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w4l newsletter

christmas 2020

wild ideas for... christmas
smoked beetroot cooked in your own home made smoker over an open fire

It's Christmas and this year it will be like never before. We are all limited to what we can do, where we can go and who we can spend that time with.


As a result we at W4L have been making the most of the GREAT OUTDOORS and using it as an opportunity to combine all of these restrictions into 1 great big POSITIVE .


What better way to celebrate with a socially distance group of up to 6, outside (if you are in Tier 2) cooking, making and socialising at home.


It’s a great time to practice something new and delicious and impress your friends too.


Christmas is a time for pushing the boat out and enjoying a few luxuries, or for trying something new. Smoked salmon is always a favourite, but have you ever considered making your own?


make your own smoker:

Rather than splash out on an expensive smoking machine, why not make your own? All you will need is:

  • A biscuit tin

  • Some chicken wire

  • Some dried applewood or oak chippings - you can dry out your own if you have access to an old piece of oak or an apple tree, if not they are readily available to buy


build the smoker:

- Simply make a few holes in the lid of the biscuit tin, so that the tin doesn’t over heat and some of the smoke can escape.

- Cut the chicken wire so that it is just a little bigger than the size of the tin and fold over the sides and fit into the tin. The wire should sit above the base of the tin, but still enable the lid of the tin to fit on top.

- Sprinkle some of your wood chippings on the base of the tin. How many you need will depend on the length of time you will be smoking for and the strength of the smoke you want to make.


build your fire:

You can use a barbecue or build your own outdoor fire, but we have used a fire pit for ours. Basically let your fire get hot and then wait for the wood or charcoal to turn grey until the flames have almost disappeared and you can see the red embers glowing.

Put a griddle over the top of the fire to stand your smoker on.

WhatsApp Image 2020-12-10 at 11.06.53 (1
WhatsApp Image 2020-12-10 at

wild smokin' recipes


You can experiment with lots of different foods and kinds of chippings for flavour.

We like trout, mackerel, chicken and of course – Beetroot!


smoked beetroot with goats cheese and hazelnuts



Light your fire and allow to burn down to embers. Use the time to invite 5 friends around to share one of our #wildcocktails or some warming hot chocolate around the fire while you prepare the simple ingredients.



  • 6 small fresh beetroot

  • 1 tbsp Thyme and garlic infused olive oil (homemade) or just plain olive oil if you prefer

  • 4 large sprigs of rosemary

  • Salt and pepper

  • Foil for wrapping



- Cut the stalks off of the beetroot and cut them in half or quarters, depending on their size.

- Put the beet in a bowl with the olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mix together.

- Lay a piece of foil large enough to make a parcel around the beetroot, flat and tip the beetroot onto the middle of the foil.

- Add the rosemary springs.

- Fold the foil around the beetroot and enclose it into a parcel and fold up the ends to secure. Try to do this loosely to allow the smoke some space to circulate.

- Make a couple of holes in the foil.



Put the tin onto the embers with the lid loosely on top until you start to see smoke coming out of the holes. Remove the lid and gently place your beetroot in foil onto the chicken wire and place the tin back onto the fire.


After 30 mins, remove the tin, open the foil and insert a knife into the beetroot to test if it is cooked (the knife should push in easily). If you beet are cooked, remove the tin foil and return the beet to the tin for approx. 3 mins to really infuse that beautiful smoky taste.


Allow the beet to cool and then remove the skin, before chopping into smaller pieces and mixing with goats cheese, adding some salad leaves and sprinkling with some chopped hazelnuts (foraged from earlier in the year perhaps?)


This beetroot is simply DELICIOUS – it is great as a starter or you could serve it warm - just sprinkle some fresh orange juice and orange zest on top and serve as an accompaniment to cold meats fish.

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