I love food, right. You get that. Why else would I have started this blog? I also like free. Who doesn't? So when I get the chance to combine the two, I do so with gusto. We are often found nosing around the verges and woods of Leeds looking for seasonal edibles that we can share with the local wildlife. Often the birds beat us to it. We never take more than we need and we never strip an area bare, that's not the way it works.
The act of foraging is covered in law and it's a little complicated as it changes from country to country within the UK. A good rule of thumb is don't take from private property and don't harvest to sell. This includes making and selling jams etc. from your gathered goodies. We enjoy sharing our finds with others in the area, so much so that Z started a facebook group where people can show off their latest finds. There are now 65 members and we don't know half of them so we can't be the only ones enjoying the free harvest,
Yesterday, as it is that time of year, we went to three Christmas Markets. One in Holbeck, one in Holbeck Urban Village and one in the city centre. Leeds isn't that big, the weather was cold but in a good way and the parking in Leeds is legendarily bad, so we set out on foot. Between the first two markets we stumbled on a road we hadn't previously walked down, in the heart of Holbeck's industrial past. We were actually looking for interesting photo opportunities, not foraging, but we noticed a planter full of thyme. We stopped to take a snap for the FB group and my eyes started to wander. They fell on yet more thyme, the verge was full of it. The only plants that weren't thyme were sage. I couldn't believe our luck.
I did a quick check through the inventory in my mind and remembered that we still had some Swillington Farm Pork in the freezer. Thyme stood still but the sage came with us. A little down the road and the food Gods once again smiled on us. There, growing in the lea of a derelict warehouse wall, stood an apple tree. It was as if Holbeck had wanted me to eat the pork the whole time.
Back home I softened half an onion in butter, added the chopped sage and mixed in a couple of handfuls of bread crumbs. Once the chops were fried on all sides I topped them with the crumb mix and put them in the oven until crispy and cooked through. Served with boiled potatoes, peas (the best frozen veg) and the Holbeck apple sauce. Delicious.