Our Head Chef Joe took advantage of his time visiting his parents as he took his beautiful daughter Margot around the countryside of Vale of Belvoir, foraging for local ingredients to use in his home kitchen. Below Joe gives us his personal account of what he found and what he will be using the ingredients for.

Vale of Belvoir is a scenic countryside area oozing natural beauty around the borders of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire & Lincolnshire.

Joe's Parents Home

My parents live in the Vale of Belvoir which has a lot of good local products and is well known for its milk and cheese - which we always take advantage of. The village next door is the home of Colston Bassett Stilton, that's got to be my favourite.

Time to set off!

So I set off on a trip with Margot and our dog Oates to find some wild ingredients. Not far into my walk I managed to find some Wild Horseradish. It's pretty hard to spot as it's not that obvious this time of year but Margot and I dug it up and found some pretty good roots. Oates got stuck in too!

Back in the kitchen I grated Wild Horseradish on some stir fried cabbage. If you're foraging in October time the root will be lovely and juicy.

Hoe Hill Woods

After the Horseradish we carried on to a wood we go to often. We found a patch of wild garlic, although this was hard to spot. We all got picking and managed to take an abundance home with us.

Wild garlic is such a versatile ingredient that can be used in many ways. I find the best way is in a pesto with some other green leaves (see recipe below). I also used this pesto in an Orzotto Primavera (see recipe below). Orzo is a small pasta which I use instead of risotto rice, it gives a much silkier texture to the risotto.

Grantham Canal

After finding the wild garlic, I went up to the Grantham Canal which runs through the area. We found a small amount of Dog Hips (Part of the rose hip family). I would say it's still a bit early for them, they are best to be picked at the end of the summer. If you find any on your forage you could try making syrup to use as a cordial with sparkling water.


Super Greens & Wild Garlic Pesto


  • 1 Leek, Roughly chopped
  • 50g Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • Large Handful wild garlic leaves (washed thoroughly)
  • Handful of cavolo nero (stripped from the stalk)
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Get a pan of seasoned water up to the boil and add the chopped leeks.
  2. Cook the leeks for 1 minute then add the cavolo nero leaves and cook for a further 30 seconds.
  3. After that add the wild garlic and cook for a further 20 seconds.
  4. Drain the greens through a colander reserving a little of the cooking liquid for later..
  5. Rinse the leaves under cold running water to cool immediately, then squeeze out any excess water with your hands until fairly dry.
  6. Add the leaves to the blender with the pine nuts, parmesan, salt and pepper and a small amount of the cooking liquid.
  7. Blend until smooth and slowly add the olive oil until the desired consistency is reached.
  8. Check the seasoning and store in the fridge until needed.

Orzotto Primavera

Serves 4


  • 2 Shallots finely diced
  • 1 courgette (Finely diced)
  • 2 spears asparagus (Tips shaved, bases roughly chopped)
  • 1 lemon
  • 30g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 750ml veg stock
  • 125ml white wine
  • 50g butter
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 50g broad beans (Shelled)
  • 250g Orzo Pasta
  • 5 sprigs Tarragon (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Wild garlic pesto


  1. Firstly sweat the shallots and garlic in the butter until softened, then add the courgettes and asparagus bases and cook for around 5 mins.
  2. Add the Orzo pasta and coat in the shallots and butter for around 2 mins, then add the white wine and cook out until it has gone.
  3. Now add about ⅓ of the stock and stir the orzo around constantly as it cooks ,for around 5 mins, to make it creamy.
  4. When that liquid has nearly gone add the next ⅓ of the stock and cook in the same way. At this stage try the pasta to see if it is cooked, you still want it to be al dente, If it is not cooked add smaller amounts of the liquid until it is cooked. NB the pasta doesn’t soak up the liquid in the same way rice does so be careful not to add too much stock.
  5. At this stage add your broad beans, peas, lemon juice, creme fraiche and Parmesan. Cook it for another minute and take it off the heat.
  6. Add the chopped tarragon and wild garlic pesto and check the seasoning.
  7. Serve with the shaved tips of the asparagus and freshly grated parmesan over the top.