Sunday, 8 April 2018

Salty, Sweet & Herby

I drafted this post about a year ago - well I uploaded photos, but for one reason or another that was as far as I got and it sat there unfinished. Then the wild garlic season passed and it no longer seemed relevant, so I forgot all about it. But as the wild garlic season is once again upon us and as it is a while since I wrote about anything food related, I decided to find this abandonded draft.


I was given this bunch of wild garlic by Helen when I took a bread making class with her last year. We used wild garlic pesto in some of the fabulous Italian breads that we made and I was bemoaning the fact that we didn't seem to have any grow near us. Although Helen was not willing to divulge her secret location for her harvest she did give me a huge bunch to take home.


Back home I made it up into a large quantity of pesto - some was used to make savoury pastry appetisers, some was stirred through pasta and the rest was put into the freezer. Easy to make and so delicious. If only I could find an abundant local source, although I'm reliably informed that Waitrose will deliver which rather seems to defeat the purpose of foraging.

Easy Wild Garlic Pesto

In a food processor whizz up 100g leaves (I added some rocket to my wild garlic), 50g pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves, zest of a lemon and 200g olive oil. Stir in 50g Parmigiano Reggiano and season with salt and pepper.

The beauty of a recipe like this is that you can substitute different leaves, oil, nuts and cheese depending on what you have to hand and get fabulous but different results each time. And so much nicer than anything you can buy


Another quick but tasty snack of which we we are rather fond are Rosemary Spiced nuts. We first tasted them with pre-dinner drinks at the Cambridge Cookery School Cafe and they were so good I researched several recipes and had numerous trial runs until I came up with something similar... sweet, salty and very addictive.


Rosemary Spiced Nuts.

Mix together 1.5 Tablespoons oil or melted butter, 1 Tablespoon nigella seeds, 1 Tablespoon of honey or brown sugar, half a teaspoon of sea salt, half a teaspoon black pepper, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary. To this mixture add 230g of nuts (I like a mix of cashews and almonds) and stir well. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated oven 170 deg C (150 fan) 325 deg F for 17-20 minutes, giving them the occasional stir. Leave to cool, stirring now and then to break them up, and store in an air tight jar... although to be honest ours never get to the storage stage.


Perfect with a gin and tonic!


And while I'm talking recipes, five or six years ago I posted a recipe for bread pudding (probably the last time I made it) and I think it must be my most viewed blog post ever. New comments are always popping up as someone else discovers it. Obviously the tag 'bread pudding' must get put into search engines on a regular basis... or something like that, not that I claim to understand!

13 comments:

  1. A delicious post. Those nuts look so tempting. I wonder if it would be possible to buy a plant or two of wild garlic from a herb farm, then you would have your own supply. I have never tried it but love the flavour of garlic.

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  2. I'm in the same boat, Gina. I know it grows locally but those who know where are keeping it to themselves. (Same with sloes!) I'd offer a swap for the location of the mirabelle plums but I suspect that the keen dog-walkers who are out and about before I'm out of bed already know! Foraging in London is ruthless - and I'm too mean to pay Borough Market prices when I know grows wild.

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    1. I don't blame you Mary... I can provide kilos of mirabelles, damsons and sloes from the hedgerows around here. But no wild garlic unfortunately and I'm not prepared to pay for it!

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  3. I love wild garlic too and eat it regularly. Or so I thought. It turns out I’m actually eating triangular stemmed leek flowers. Amazing I haven’t poisoned myself yet ! B x

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    1. You've got me wondering now if I would know the difference.... probably not!

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  4. A timely reminder! Wild garlic is very abundant along the Kelvin, alongside wild leeks and I have never seen anyone forage. Maybe Waitrose does :-)

    Those rosemary spiced nuts look delicious, I'd love a handful with a gin and tonic. Unfortunately I am working this evening and it is unlikely to happen. Next weekend. Thank you for the recipe xx

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  5. Picked wild garlic for the first time last year (there's a source so close I could probably walk to it). This year I'm planning to make a soup (didn't really have much of a clue what to do with it last time) and maybe scones. Those nuts do sound tasty. Funny, isn't it, the blog post which proves to be the most popular. I think mine is one I wrote about nightmare inducing root canal treatment!

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  6. I only know of one clump of wild garlic and its in my local park where dog walkers are aplenty so I'm not sure about the additives!!!
    Those nuts sound delicious!
    Funny you should mention the bread pudding, I once posted about mars bar scones, many moons ago now and there is never a week goes by that someone hasn't looked at it...strange!

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  7. I have wild garlic in my garden but it is nowhere near the right size for using yet. I need some sun.

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  8. These sound delicious! We've got a lot of wild garlic around the hedgerows and woods here. I thought pesto had to have basil, I'm excited to try this recipe!x

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  9. I love wild garlic. More subtle than garlic cloves I think. There are a couple of spots round here where it grows profusely. Damp woodland is your best bet, but you probably knew that. Love the sound of those nuts. Think I'm going to have to try that recipe!

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    1. For some reason it doesn't seem to be in our local damp woods... think I'll have to forage further afield!

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