Autumn wild foods with roadkill squirrel

Autumn wild foods with roadkill squirrel

For me, one of the greatest pleasures of eating wild food is that you never quite know what you are going to come home with and which new flavour combinations may present themselves. As a result, using wild ingredients requires a fair amount of pragmatism and the courage to try something new. Through my #DailyWilds project I have discovered (sometimes through bitter mistakes) some pleasing new combinations of ingredients and have rarely eaten the same recipe twice. But just because they work for me, doesn’t mean to say it will work for others. I believe that not only taste, but the actual way we detect flavour can vary greatly between individuals. So, while I have provided here some recipes and descriptions that work well for me, I urge you to tread the untrodden path and find what suits you.


And to wholly contradict that last paragraph, I should also say that some combinations are tried and tested winners – gooseberries and elderflower, chanterelles and eggs, cep and parmesan – spring to mind! Quite a few are country classics (sloe gin, elderflower champagne etc) I have adapted  from classics like Food For Free by Richard Mabey or Wild Food by Roger Phillips, running forward with a few new twists.

My general advice to any aspiring wild food cook is to keep things simple until you really get to know a new ingredient. Unfussy steaming, sautéing, pickling or just eating raw with a sympathetic dressing is often the best way to get intimate with the pure flavours and striking textures of wild plants and fungi before finding ways to combine them with other flavours.

fungi in oils and vinegars

Many of the dishes described below don’t have an accompanying recipe. This is often because I can’t actually remember what I did, and partly because I would rather suggest ideas than prescribe recipes. The exception is my wild mushroom risotto, which is perfect! ;).

Where there is a recipe, please treat weights and measures as indications of proportions rather than strict forlmulae – cooking is an art, not a science. I would be delighted to hear of any improvements or new ideas in the comments box below.

I post most of my writing on drinks uses of wild plants on The Botanist website – see here.


Galloway bloosom mead

How to make mead easily with wild plants


Foraged dashi with reedmace and clams

Foraged dashi broth, with reedmace and spoot clams


mile-high wild pie

Mile High Wild Pie


Foraged cocktail – Wild Whisky Sour With sea buckthorn and birch syrup


Sweet cicelys ruin

“Sweet Cicely’s Ruin” foraged cocktail


Islay Spring Cocktail

“Islay Spring” foraged cocktail – including how to make wild amaro and ground ivy shrub


ferment jar from above

How to lacto-ferment wild greens



Dock, dandelion and nettle spring puddings


Wild fruit leathers

Super Simple Wild Fruit Leathers




wild sushi

Wild Sushi Rolls


Pickled fish with pink purslane

Herring pickled 3 ways with pink purslane, beetroot, pumpernickel, smoked egg, creamed roe, preserved chanterelles, hedgehog fungi & jelly ear, sweet elderberry vinegar and gorse flowers.


Elderberry vinegar (and other fruit vinegars)


Ultimate wild mushroom risotto – with ceps, puffballs and chanterelles


Horse mushrooms stuffed with sweet cicely

served on seared puffball steaks with summer foliage (ground elder, wood sorrel, hogweed buds, self heal, bush vetch)


Wild watercress and parmesan tart


Amanitas, decievers, girolle with meu and self heal.


Braised pheasant with winter chanterelles and root vegetables.


Spring weed salad


Seared scallops with spring foliage: wilted ramsons, nettle tops, reedmace, sweet cicely puree, wood sorrel, saxifrage


Char-grilled pheasant in pitta bread with sea radish and yogurt


Elderflower champagne


Reedmace flour






Spoots stir-fried with sea radish pods, wild garlic and sorrel






Steamed marsh samphire with poached egg and langoustine






Chanterelle and spring onion tart






Sweet pickled marsh samphire






Cep and bacon tart






Raw cep, parmesan, wild herbs






Wild fennel, broad bean and colrabi salad






Roast guinea fowl with japanese knotweed sauce and steamed sea kale






Seared venison liver, battered parasol mushrooms, beetroot and sweet ciceley compote





Giant puffball steaks, roasted with bacon, tomato and cheese





Smoked haddock and orache tart






Spoots marinated with wood sorrel, ramsons and sweet ciceley






Roe deer fillet with chanterelles and pickled walnuts






Elderflower turkish delight






Wild watercress, nettle and ramson soup






Elderflower and gooseberry fool






Spring stir-fry

Japanese knotweed, elderflower and sweet ciceley puree – for fool, sorbet or with yogurt

Japanese knotweed savoury sauce for game

Sea bass stuffed with sweet ciceley and sorrel

Stargazy Pie – langoustine, rabbit, and chicken of the woods

Meadowsweet ice cream

Sloe and meadowsweet gin

Watercress and nettle soup

Samphire, reedmace and pignut stirfry

Mussels with ground elder and ramson

Salt marsh lamb with samphire salt, anchovies, rosemary, garlic and steamed marsh samphire

Sweet pickled marsh samphire



  • chris says:

    Hi mark I make sloe gin every year but have never put meadowsweet in
    Could you please tell me how much meadowsweet you put in

    Thank you

    • mark says:

      Hi Chris. Its quite subtle, so make sure you get the flowers at their aromatic prime (ususally a sunny july morning) and put lots in – I try to add at least a quarter by volume. Sometimes its almost imperceptable, others it gives a lovely sweet bouqet. You can also cheat and add few drops of almond extract!

      • chris says:

        thanks i already add almond extract to my sloe gin cant wait to give medowsweet a try. great web site for formative
        thank again


  • Claire P says:

    I am glad that I came across such a good website for different kinds of recipes. And pictures too are looking amazing. Got a website worth a follow! I would love to try that horse mushrooms. It’s really mouth-watering.

  • Wendy Szczepanik says:

    Hello Mark,
    Once again thank you for including my daughter and I in the mushroom foraging course this past October in the Lake District. Beth would really like to have the recipe for the cake that you had. We have looked on your website and cannot find it.
    Thank you in advance,
    Wendy (from Canada)

  • Lucy says:

    I was wondering if you can cook pignuts? I heard they taste a little like chestnuts and wanted to use them as chestnut substitute in mushroom and chestnut stuffing.

    • Mark Williams says:

      Yes, that sounds good. Though I think their crunchy texture wouldn’t be as soft as chestnuts. They maybe lend themselves a bit more towards stir fry.

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