure that the mushroom you are picking is edible, check and double check each time until you are sure yourself that what you pick is the right identification.
the best thing about facebook and Instagram is memories, a mushroom showed up on my memories this year from 2 years ago, I therefore went back to my spots in hope of finding said mushrooms again but to no avail. the 1st time I ever spotted these mushrooms was by pure chance, then again from the size of the mushroom I found you would think that it would have been hard to miss. measuring 1ft across at its widest point. Although edible in its smaller stages I found the larger ones better for drying and keeping for later in the year for stock and soup or gravy etc.
I hope this year, I am fortunate enough to go and collect small ones, I don’t expect to  find them, I dehydrated most of what I picked last year and still have some left in my jar, Ive added more mushrooms dried to another jar to start a collection for this year, lets see where it goes.
I hope to identify more edible mushrooms, to add to my repertoire, as well as my jar of flavours. I will be posting these finds on my Instagram so I know what and where the mushrooms are. Im happy to share my finds as well as any info I find and my identifications. 
As always stay safe and you can follow my hunting journeys on my Instagram @chefpaulc 

Wild flowers

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Edible flowers​
To eat or not to eat?? Pretty garnish or dish component??
Well for me as a child of rural Ireland eating flowers was something that was never done, even now the mention of eating flowers brings strange looks to some people’s faces.
As a general rule flowers were a no go area for us. The echo of my mother “mind my flowers” still rings through my head, also remember a boot or Welly being thrown in the direction of a dog that was taking apart a flower bed.
However as a forager, chef and culinary gangster being open to new items comes almost as second nature at this stage. Many new finds for me are because of the flowers that i noticed them in the first place. Many of these are not just pretty they pack a flavour punch. I no longer fear the flower patch eat the evidence so to speak. Many flowers are beautiful pickled or in a light batter and deep fried.
Are flowers here to stay i believe they are seasonally at least. There are companies dedicated to growing edible flowers for restaurants and hotels. Now it’s a trend that is growing rapidly as well​ as foraging however at a much slower rate, I feel that the vast majority of people could be converted to at least trying a flower, I’m not going to force anybody to eat flowers or only wild food eating .
I think we overlook a lot of the possibility for flavour by not trying flowers either raw or cooked as sometimes they change and often give a beautiful scent to compliment a dish.
Flowers are no longer the reserve of the fancy restaurant even pubs are using flowers now as they are more available to everyone.
Let us know what you think in the comments  @traleeculinarygangsters.com or to me directly @chefpaulc on Instagram and Twitter

Foraging sea greens

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Sea greens
 

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Sea greens

Now that the winter is well on its way most of my summer greens have gone to sleep until late spring so I now have new greens in natures vegetable stores.

The hardier of the sea vegetables are coming out to grace our plates. One of these is back for the second time this year all be it in a different form instead of growing up it grows out to resemble a young cabbage patch without the slugs and snails. Scurvy grass is now carpeting an area that was once covered in samphire and sea grass

Oyster leaf is coming to the end with the last few leaves withering away another variety of samphire takes its place

All of these greens are rich in natural salts minerals and vitamins which are lacking in the majority of peoples diets today.

You can pay for supplements and get more chemically engineered minerals or you can take a drive or a walk if close enough to the nearest beach   there is always something to be picked and it’s free just add to a pan with a small bit of butter and gently wilt it or add to white sauce to add a natural saltiness or even mix it through with some salad leaves dress with lemon juice and cracked black pepper.

An added bonus to these greens for the health conscious amongst us there is no added insecticide, pesticides or weed killers no growth hormones, all natural and basically calorie free they really are (sorry Sid) nourish by nature.

Follow my adventures on Instagram @chefpaulc for what to look for and eat on our coastline pantry thanks also to my fiancée jenny for the artwork follow on Instagram @wattonarts

uses for wild leek

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Some uses for wild leek here i have some ready for saute (black tub)

Pickled wild leek flowers in a simple pickle i use 3/2/1 with a teaspoon of mustard seeds (vinager/sugar/water)

Wild leek pesto equal amounts of wild leek & parsley with toasted walnuts, salt and pepper(no need to add garlic) blended with rapeseed oil

And a wild leek & mint butter just chop the leek and blanch in salted boiling water for 10 seconds and refresh in ice water. Dry and mix with the mint and mix both through softened butter the butter also frezzes well