Gorse flowers – those small yellow blooms you find on prickly bushes on scrub and moorland – are ripe for picking most of the year. Rosie Hazleton, founder of Wild Rose Escapes in the Highlands, shares a recipe that makes full use of their coconut and almond flavour
Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is a fast-growing shrub that was traditionally used as fuel for fires and kilns before the Industrial Revolution. The coconut aroma of its vivid yellow flowers always lures me in, and I like to infuse its flavour in salads and ice-cream. I once tried making gorse flower wine but my uncle, who is a bit of a wine-making expert, says it’s one of the hardest to get right. Are you up to the challenge?
But one of my favourite things to make with this wild ingredient is gorse flower pancakes, which my children love warm with butter and blackberry jam. We cook them on a griddle over the fire, but a pan over embers works well, too.
1 cup of spelt flour
1 dessert spoon of honey
1/4 pint of milk
A handful of gorse flowers (or other edible flowers, such as violets or red clover)
To make the batter, mix the flour and egg, add the honey (as much or as little as you like depending on how sweet your tooth is). Stir in the gorse flowers, then add a little milk at a time – you may not need it all – you want it to be the consistency of thick cream. Grease the griddle with a little oil and then put on 4 or 5 small ladlefuls of batter. Get ready to turn as they cook pretty quickly. They’ll only need a couple of minutes on each side. Eat them hot with butter and whatever else you fancy.
*Always take expert advice when picking wild food; only eat what you’re sure is edible!