The Urbane Forager

Autumn Recipes

Please send in your own seasonal recipes for foraged food. They will be added as soon as are able.

Chocolate Pear Upside-Down Cake


  • 60g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 4 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • 150g (5oz) plain chocolate
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 90g (3oz) butter, softened
  • 90g (3oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 90g (3oz) self-raising flour
  • 30g (1oz) ground almonds (or equivalent in flour)
  • Icing sugar, for dredging
  • 20cm (8in) loose-based sandwich tin, greased and base lined


Put the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and 600ml (1 pint) cold water in a large, shallow pan and bring to the boil gradually, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until just tender. Spoon pears out on to a plate and leave to cool. Keep the syrup in the pan.

Use a swivel-headed potato peeler to grate some chocolate for decorating the cake - about 30g (1oz). Set aside on a plate and cover. Put the rest of the chocolate in a small bowl with the milk and melt over a pan of gently simmering water (or in the microwave) until smooth.

Arrange the drained pear halves, cut-side down, in the bottom of the tin.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a couple of tbsp of flour as well.
Stir in the melted chocolate, then the rest of the flour. Add the almonds or more flour. Fold in gently. Spoon the mixture over the pears, smoothing the top. Bake in a moderate, 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5) for about 40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, reduce the poaching liquid to about 100ml (3½ fl oz) syrup. Before taking pudding out of the tin, make holes in it with a skewer and spoon over syrup, letting it soak in completely.

Turn out pudding. Sprinkle with the grated chocolate. Dust with sifted icing sugar, if you like. Serve warm or cold, with cream.

Blackberry and Apple Crumble


For the filling

  •        2 tbsp butter
  •       ½ cooking apple, peeled and chopped
  •       2 tbsp caster sugar
  •       ½ lemon, zest only
  •       55g/2oz blackberries

For the crumble topping


  •      55g/2oz butter
  •      25g/1oz caster sugar
  •      25g/1oz brown sugar
  •      55g/2oz plain flour
  •      lightly whipped double cream, to serve

Preparation method
1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2.  For the filling, heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the apple, sugar and lemon zest and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the apple has softened to a pulp.

3.   Add the blackberries and warm through for 1-2 minutes, then set aside.

4.   For the crumble topping, pulse all of the crumble topping ingredients together in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then rub through your fingers and thumbs for a bit.

5.   Spoon the filling mixture into the base of a dish and spread to form an even layer. Scatter the crumble topping over the top.

6.   Transfer the crumble to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crumble topping is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling.

7.    To serve, place a portion of the blackberry and apple crumble into a serving plate and spoon the whipped cream alongside.

Hazelnut Spread (Instructibles)


To make about 3 small jars, you will need:

  •  7 oz of hazelnuts
  •  1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  •  9 oz of dark chocolate
  •  1/2 cup of milk

Other materials:

  •    food processor
  •    pan
  •    mixing bowl
  •    spatula
  •    double boiler
  •    cans



  1. On a medium flame, dry roast your hazelnuts for about 10-15 minutes. The nuts should smell toasty, not burnt.
  2. Once done, set aside and let cool completely.
  3. Place hazelnuts in food processor on pulse. This takes some time, but you'll be done once the hazelnuts have the texture of peanut butter.
  4. In a saucepan with water and a bowl, melt the chocolate until smooth and just melted. You can add a pinch of salt here if you wish. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly.
  6. Now pour your hazelnut butter into your chocolate mixture, and combine. You will have a very thick dough-like chocolate mixture. Add tiny pours of warm milk until you reach your desired consistency.
  7. Take your Nut Spread through another round in the food processor if you wish to smooth things up a bit.
  8. Pour into sterilised jars and enjoy.

Goes well with everything.

Elderberry Wine


  • 2½ lb elderberries
  • Campden tablets
  • 2¾ or 3 lb sugar
  • Wine yeast
  • Nutrient
  • Water


  1. Strip the elderberries from the stalks and wash well.
  2. Put into a fermenting bin and crush. Pour on 4 pints of water. Add 1 campden tablet, crushed and dissolved in a little warm water.
  3. Boil half of the sugar in 2 pints of water for 2 or 3 minutes and, when cool, mix into the pulp.
  4. Add the yeast and nutrient and cover and allow to ferment for 5 days, stirring daily.
  5. Strain and press and return to a clean fermenting bin.
  6. Boil the rest of the sugar in 1 pint of water for 2 or 3 minutes and, when cool, add to the rest.
  7. Cover again and leave for 3 or 4 days.
  8. Pour carefully into a gallon jar, leaving as much deposit behind as possible.
  9. Fill up the jar with cooled, boiled water to where the neck begins.
  10. Fit a fementation lock and leave until fermentation has finished.
  11. Rack, as necessary, and add 1 campden tablet after the first racking.
  12. Syphon into bottles.

Makes 1 gallon of wine.

Sweet Chestnuts

I'm too busy picking apples and campaigning about blackberries to write down all the Sweet Chestnut recipes. So, here is a simple link to plenty of ideas on the BBC website...

Chestnuts can also be frozen if you have a surplus.



I'm using the same excuse and method for Quinces!

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