A few years ago I went on my first foraging day out with Fat Hen.
Founded by Caroline Davey, Fat Hen is a wild cookery school based near Penzance on the beautiful Penwith coast. I think I must have raved about my first course with them to everyone I knew afterwards, because my dad kindly bought me a voucher to use on another one for Christmas!
Whether it’s gourmet, Italian, or seafood-specific, Fat Hen offer a range of all-day courses that include a long morning foraging walk, cooking demonstrations, tutorials, and a delicious feast at the end.
I really wanted to try the Vegan Wild Food cooking course, so signed up for the date in April (there’s another one running on the 15th September if you’re interested!). As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I’m not ‘fully vegan, but I don’t eat meat anymore (less the occasional oops moment!) and have severely cut out dairy from my diet. And I just love the challenge of cooking and the taste of vegan food!
Caroline’s courses are all about incorporating foraged ingredients into every day cooking (in this case, plant-based recipes you can make at home!), rather than a ‘survivalist’ style foraging where you ONLY cook from foraged foods. It simply makes food taste and feel so much better when you’ve sourced the herbs, vegetables and other ingredients all yourself!
On our walk, we headed down to some beautiful woodlands and walked along in the sunshine as Caroline pointed out various edible plants such as sorrel, wild garlic, and nettles, as well as some fungi too. We followed the stream down to the sea, where we discussed a few different types of seaweed too (all edible – just make sure they’re still alive and attached to the rocks!).
With baskets full, we headed back to the Fat Hen barns and set about preparing our meals. Ben, the chef on hand, alongside Caroline, showed us how to make various dishes and helped us to prepare them in pairs. My task – chickpea and wild garlic falafels!
We ended up with the most magnificent feast; from tofu with wild greens to Laver seaweed bakes, and vietnamese summer rolls with herbs and edible flowers. It was delicious, and we were all bursting to the brim by the end!
It was double-y satisfying; not only was everything we prepared completely plant-based and animal product free, it was also made using ingredients that all of us helped to gather, and that we all now know how to identify ourselves when we’re out walking around Cornwall.