Wednesday, 16 June 2010
We recently went camping in West Wales, a lovely little site called Brynawelon (Google it, they have a website); and even though we forgot pillows, matches and charcoal and it was freezing in the nights, I still loved every minute of it. There's something quite primal about sleeping in a tent, think about it... small communities sleeping under waterproof materials stretched over sticks, cooking and eating meat huddled around a fire; that's basically a campsite. Patrick and I also went foraging for the first time, with these two great books:
Food for Free by Richard Mabey
Edible Seashore by John Wright
We didn't get enough stuff to make a meal, but I'm a lot more confident in my foraging abilities now - so that next time I go, I'll gather enough delicious things to make (or at least add to) a foraged meal. We correctly identified, and tasted: alexanders, wood garlic, hawthorn (although I knew what that looked like anyway), wild thyme, rock samphire and sea cabbage (but we didn't pick any of that as it is scarce in the wild, and the plants we saw didn't have that many leaves). There is a recipe I am desperate to try - Hawthorn Spring Pudding. You make a suet pastry and roll it into a long oblong, then you scatter lots of young hawthorn leaves and press them into the pastry, cover it with strips of bacon and roll it into a swiss roll. Then you tie it in muslin, steam for about an hour, and serve with gravy. Sounds delicious! I also want to make candied alexanders, very Redwall kitchens.
We visited Nevern church, where there are eight bleeding yew trees. Their sap is deep red. Far from being eerie, the graveyard is a beautiful place, and there is wild garlic growing on the graves which date from the 10th century. There is a Celtic cross and some stones have been carved with ogham. Obviously the site has been used for religious purposes for a long time.
Eventually we'll buy a bigger tent, with more than just one room (one for the dog, when we get one!) but I'm happy with our little tent. It's big enough for us two, there's a little porch to store the bucket barbecue and gas stove, and it's really quick to put up!
I love camping.