the forager’s wild food diary – april 27th dartmoor woodland

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Just popped out back today into our forest garden because I needed to make some soup (and some dandelion and primrose wine too!). I only had five minutes to collect as I wanted to bake some bread over the campfire aswell so I had spotted a veritable field of bittercress down at spruce clearing. Wood Bittercress or Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa) is very similar to Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)  – both are members of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). The plant is also similar to watercress in both look (albeit in miniture) and also flavour. It has a slight spicyness to it but mainly it tastes strongly of cress.

Instead of a salad that I usually make out of the plant I made two soups. One was a pure bittercress soup (like a watercress soup) and the other was a slightly more complex and refined version. Both are detailed below

Bittercress Soup

Using some chicken stock cook with a couple of generous handfuls of bittercress in a pan. Then blend, with a knob of butter and maybe a dash of cream. Season with some sea salt and pepper. Then serve!

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Bittercress, Sorrel, Dandelion, Cat’s Ear, Primrose and Nettle Soup

Using some vegetable stock I firstly cooked off the bittercress, blended and sieved it. Bittercress can be quite fibrous but it gives a cressy, spicy flavour. I then added fresh nettle tips for body, primrose leaves for bitterness, cat’s-ear basal leaves for sweetness and some mature common sorrel for acidity and freshness. These flavours combine perfectly. Salt and pepper to season and a knob of butter to give the soup a glossy texture. Garnish with primrose leaves. Enjoy!

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