You have probably walked past them on your daily exercise and dismissed them as nothing more than weeds. However, it could be that beside the coastal and woodland walks you enjoy there are a host of herbs and plants which could transform your family meals.

For renowned Edinburgh chef Paul Wedgwood, his passion for foraging and discovering ingredients to bring to his menu at the restaurant, which bears his name, has grown to the extent that he now runs courses for people who want to know more.

However, during lockdown these have come to a halt, but Paul and his wife Lisa, who run the eaterie in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, have adapted and turned the business around in the past few weeks.

And while there have been restrictions in place during lockdown Paul has still managed to keep foraged items on the menu. He has combined his daily walk with a chance to find some of the seasonal foraged ingredients to add to his dishes.

“It is quite easy to find foraged items even on a local walk and it is a case of starting off with a couple of items and being able to recognise them. You learn their characteristics the more you do it. Something like nettles are very common and can be used in a soup. For beginners starting off there are apps they can easily download. It allows you to identify plants you have found.

“It really is a great time of year to be out looking for things. I stopped off for a walk on my way back from making deliveries and found some fresh items. At this time of year you might come across elderflowers, spruce tips, wild garlic or gorse flowers. We kept a good supply of ingredients at the restaurant but it is amazing what you can find even on a walk 20 minutes away. Hopefully we will be in a position to look at the foraging courses some time in the future.”

During lockdown Paul has been running a home delivery service which has proved to be a big hit, selling out on the website every week.

He said: “I could really see what was coming and we decided very quickly to adapt the business and run a takeaway and delivery service. There is an element of having to finish the dish off at home, but it comes with simple instructions and everything would be done at the same temperature to make it that bit easier.

"People have been sharing pictures of how they have been plating up which has been great to see.”

He added: “This has definitely been a steep learning curve in business and taken us out of our comfort zone as it was a case of how are we going to put our kind of food into plastic boxes, but I really couldn’t be prouder of what we have managed to achieve.

"We have been delivering some slow-cooked brisket and confit pork belly for people to be able to finish off.”

Paul and Lisa opened the restaurant in 2007 based on their vision of the perfect night out, and they pride themselves on offering a warm and relaxed dining experience.

However, while they opened their doors to critical acclaim, in the background the couple were facing a legal battle to even use their own surname as the name of the venue.

Paul said: “We had informed pottery firm Wedgwood about our intentions to open and regards the name. It is after all my own name so of course I wanted to use it. They seemed OK about that initially then not long after we had opened we learned they were taking legal action.

“It was 18 months later that we finally won that battle, but it was something we could have done without when we had first opened.”

Paul started his career in the Lake District working in a variety of establishments from gastropubs to fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurants. It was while working under celebrity chef John Tovey at Miller Howe in Windermere that he was particularly inspired.

His ambition was to open a fine-dining restaurant where we could showcase his fine-dining talents, but in informal surroundings.

In 1999 Paul opened the Georgian House Bar in Kendal and six years later, on a visit with Lisa to his parents in Edinburgh, the couple’s dreams started to become realised when they found the venue for Wedgwood the Restaurant.

Paul hopes one positive that might come out of the lockdown and restrictions is the way people shop and consider where they buy their ingredients.

“People seem to be shopping more locally and using butchers and fishmongers more than going to large supermarkets. A lot of these types of businesses have adapted and one of our meat suppliers who normally only supplied to trade has been delivering to the public. Staying local and supporting local businesses can only be a good thing,” added Paul.

Top five foraging plants to find on a coastal walk

1 Sea Aster

2 Samphire

3 Orache

4 Sea purslane

5 Sea rocket

Top five foraging plants to find on a woodland walk

1 Hogweed shoots

2 Wild garlic

3 Spruce tips

4 Elderflowers

5 Sweet cicely

Recipe: Jack by the hedge Vichyssoise

Serves 4


75g butter

1 chopped onion

75g foraged three cornered leek stems

800ml water

1 large potato, peeled, diced and rinsed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

75g foraged Jack by the hedge/garlic mustard

75g goat’s cheese

75ml hot foamed milk (optional)

Deep fried foraged nettle leaves

Pinch cumin

Pinch white pepper


• In a heavy bottomed pan, add water and potatoes with a good pinch of salt and boil until potatoes are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside

• Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook until softened and then pour over the boiled potatoes and water

• Blitz the mixture in food processor until smooth. Add water if required to the correct consistency. Pass through a sieve

• Check seasoning and chill in the fridge

• Blanch the Jack by the hedge and three cornered leeks for 10 seconds in salted boiling water and then refresh in ice water

• Add the Jack by the hedge and three cornered leek and blitz again until smooth. Check the seasoning again

• Serve with some crumbled goat’s cheese, frothed milk, a pinch of cumin, some crispy fried nettle dusted with white pepper and a three cornered leek flower

Recipe: Pistachio and sweet cicely pistou

Serves 6


100ml anise syrup*

2 stems of sweet cicely

25g good quality green pistachios

*To make the anise syrup yourself – add 100ml water, 50g sugar, 1 star anise to a pot. Bring to boil and reduce to 100ml. Strain the syrup, cool and store


With a very sharp knife finely dice the sweet cicely leaves and stems

Crush the pistachio nuts to a fine dust – better quality nuts will release oil but don’t worry about this

Mix together the nuts and sweet cicely

Add the anise syrup until the desired consistency is achieved

Recipe: Paul Wedgwood’s Stinging nettle panna cotta

Serves 6


100ml full cream milk

400ml double cream

3g powdered agar agar

150g nettles blanched, refreshed and dried

Pinch of caster sugar

Salt & white pepper


1 Bring milk and cream to the boil with caster sugar, and salt & pepper.

2 Whisk in agar agar and leave for two minutes then add the nettles

3 Liquidise for about five minutes and pass through a fine sieve

4 Pour into moulds and chill until set

5 Turn out and garnish with crushed peas and beetroot crisps

• This recipe can also be done with wild garlic