Seashore & Rivers

The best way to cook your foraged mussels.

Mussels (Mytilus edulis) are a common ingredient in Spanish cuisine. They are cooked in many different ways, either just boiled with a squeeze of lemon juice over them, or even better, added to stews or paella.
After spending a couple of weeks in Galicia (north-west corner of Spain) and trying a few of these plates made by locals, I found that my absolute favourite is as easy to make as it is delicious.

Foraging for seafood in Galicia is, however, forbidden by law, as there are professional “Marisqueiros” (seafood collectors), who need to have a license to catch and sell the fruits of their seas. Thankfully, the situation in the UK is different and makes it possible for seafood-lovers to make a trip to their nearest beach and try to find these little black-and-orange animals. The amount and size of mussels you find around the coasts of the British Isles are much smaller than in Galicia, so make sure you don’t take more than you need and let the small ones continue to live on the rocks.  It’s also really important to try and get advice from the locals before you go out foraging for mussels, as they may be kind enough to warn you of issues with water quality, local sewage outflow pipes (which you’d want to avoid for obvious reasons), and anything else you may need to be aware of, including any kind of local bylaws preventing the collecting of the mussels.

Berries, Sweets & Syrups

How to make wild strawberry jam

If you are lucky enough to have wild strawberries growing in your back garden or you to live close to a place where you can collect them, you have to give this delicious wild strawberry jam a try!

The wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca), also known as an Alpine or Woodland strawberry, is a delicious if not quite small version of their cultivated cousin. They’re normally just a few millimeters in length, rarely growing to anything near a standard strawberry from your local supermarket. But what they lack in size, they definitely make up for in taste, packing a really strong, concentrated flavour. You’ll typically find alpine strawberries at the edge of woods and mountains (hence the name Alpine, which refers to the mountain range the Alps) where they like to grow in shady and slightly damp conditions.