Yesterday was a fantastic opportunity to get to the South Coast. A sweltering 29 degrees (C) meant the moderating influence of the coast was much sought after. This time we headed for Budleigh Salterton with its shingle beach, rock shelf and salt marsh – right at the mouth of the River Otter. This kind of place is almost perfect foraging – there are a number of different habitats all of which have the potential to yield food for most of the year. The sea, the inter-tidal zone, the area just above the high tide mark, the salt marsh and the river with its banks meandering inland. All bordered by grassland and woodland.
Today we hit the rock pools at low tide – skipping the shellfish because of the warmth of the weather (there are many mussles, winkles, dog whelks and limpets to be had). Prawns were harvested from the seaweed margins of the rock pools. Sugar Kelp, Dulse, Sea Lettuce, Laver, Carageenan (Irish Moss) and False Irish Moss were foraged in quantity for various planned dishes. As the tide came back in we reteated to higher ground and picked sea purlsane, annual sea blight and marsh samphire (glasswort) from the saltmarsh along. To rounds things off we headed briefly inland picking some common orache, some elderflower, some rose petals, crow garlic, wild carrot, hottentot figs and some meadowsweet.
Back home I set to creating a range of appetisers, snacks and dishes from the forage – links to the dishes and recipes are below.
- sugar kelp crisps
- soused sea purslane
- steamed and buttered samphire
- spider crab, laver and oat patties
- sea beet and wild mint spanakopita with crow-garlic dip
- seaweed, elderflower, rose and meadowseet panna cotta