• bryonyhalsted

Illustrations for Foraging Recipes

Updated: Jan 1

1st October is World Vegetarian Day -celebrate with a hearty food-fest!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate World Vegetarian Day (1st October) than to cook up a fresh, locally sourced vegetarian recipe.

As an illustrator who loves food and finds it a constant inspiration, I regularly create illustrated recipes based on my favourite ingredients. I am also especially fond of what’s called ‘free’ food, or foraging. A lot of my hand-picked fruit and vegetables do come from our allotment these days, but the foraged food I’m talking about here, is what can be easily gathered from your local environment.

To see more of my illustrated recipes, go to

Why I’m interested in foraging

When I was younger we used to go on walks with my Mum and I’d be fascinated by all the things she could tell me about plants in the verges and hedges. Not only names and what’s poisonous -very useful! -but most enjoyable, is finding out what is ‘free’ to eat. I’m talking blackberries and elderberries, as well as which leaves from plants are safe, even if some of those tasted a bit bland.

The comforting smells of warm jam fruits cooking and seeing rows of jars in my Mum’s pantry makes me feel all homely and reminds me so much of childhood. I cannot help drawing images of comfort food and kitchen items, I think its embedded in me.

Foraging, and my day out with Wild Food UK

You might never have considered the trees you walk past every day on your usual dogwalk, or dash to the bus; that they might have tasty ingredients that could make a fantastic sore throat tonic or be exceptional as a flavoured liqueur! Many other ingredients can often be found in the average back garden, as weeds or common flowers. It is very important to have a clear knowledge of identification for what is safe to eat, however.

Earlier this year I was given the gift of attending a Foraging Course, in Herefordshire, and it taught me so much. The guide, Eric Biggane, who took us around Burford House near Tenbury, was totally inspirational, and it was a fascinating talk. They have just published a perfect pocket-sized foraging guidebook, by Otherwise publishing. It sounds like my perfect Christmas present, and essential for the correct identification of leaves, roots and fungi.

Now I have many new ideas I’m looking forward to illustrating. Wild garlic in pesto, wild sorrel and common vetch in salads, and the very subtle lime flower (or Linden) tea.

In my artwork I am inspired by the raw ingredients’ shapes, colours and textures, but it’s also a feelgood thing to share what you love about food, with other people, as you are sharing something rather personal. Hopefully my passion and love for nature’s amazing foodie offerings shine through in my illustrations, as the ingredients take centre stage.

Here’s a recipe for all those embracing Autumn, and National Vegetarian Day.

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