Deal has a lot of hidden gems and one of them is Deal’s very own wild food expert Lucia Stuart. Lucia has a passion for discovering and cooking with local edible plants, herbs and seaweeds and runs a series of wild foray days and weekend events throughout the year.
I was lucky enough to meet Lucia on a family coastal forage afternoon where we collected wild fennel, seaweed, dandelion leaves, common mallow leaves (the roots of this plant were used to make the marshmallow sweet) then used our ingredients to create yummy scones, seaweed soup and wild fennel tea. My kids loved the whole experience – normally we search the beaches for interesting pebbles and stones and ignore what’s actually growing there – now we know what edible plants to look for.
If you are looking for something a little bit different on your next visit to Deal I would highly recommend joining Lucia on one of her day long (4-5 hour) wild food forays that includes a 4 course lunch (£48 per person fully inclusive). Here’s a taste for what’s on offer:
Sunday 16th March: ‘Spring Leaves for Health’. Learn how to identify in the wild and cook nutritious spring plants in cocktails, family recipes and desserts. From wild garlic pesto to homemade dandelion pasta to nettle ice cream.
Sunday 13th April: ‘Edible Seashore‘ Forage for coastal plants & British seaweed in dramatic white cliff scenery with fresh water streams. The luncheon menu: dulse & linseed bread, sea lettuce butter, wild fennel risotto & seaweed crisps.
Sunday 11th May ‘Flowers & Meadows’: Explore ancient meadows and seashores for edible flora & Roman pot herbs. Eat hawthorn salad, wild leaf rice, fennel mayonnaise & rose geranium cream. Learn the gentle art of pairing flavours.
Sat 7th June ‘Elderflower & Hawthorn blossom’: A pastoral foray with a lunch of wild flower recipes taken from Lucia Stuart’s book ‘Eating Flowers’ and how to make a spectacular floral ice bowl.
Lucia’s background: In the 1990’s Lucia owned a restaurant in rural France introducing wild food ingredients to her menu. More recently Lucia’s expertise has led to recent tv appearances – visit www.wildkitchen.net for more information.
Weekend breaks at Admirals Rest holiday cottage in Deal start from £200 for the weekend in March to £220 in June.