1. ITV Report

Recipes when foraging for free food in the countryside

Blackberry panna cotta Photo: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous

Jo Miles from Surlingham in South Norfolk is proud of hosting dinner parties at minimal cost by foraging for her ingredients from the countryside. She finds nettles, berries and mushrooms and turns them into tasty treats.

There is a warning though that you need to know what you can pick before you cook and eat it.

Here are some of Jo Miles' recipes that were featured on ITV News Anglia.

  • BLACKBERRY PANNA COTTA
Pick as many blackberries as you can because you can freeze any surplus Credit: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous

Firstly pick as many blackberries as you can. Freeze some whole for crumbles, and cook the rest very gently for ten minutes or so till really soft. Push through a fine sieve to get a lovely puree. Add sugar to taste.

Use some for the panna cotta and some for the coulis to decorate it and keep a few extra berries to sprinkle on top too. Freeze any extra puree in small pots for coulis for puddings or to make ice cream etc. And don't forget to make some bramble jelly.

  • 2 leaves gelatine
  • 350 ml single cream (you can use just double or double and milk)
  • Approx 45 g sugar
  • 150 ml blackberry puree (or any other soft fruit puree - damsons are great)
Jo Miles in the kitchen with ITV News Anglia reporter Natalie Gray Credit: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous

Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water.

Put the rest of the ingredients in a pan (taste for sweetness) and bring gently to boil. Take off heat.

Whisk in the gelatine leaves (not the water).

Pour into moulds/small tea cups etc and when cool put in fridge to set for a few hours. Or serve in glasses.

Run outside of moulds under hot water and turn onto plate to serve.

Don't forget to pick wild hazelnuts and make biscuits to serve with this - please make prettier and thinner ones than I did!

Hazelnut biscuits Credit: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous
  • NETTLE SOUP
Nettle soup Credit: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous

Extremely nutritious - particularly for anyone ill - and divine.

Pick the small tops of nettles (no flowers as they will be too old) or whole young very tender nettles. Don't forget your Marigolds! I pick loads and then freeze the soup, but I will guess the ingredients for 4 people!

Wash the nettles and take off any tough stalks and hairy leaves as they will be the tough ones. You could also make gnocchi, pasta sauces, omelettes etc, and nettle wine if you are desperate!

CHICKEN STOCK

You can use stock cubes, but please make your own stock with chicken bones, onion, carrot, garlic, herbs and seasoning etc - it is so good for you. Veggies just use veggie stock it will still be yummy.

Preparing the nettles Credit: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 big potato finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed - not essential and in the spring use wild garlic
  • nettles - half a supermarket plastic bag - maybe 300 g
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • oil or butter for frying
  • salt and pepper (and I add a little chilli powder to pep it up)
  • cream to serve (or you can add milk or cream when whizzing it up if it is a little thick and it makes it more creamy)

Soften onions in butter/oil over gentle heat till completely soft.

Add potato and garlic fry gently till soft.

Add the nettles, fry gently for a little bit and then add the stock and season, bring to the boil for a few minutes - just check the spuds are soft.

Liquidise

Hey presto!

Slicing a giant puffball Credit: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous
  • FRIED PUFFBALL

First find a puffball and make sure that's what it is.

This recipe is great and we all love it, but we adore BBQ puffball - just marinade the slices in olive oil, marjoram (wild preferably), S&P and a chilli sprinkle and then BBQ - yum.

Tempura of puffball with a chilli dipping sauce is not bad either, but parasol mushrooms are the very best for this. And if you can't be fagged with bread crumbs just fry the puffball slices.

  • a puffball sliced into 1 cm pieces
  • bread for breadcrumbs - perhaps a quarter of a loaf
  • herbs - parsley, marjoram, thyme, chives - or whatever you have to hand
  • 1 big clove of garlic
  • seasoning
  • an egg
  • oil for frying
Fried puffball in breadcrumbs Credit: ITV News Anglia / Tony Aldous

Chuck the bread, a handful of herbs and a clove of garlic into a food processor along with salt and pepper and a pinch of chilli if you like it. Whizz till fine.

Whisk egg in a flat dish/plate.

Dip puffball slices in egg and then into crumbs to coat.

Fry (not too hot) in oil till browned on both sides and soft.