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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Forager's Kitchen
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2013
The Forager's kitchen will appeal to the novice country forager as much as to the more knowledgeable foraging enthusiast. There is interesting folklore and plenty for the urban forager too, although the author sensibly suggests that you forage, where animals don't and away from car pollution This means you won't need to lace up your hiking boots and strap on a back pack to grab ingredients for 'your supper pot.' This 'forage just enough for your supper' and 'if in doubt leave it out' (ID) message is driven home throughout the book.

This book isn't an exhaustive guide to all edible wild plants, more a selection of ingredients that the author cooks with, and believes to be worth eating. She tells us that rowan blossom, in her opinion, tastes disgusting - a refreshingly honest approach. The Forager's Kitchen is a kitchen companion / coffee table book, rather than a backpacker's foraging guide. The photography is stunning, especially the photos of wild ingredients and unusually, in this day and age, where publishers' budget's are tight, there is a good selection of food photography too.

You can go out and find many of the ingredients in a matter of minutes, but if you were pushed for time, you could probably buy some in the shops, dried seaweed for example is increasingly popular with Chefs. It was good to see seaweed recipes included in the Coastal chapter. I often wonder why, as Islanders, we fail to gather free food at low tide. The recipes are simple, in spite of the author's appearance on BBC Masterchef ; this for me, is a definite plus. She apologies for the inclusion of a couple of recipes, due to simplicity, but often, the obvious is overlooked. Time is always against us, so an easy recipe that competes with a ready made meal is OK in my book. The foraged ingredient per se may not already be in your fridge or store cupboard but the rest are pretty conventional.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy foraging, cooking, want supper in a hurry or just enjoy flicking through a beautiful book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2013
I'm really glad that I have the opportunity to write the first review for this book!

Living in London I haven't really engaged with the world of "foraging" before; "The Forager's Kitchen" however, caught my eye when it was on display in my local book shop. The front cover really is beautiful and the photography throughout the book is absolutely stunning. I must confess I hadn't actually read much of the book before my impulse buy, but since getting home I have been able to peruse at leisure.

"The Forager's Kitchen" is a mixture of foraging tips and recipes to go with them. Although much of the foraging seems to have taken place on the islands and mainland of Scotland the photography and loving descriptions allow the lay reader like me to transport themselves out there, even if only for a few hours. Even through the recipes are supposed to be "foraged" I'm pretty sure I'll be able to attempt recipes such as "Ladybirds in Wild Pesto" with the more readily available Tesco varieties of pesti.

If the book has one real area of strength it is the research that has gone into it. Every page has some kind of factoid or "Wild notes", as they are called, giving details on the folklore and history surrounding plants. The writer Fiona Bird (apparently a Masterchef finalist, although I'm not sure if she is from the Greg Wallace or the more gentile Lloyd Grossman era) has an in depth - QI esq - command of her subject and a real love for foraging which jumps out from the page.

If you are interested in foraging then I am sure this a good book to have with you, but if, like me, you just want a chance to escape from city life then I would strongly recommend this beautiful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2013
I'm really glad that I have the opportunity to write the first review for this book!

Living in London I haven't really engaged with the world of "foraging" before; "The Forager's Kitchen" however, caught my eye when it was on display in my local book shop. The front cover really is beautiful and the photography throughout the book is absolutely stunning. I must confess I hadn't actually read much of the book before my impulse buy, but since getting home I have been able to peruse at leisure.

"The Forager's Kitchen" is a mixture of foraging tips and recipes to go with them. Although much of the foraging seems to have taken place on the islands and mainland of Scotland the photography and loving descriptions allow the lay reader like me to transport themselves out there, even if only for a few hours. Even through the recipes are supposed to be "foraged" I'm pretty sure I'll be able to attempt recipes such as "Ladybirds in Wild Pesto" with the more readily available Tesco varieties of pesti.

If the book has one real area of strength it is the research that has gone into it. Every page has some kind of factoid or "Wild notes", as they are called, giving details on the folklore and history surrounding plants. The writer Fiona Bird (apparently a Masterchef finalist, although I'm not sure if she is from the Greg Wallace or the more gentile Lloyd Grossman era) has an in depth - QI esq - command of her subject and a real love for foraging which jumps out from the page.

If you are interested in foraging then I am sure this a good book to have with you, but if, like me, you just want a chance to escape from city life then I would strongly recommend this beautiful book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2013
The Forager's Kitchen is an absolute delight. It makes you want to grab a basket and get out there, and immerse yourself in countryside. It makes you look at plants in an entirely new way, or in the way that I used to, when I was growing up in Yorkshire, with wild garlic in the woods and bilberries on the moors. For reminding me of that alone, I want to give Fi Bird, the author, thanks, but she does so much more, with beautiful, do-able recipes, and a wealth of information about each foraged ingredient. The Elderflower scotch pancakes and the Honeysuckle tea, are top of my list, and gatherable even in urban West London. But this is also a book for dreaming over and for escaping with, and therefore deserves a place on your book shelf or night table. It would also make a lovely and different gift for friends who cook and preserve to expand their repertoires...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I absolutely love this book. Great pictures! Tasty recipes with lots of ideas on how to use the food that you have foraged. Usually background information on the plants. Easy to read and the rot of book that you can just pick up and 'dip' into.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I love this book. It is beautifully produced and full of really interesting wild facts as well as delicious recipes. I was worried it would be too 'extreme' for me, but have found it is exactly the right level to make me want to go and forage more, rather than being daunting and putting me off. I live in the country and already forage for fungi and other bits and pieces, but really don't know a great deal about what's good and safe to eat out there. This made me aware of all sorts of edible delights that were right under my nose. Even if you don't intend to get out there and forage, it is a great book to just sit and read, I found it inspiring. Well done Fiona Bird!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2013
this is the best foragers cook book out it stand next to roger Phillip's wild food as a stand alone reference book
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2013
Im a country girl, muddy bare feet, hunting mushrooms and keeping animals, etc... so the hedgerow is not totally alien to me yet this book has introduced me to plants i had no idea could be used to eat! Very pleased with this purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2013
I've been foraging ever since being a kid and this book has given me more ideas for what I can do with my finds.
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on 2 November 2014
Well I bought this book for my friend who lives in Liverpool. Every time I go to see her, she drags me around Croxteth Park in amongst the hedgerows gathering whatever is seasonal in the fruit and nut department. Last time I went we gathered blackberries and she has them with her porridge for breakfast. So I got her this book because she doesn't waste a thing. For example, I recently went to see her at Halloween and carved two pumpkins (quite well I thought). But it didn't stop with the carving, she told me to save the inside flesh for pumpkin soup. All this took about an hour and a half and then she suggested I separate the seeds as she was going to roast them in oil with salt and pepper (after boiling them for ten minutes). By this time I'd had enough of pumpkins and spent another three quarters of an hour separating the seeds from the flesh. The next day she was in the kitchen making the pumpkin soup and I admit my heart fell at the thought of it. Then I heard her say it tasted a bit sour (I'm not surprised when I think about my hands mashing about in that flesh searching for seeds for two hours) and I perked up at this I can tell you. So she ditched the pumpkin soup idea hurrah! Great book with lots of good tips - if you're that way inclined which I'm not ...
ps. Don't tell my wife Beryl about this as when I go to Liverpool she thinks I'm train spotting at Lichfield Station.
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