When we went down to the woods !

On Sunday we took the kids and went down to a friends woodland to see what is growing ... great fun but probably a little too early still for most foraged food due to the late spring.

We also had John Wright with us ... better known locally as 'Mushroom John' for his River Cottage mushroom book here and his TV work with HFW. John is just finishing a seashore foraging book due out May (I think) which will be a great reference. We had long discussions over seaweeds and umame flavours in the pub afterwards !

He has given us some great pointers on alternate local sourced seaweeds that I'll be trying as an alternate to the Japanese dried seaweeds I love to cook with ... watch this space !

John was tapping some birch trees for sap to try and make a reduction syrup ... to be honest the sap tasted like water but it was fun trying and hopefully, once reduced, the end product will be good.

We did find some wood sorrel which we were all very excited about, it will be a key ingredient when the restaurant gets started and watchers of Masterchef will have seen me use it at Noma making chef's signature dish. It has a great woody citrus flavour that goes well with meat dishes, its still early for the wood sorrel so we only picked a few samples but looking forward to going back and gathering in decent quantities.

Will post recipes over the next few days, filmed a spot on Market Kitchen last night ... more details to follow.


  1. Hubby & I do a bit of foraging and can't wait for the wild garlic season to start as we have a place near us where it grows mad.

    I'll have to keep an eye out for wood sorrel.

    Congratulations on winning Masterchef!

  2. The Wild Garlic is about 6" high in Dorset so almost ready to start taking some now. My favorite part is the flowers though so another month at least yet. Thanks for the congrats ... Mat

  3. Hi Matt - first, congratulations on MasterChef, your approach to food is fantastic.

    Speaking of wild garlic, I discovered if by accident in Scotland and managed to build it into salads and for steaming fish. Was pretty unsuccessful in transplanting it and bringing it down south. Hopefully I'll manage to find another source.

    Look forward to more recipes!

  4. We can't wait for the wild garlic to start up here. There is a fantastic area between Cheltenham and Cirencester that is amazing for wild garlic. The smell as you drive along the road is beautiful and always a sign of spring being well as truely on its way! The wood sorrel looks interesting, will definitely keep a watch out for some.

    Another congratulations Mat on winning Masterchef. We were with you all the way. Looking forward to seeing what happens next. Hope it all goes well for you!

    From a fellow scallop foraging diver!

  5. can't wait for your restaurant to open, but as a committed chocoholic (and should be) i would like to learn from Mat how to make those fabulous chocolate teardrops featured on the Masterchef programme. when is the restaurant due to open?

    genie superfoods!

  6. Simon Gaskell17 April 2009 10:35

    Hi Mat
    Been meaning to get in touch since your stormer at Masterchef, would like to send you some information on our range of English salamis, particulalry our award winning wild boar salami. We farm them and they are slaughtered in Dorset.
    Will be exhibiting at Hampton Court so hope we may meet up there. Please let me know where I can send any info to. Simon