Tag Archives: seaweed

The Survival Series Part Seven: Dillisk

Wild food, ahoy – Grab your buckets and scissors, we’re off on another seaside adventure!

This week on the Survival Series, I’m taking a closer look at a rather tasty cold water algae:

Dillisk

Also known as dulse, this algae species is mostly found in the middle to lower shore.

Characterised by its red or purple colour, it can be found in many parts of Europe and the North Atlantic Coasts of America usually attached to rocks by means of a holdfast.

Dillisk can grow between 25cm and 45cm in length and is normally harvested during spring and summer.

It’s a rich and natural source of essential vitamins with high levels of ruffage which is perfect if you’re looking for a nibble along the sea shore!

A wild food that’s very common on the west coast of Ireland, it doesn’t require soaking or cooking.

I personally love just popping a bit of dried dillisk into my mouth and chewing on it but you can also add it to salads, use it as a change to salt in soups or even drop it into a cake.

As always, happy foraging and don’t forget to source sustainably!

Movie to watch: Cast Away

(Lead image via WikimediaCommons/secretlondon123)

The Survival Series Part Eight: Pepper Dulse

If you’re a fan of foraging food and finding edible treats in the wild, this series is for you.

For those who’ve been following this blog for a while, they may have noticed that I have a love for zombies and post-apocalyptic scenarios and so, this is how the survival series was born!

This week I’m looking at more seaweeds. Presenting:

Pepper Dulse

Also known as Osmundea pinnatifida (if you’re being fancy), this very small seaweed can be tedious to harvest but perfect if you’re looking for a snack on-the-go.

The taste? Well, you guessed it, it’s salty and deliciously peppery, and can be a great addition to any salad to give it more of a kick.

The colour can vary from a dark purplish brown to a musty yellow and it’s mostly found on rocks on the upper to lower middle shore.

You need to be very careful to forage this particular seaweed sustainably, so only take a bits of it from a place at a time using a scissors.

Containing about 8% protein, pepper dulse is also high in fibre and low in fat with up to 32% concentrated sea minerals.

As good as it tastes though, I’d advise not eating too much of it because people do tend to get a bit queasy if they gobble it down!

Movie to watch: Dawn of the Dead

(Lead image via Akuppa John Wigham on Flickr)

Recipe: mashed avocado with nori on toast

A super easy breakfast that’s a tasty alternative to the traditional cereal, avocado on toast is a great treat.

What’s great about this basic recipe is that you can always add your own variations to it. The most important ingredient is the avocado, and it must be ripe or it won’t mash and spread properly!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • Half a lemon
  • Nori flakes or Irish sea salt
  • 2 slices of bread of your choosing
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop out the avocado flesh. Place into a bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice and a sprinkling of nori flakes to taste and mash together with a fork. Keep the texture slightly chunky.
  3. Pop your slices of bread into a toaster, and when they’re ready divide the avocado mix onto the slices and spread.
  4. Drizzle some extra-virgin olive onto the top and enjoy!

Note: If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can add chili flakes to the avocado mix , switch the lemon for a lime or even add a fried egg on top.

The Survival Series Part Seven: Laver/Nori

If you’re a fan of foraging food and finding edible treats in the wild, this series is for you.

For those who’ve been following this blog they may have noticed that I have a love for zombies and post-apocalyptic scenarios and so, this is how the survival series was born!

This week we’re looking at the delight that is:

Laver/Nori

This popular sea vegetable is used in many Asian countries and people may be most familiar with it from sushi where it’s often seen wrapped around the sushi rice.

A red algae, it’s also known as purple laver or black butter. It’s the most widely consumed seaweed in the world.

It grows in thin layers and sticks to rocks in the upper shore where it resembles black plastic sheets – easy to overlook if you’re not careful. You can lift the seaweed directly from the rocks in sheets or ribbons.

It’s a wild food that’s rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B12 and E and even contains more vitamin C than oranges – a handy snack if you’re jumping from rock-to-rock.

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(Dried Laver via Wikimedia Commons/SecretLondon)

Apart from using processed nori in wrapping sushi, I’ll happily nibble away at it as a snack. Forget crisps, this is a real treat.

To dry the nori out so you can rehydrate it later, simply leave it out in the sun or as I learned recently from Darach Ó Murchú, you can leave it out on your car dashboard.

As always, happy foraging and only take as much as you need. Nature will love you for it!

Movie to watch: 28 Weeks Later

(Lead image “Porphyra yezoensis” by Anonymous Powered. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Word of Mouth: Foraging with Darach Ó Murchú

“This place is in my blood” ~ Darach Ó Murchú

The wind blew the smells in my direction as I feverishly sautéed the pot of chopped almonds and eyed the seaweed like a hawk. This was an Easter Sunday like no other.

Based in Kerry, for the past few years Darach Ó Murchú has been running foraging days out, celebrating the vast variety of wild food we have to offer in the country. An experienced mountaineer and outdoor guide, I was delighted to hear that he planned to run a seaweed-specific course during the Easter weekend.

For many, seaweed instantly harks back to childhood when wary toes made sure that they were nowhere near its gooey strands.

Up early to make it out to our meeting point in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh (or Back West, as we Kerry folk affectionately call it), despite the fact that the sun was beating down I was glad to be wearing warm gear.

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A keen forager myself, I was impressed with the length of time he planned to give us for the day, which was six hours including foraging, an insight into what to do with seaweed and a short cooking session.

A group of 10 women, we headed down to Wine Strand armed with our rucksacks, scissors, notepads and bags.

He started out by asking what we wanted from the course and with our queries under his belt, he launched into educating us about the basics of foraging and reading tide tables.

Darach, a former Silicon Valley engineer, moved back to Kerry to Ceann Bhaile Dháith outside Dingle, where his mother had grown up many years ago.

As we combed the rocks like hunter-gatherers, we came across some wonderful seaweeds and his passion for wild food continued to shine through.

There are about 10,000 varieties of seaweed in the world and over 600 of them lie on Irish shores, so naturally there was no way that we would be able to identify them all!

Among the ones we met along the way however were pepper dulse (deliciously addictive), dilisk, sea spaghetti, sea lettuce and a personal favourite of mine, nori which is also known as sléabhac.

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(The delightful Carrageen that resembles a “tree of life”)

The real Carrageen Moss also made an appearance which I tend to have a love/hate relationship with (I had to have it as a drink to knock back a cold recently and had a sour puss on me all day).

Stressing the importance of sustainable harvesting, we were taught the value that this exceptional algae had, fresh, dried or even frozen.

Taking a break from harvesting, we spent 10 minutes in silence admiring the scenery and listening to the gentle swell and slosh of the waves moving against the rocks. They don’t call this county “The Kingdom” for nothing.

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Eventually it was time to head back to land where we set up camp to cook our freshly foraged goods. Invited to work in pairs and with recipes at our disposal, we got to work on five dishes with seaweed as the star.

Under Darach’s watchful eye we produced – in my humble opinion – creative food that any chef could be proud of, including a main dish of sea spaghetti with wild pesto, seaweed oat burgers, a Thai soup, channelled wrack salad with carrot and orange and a highly unusual seaweed chocolate fondant cake! It was a feast.

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Sitting down on the rocks to enjoy our meal, much to the amusement of onlookers, we had the bright blue sky and water surround us with Mount Brandon in the distance and the Three Sisters keeping watch. This was something very special.

For those who have an interest in foraging and the outdoors but don’t know where to start, this is the perfect introductory course and it’s exceptional value.

Darach was willing to share everything with enthusiasm and passion that was palpable.

You really get the feeling that he loves the subject he talks about and the foraged food that he eats.

I highly recommend heading on one of his foraging adventures because you won’t be disappointed.

The nitty gritty

  • Do bring either a pair of decent wellies or climbing boots – even if you’re a good walker, the rocks can be pretty slippy.
  • Don’t be afraid to get wet and touch everything. You’ll miss out if you’re not willing to feel things and take note of the texture.
  • If you’re not using your phone for photos or note-taking, switch it off or at least on silent.
  • Do wear warm clothes regardless of weather. You could easily get a chill if you’re not careful.

Price: €50pp for six hours’ worth of knowledge and foraging including a cooking session with all of the ingredients.

Email: darach@inmyelement.ie

Phone: 087 2153758