Having a wonderful trip touring around Scotland these last two weeks with my family visiting family and friends. Currently we are staying with our friends Kate and John in Banchory (Aberdeenshire).
Kate mentioned that she had heard on Twitter that KT Tunstall (Scottish singer) had spotted some salmon leaping at the ‘Thundering Falls of Feugh‘ – so off we went to investigate. The falls were not thundering today and we spotted no salmon but this little fella popped up.
Talk about getting excited. The otter appeared directly below us in the falls, disappeared and then popped up again. He or she was soon scooting up the side of the falls diving in and out of pools and the main flow.
Before long the show was over as we were treated to a big slide down the side of the falls and all was as we had first found it when we arrived.
I only had a standard lens on my camera so the shots are not the best however I really enjoyed watching the otter playing and hunting.
Ok, not so much a picture of the week but a collage of the week.
I had a delightful walk last Sunday with my family at The Vyne National Trust property in Hampshire. The gardeners have installed a number of wicker figures around the gardens and named the trail the Wild Wicker Walk.
Some are easy to spot but some are not (the Hawk in particular) however they kept our whole family happily busy as we hunted for them.
My favourite (they are all excellent) because of its location on a fallen log has to be the Fox.
Thanks to all the gardeners for taking the time to make these wicker characters and placing them in some beautiful spots for us to find.
This theme of ‘Memorable Meals’ is a subject that is very close to my tummy. To watch my wife Alison cooking a meal for me is an absolute joy but I have to accept that though she loves the outdoors and camping – bushcraft is not quite the same passion for her as it is for me. I do try to cook well for myself when Alison is not around but being of a military mind I usually end up tucking into a standard issue MOD rat pack.
Thankfully to help counter this laziness of mine I have a number of friends – both military and civilian – who happen to be excellent outdoor chefs. Looking at my picture library I was struck by all the pictures I had taken over the last couple of years of some fantastic meals I have eaten while bushcrafting.
One of these excellent chefs runs his own outdoor cookery school – Fraser Christian of Coastal Survival. Fraser is a qualified chef and expert forager who actually lives off the land and the sea. I have recently bought his superb book Eat the Beach on Kindle. As well as covering all the edibles on the shoreline it goes into detail on how to identify and cook plants found further inland.
I will try and explain what all the dishes were but I will mostly let the pictures speak for themselves. (I can’t remember all the ingredients.)
For me nothing beats sitting around a fire chatting and watching a great meal being produced. I usually end up with getting lumbered with cleaning the dishes but that is a fair price to pay I think.
It is always good to stop for a brew. I love my tea and coffee but a foraged brew tastes that much sweeter.
As well as Fraser, another expert chef and forager is Alan Smylie. Thankfully these two guys get along when it comes to cooking and foraging. They seem to complement each other somehow without any of the drama I have seen with co-chefs in the past.
A recurring theme in this post will be the Meat Feast pictures. Apologies to all the vegetarians reading this 🙂
As a forager it is always good to munch as you go along, and we are not just talking plants here – shrimps and fish eyes, anyone?
On trips with Fraser we catch quite a few crabs. They make an excellent stock.
Breakfast is something I tend to get left with so at least there is something I cooked here.
Fraser and Alan live off the land and they showed me an excellent way to cook sea bass parcelled up in the embers of a fire. This method of cooking ensures the fish stays very succulent.
I made sure not much remained of the bass.
Walk on the sea shore and you will see limpets everywhere. They do not take long to cook and are great on their own or added to a stew.
I think the patties were made up of the leftovers of a previous day’s meal.
All these meals included foraged ingredients.
Cooking rig experiment – pots set at different heights for boiling and simmering.
Some more protein.
I took this picture after Fraser had done a class on cold smoking mackerel in a cardboard box. After this we broke up the smoked mackerel and added it to a stew.
Before and after pictures.
In between classes a quick and easy meal is an omelette
The stove in the picture below is actually an old cutlery drainer and we were using pine cones as fuel.
Last of the Meat Feast pictures. I enjoyed every one of these roasts.
Omelette for breakfast this time………..
…..sometimes it can be fish, potatoes and eggs………..
…..but there are days when only a bacon buttie will do.
Even the cat eats well here.
I hope you enjoyed these foraged food and feasting pictures.
I am aiming to get back down to see Fraser again in the near future for some more fabulous bushcraft-style belly fuel.