A little while ago, on a broody Sunday morning, I travelled east to discover something truly amazing – a day of foraging for food. I was expected at Tower Hamlet’s Cemetery Park at 10.30am, but being my usual tardy self, I didn’t get there until 11. I hate being late, but hoped I hadn’t missed too much and thought I’d surely be able to stumble onto the group, cap in hand. They can’t have got that far…
And then I arrived. Leaving the council blocks behind me, I walked through the old gates and found a mess of ancient trees, dense foliage and piles of tomb stones dating back to the 1800s. After a deep breath, I took one of the narrow, winding paths for a good few minutes. The temperature dropped beneath the verdant canopy above and I didn’t encounter another (living) soul.
Feeling more than a little spooked, I retraced my steps back to the gate and spotted a small building that I’d neglected to notice on my way in. Inside, I found Terry - forager extraordinaire and one of The Amazings - and a group of jolly punters just like me. We introduced ourselves, checked out a few books, got a wheelbarrow together and went for a walk.
Being an Aussie, I’m not used the laissez-faire way in which the Brits stroll through long grass in nothing more than sandals and socks. Fashion aside, it’s been ingrained in me since childhood that certain death resides anywhere you can’t see your feet. The most noxious things to be found in this fair land, however, are stinging nettles and the ghosts of the long ago dearly departed.
In no particular order, during our expeditions we found dandelions, wild garlic, elderflowers, lime flowers, comfrey, sorrel, marjoram, rose petals, lemon balm, mallow, gorse, wild cherries and rose hips.
We found the wild strawberries (above) growing on top of stone tombs. This made some of us feel a bit queasy, but they were so delicious and I appreciated the whole circle of life thing (without wanting to sound too Disney). After our expedition, we headed back to the kitchen to cook up a storm. My favourite recipes were the sweet elderflower fritters (which I plan to make for the blog the next time they’re in season) and the rose petal jam (ditto).
In addition to foraging for my feast, I was also trying out the brilliant new Canon Powershot N. This point-and-shoot baby literally fits into the palm of your hand and takes the most amazing pictures for its size (see above!).
And now for my top-five things about this camera:
1. It’s tiny and light and takes exceptional photos. I can carry it in my pocket or a small handbag.
2. It’s Wi-Fi enabled, so I can upload my photos at a moments notice.
3. It comes with it’s own stand. Check it out here to see what I mean.
4. It’s really simple to use. I love the touch screen and innovative zoom and shutter.
5. It comes with a cool creative setting that takes one photo with six different effects. I had a lot of fun with this in the grave yard. Check it out.
Recommended reading: The Forager Handbook by Miles Irving
© Kate McAuley 2013