Sunday 14 October 2012

Rowan Jelly

The rowans are berrier than I've ever known them this year - making up for last year's total lack. I'm also making up for it and I've made twice as many jars of rowan jelly as I would usually. After the Assynt Festival, I needed to relax and there are few better ways than sitting listening to music while picking rowan berries off their stalks after a foraging walk. The jelly bag dripped all last night and the brew was completed this morning - all those little red jewels are transformed into jars full of ruby goodness.

If I do nothing else to honour the season of harvest, no matter how busy I am, I always make rowan jelly if there are any berries at all. It is tart and delicious with strong cheddar, brilliant with sweet vegetables like neeps and carrots and a good local substitute for marmalade.

If you want the recipe you'll need to look at the Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvests, published by Saraband. This was the Scottish Book of the month earlier in the year, quite rightly, as it's packed full of brilliant free food recipes, together with folklore and harvesting advice and all sorts of other wisdom about eating from the wild. It was compiled by the wonderful people at the Scottish Wild Harvests Association. I wrote the rowan bit, including my jelly recipe, which is very simple but has never failed me.

Monday 8 October 2012

Not getting my hands dirty

I am currently writing a dig and trail diary for an archaeological dig project in Assynt. The archaeologists are digging a burnt mound - a mysterious pile of charred stones from the bronze age - and a team of guides is leading walks back into the mists of time around Assynt. I get to tag along and leave my impressions on the archaeologists' website.

If you'd like to follow the proceedings, it's here: