We have had a lovely summer of prehistoric cookery day and weekend courses.
Outdoor wild cookery is perfect for the spring and summer months. Although we had the Mongolian Ger this year (in case we got really rained on or off!) so far we have not really had to use it and we have mostly been able to cook and eat outdoors. This weekend we cooked a lovely piece of venison wrapped in dough in the pit oven. It worked really well and the dough kept all the meat juices inside, keeping the venison lovely and moist. I was really pleased, as venison is far less fatty than lamb and can easily become dry.
We enjoyed Meadow Sweet cordial and Nettle beer in the sunshine! We ate vegetables from the garden, mixed in with wild foraged greens and mushrooms, including; Chanterelles, Hedgehog mushrooms, Sorrel, Nettles, Yarrow, Red Clover and Meadow Sweet. For pudding on Saturday we made Wild Raspberry and Meadow Sweet dumplings, which we pot boiled with hot stones.
On Sunday we covered trout with dried grasses and Ribbed Plantain leaves and then smeared it all with clay to cover it completely. We gentle heated our precious clay parcels by the fireside, until they were hard and the fish inside was perfectly cooked. We accompanied this with flat breads cooked on hot stones and wild mushrooms, followed by Red Clover pancakes cooked on the griddle over the fire- just delicious!!
Evidence of all these cooking methods have been found dotted around the British Isles and many of them are still used around the world today. It is always hard with the evidence we are left with to be one hundred percent certain of the way things were done in the past – but what we can be sure of is, when something works well and produces really good results it is quite likely we have done it before. It is human nature to experiment and find new and interesting ways of doing things. Our prehistoric cookery days and weekends offer a taste of experimental archaeology, trying things out to see if they work!
So far it has been a great summer of cooking, foraging and feasting!