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Guest Blog: Alison Henderson | Cooking fish outdoors

Guest Blog: Alison Henderson | Cooking fish outdoors

Who are we?

We are Dave, Jules, Ali and Rob, all good friends and are fire and food fanatics.

What do we do?

We teach, make fire, forage, cook and entertain – in the Wild! Ingredients and the environment are hugely important to us and shape what we do and our ethos:

  • local
  • seasonal
  • sustainable
  • simple – the ingredients are the star of the show, not the wizardry of the chef

On 4th August, Dave and Ali hosted ‘Fire & Feast #2’ – a full day, hands on workshop when participants learnt how to cook in the outdoors, deep in The Woods of East Lothian.

Backwoodsman skills of building and maintaining fire and wild cheffing skills such as ponassing fish (curing and then hot smoking it over fire) roasting, baking in salt & cooking in an earth oven were all covered.

We then kicked back, late afternoon for a magical Woodland Feast around the campfire.

The Feast

To start, a fire cooked to taste of the sea:

  • Ponassed Sea Trout ( cured & hot smoked over fire )
  • Sea Bass, wrapped in Sea Kelp and baked in the embers
  • Condiments – Wild salsa verde, Pickled foraged gooseberries
  • Woodland Foraged salad with a wild garlic vinaigrette

The Fish

Photo credits go to @helsmac @al.macchiato @feastcoaster
Alison Henderson, cookery school teacher, cooking our fresh mackerel
Alison Henderson
Forager, Chef, Educator, Outdoor Enthusiast….

Fish is an important and delicious mainstay of the Scottish larder.

It is delicate and low in fat, it requires careful cooking. Using traditional backwoodsman skills and cheffing know how, we showcased some amazing fish, sourced locally for us, by James Dickson & Son in Cockenzie.

  1. We cured a fabulous side of Sea trout overnight, to firm up the flesh and hold onto flavour. After rinsing and drying, Dave then whittled new growth wood to make a frame to ‘ponass’ the fish over the fire and gently hot smoked it. We broke the fish into large flakes and crisped the skin off further on the fire…delicious with some freshly made Wild salsa verde, pickled gooseberries and foraged salad.
  2. We had some whole, fresh Sea Bass, gutted and cleaned by James Dickson & Son.
  3. We stuffed the cavity with some foraged herbs and Wood sorrel for acidity. Jules and Ali popped down to the beach and foraged some Sea Kelp. We washed this and used it to carefully wrap the fish, before carefully baking it on the embers.
  4. We want to continue to amaze, inspire and entertain!

So…we are popping up, deep in the woods of East Lothian… Saturday 14th September…let the story begin…

We want to provide the best outdoor dining in the woods experience they have ever had – this ain’t no teddy bears picnic!

We will be using very carefully sourced, grown, nurtured, foraged ingredients, handled and prepared with the utmost of care, appreciation and some devilish techniques delivered to you straight from the fire.

Fish – game – nuts – plants – grains – seeds – berries – spice; just a few inspirations that make up our arrival snacks and four fabulous following courses…

We are running 3 more outdoor courses this Autumn, focussing on Foraging for Fungi on 08/09/19 and 06/10/19 and a Seashore & Rockpool Foraging day on 22/09/19.

For more details and to book, visit the following link – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/wwwalison-hendersoncom-19840…

Fire cooked Feasts on both days…and the seashore workshop will cover foraging for, and cooking cockles & mussels and cooking lobster in an earth oven. Lots of opportunities to learn about preparing and cooking delicious local seafood!

Alison has been showcasing her skills by cooking outdoors on an open fire using whole fish and different techniques.

Please get in touch with Alison to go on one of her amazing forest foraging and woodland cooking courses.

To keep an eye on our adventuring, give us a follow on Instagram @thewoodlandcollective or via my website at www.alison-henderson.com.

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