Book Review: Find It Eat It by Michael Daly
First off, I think it’s best that you know – this book was written by one of those ‘follow your dreams types’. In other words, he’s one of us!
Michael Daly is a fully trained Chef who has worked as the Executive Chef in major hotels all over New Zealand. He also has a passion for wild food foraging. So, he quit his ‘day job’ in Hamilton to meander through Aotearoa New Zealand with his wife and young family in a house truck (as you do).
This book was born out of that journey (in fact I hear he’s still journeying, currently being ‘somewhere in the South Island’). Yes, our forager/explorer Chef man Michael Daly has written a both a cook book and a guide to wild foraging in New Zealand. Andy by gum it’s inspired me!
His surprisingly ‘normal’ recipes are full of ingredients like Dandelion (Dandelion potato gnocchi with tomato and Parmesan), Chickweed (Chickweed and potato samosa) and watercress (Sweet scallops with smooth pumpkin and water cress salad).
Yep, I reckon this book’s a winner.
Says the author himself: “My book only scratches the surface of what’s available in New Zealand. There are so many edible foods to discover, but you will find that this is a good starting point for foraging for wild foods that grow in abundance and are easy to find – foraging should be enjoyable, not stressful!”
And should you be a little nervous about harvesting plants that you previously steered clear of, he’s included a handy guide to Edible Weeds. So for example, lets look at Common Comfrey – in this guide we are shown a clear image of the plant so we can visually identify it, followed by: ‘What is it?’, ‘How to recognise it’, ‘Where to find it’ and ‘How to use it’. Very ka pai. He covers all sorts of marvelous common kiwi herbs that I myself am guilty of removing and composting, such as onionweed, plantain, purslane (a succulent, aka pigweed, containing omega-3 fatty acids which I’m told are highly sought after, just in case you needed to know), red dread-nettle, and puha.
Side note: Good! I’ve been wanting to work out how to use Dandelion as a coffee substitute.
His chapters are broken down into: Edible Weeds, From the Field, From the Seashore, and For the Pantry. He goes into useful detail about measurements, safety and introduces us to ‘other resources’ such as useful books, websites and blogs.
I really enjoyed Find It Eat It, and it’s going to the be subject of a many a conversation at my house over the next month as I cook up some of these recipes.
Dried Kawakawa leaf and red onion focaccia bread anyone?
Find It Eat It – by Michael Daly
New Holland Publishers
Members of Club Happyzine will go in the draw to win one a copy of this book!