wild garlic

wild garlic
a-foraging we will go, a-foraging we will go!

This year the wild garlic was out and about in Cornwall when we were there at the beginning of April before Easter! It was early here in Surrey too – so I have only just caught the tail end of the fabulous foraging opportunity. I went out with a friend yesterday and we managed to follow our noses down to the river Mole and forage some fabulous fresh leaves and flowers.

When Aars and I saw the wild garlic around the castle at St Mawes I had to give it a good sniff as the leaves were different to the leaves of the wild garlic we get in the wooded areas around the river here. They were narrower and tougher, (more like blue-bell leaves in shape) the leaves I forage locally are morel like spinach leaves!

Hopefully there will still be a lovely crop out this weekend so you can go foraging for some scrummy fresh leaves with your friends. They are noticeable by their pretty white flowers and their strong garlic smell! There is no room for confusion or doubt, when you find them, you will do so by being led by your nose.

wild garlic
foraging with care, off the beaten track

Forage  with care and awareness, off the beaten track (away from the paths where foxes or dogs may have marked their territories!) We popped a plank over the stream and picked our leaves and flowers when no path had yet been trod. You want to pick the larger wild garlic leaves as the small ones wilt really quickly and become un-usable within hours. We picked some of the lovely flowers too – they are so pretty and taste like fresh bursts of chives when you sprinkle them over a salad or savoury dish.

I forage both the leaves and the flowers with a good length of stem so that I can pop them into a jar full of water as soon as I get home – but be warned they do pong the kitchen out with their strong garlic scent! As always when foraging only ever take as much as you will use :)

I go equipped for foraging wild garlic with a brown paper bag or brown paper to wrap my leaves and flowers in, and a light fabric bag so that they don’t get bruised or crushed. As soon as I get home I bung both the flowers and the leaves in jars of water.

One of my favourite things to make with wild garlic leaves is wild garlic pesto. It’s really simple and really yummy, the flavour of garlic from the foraged leaves is so much more subtle than the cloves we’re used to using in our cooking. If your family is fine with nuts you can add pine nuts to your pesto for some extra depth. I keep mine in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for when I fancy it!

The wild garlic pesto is delish drizzled over our home-made tomato soup with a contrasting drizzle of tahini! It’s also great on pasta and courgettie spaghetti and our home-made gnocchi.

I love the leaves as part of a fresh salad, with a few of the beautiful wild garlic flowers sprinkled on top. The flowers taste more like chives than garlic and are really pretty too!

If you do choose to cook your wild garlic treat it as you would spinach – it barely needs any cooking time at all. I made my herby gnocchi this afternoon with tomatoes and wild garlic cooked into the mix it was YUMSVILLE! If you fancy a subtly flavoured naan bread give our gorgeous wild garlic and coriander naan breads a go. They are simply scrummy :).

There are a few recipes below for you to try with your foraged wild garlic! Happy hunting and have a fab rest of week!

smiles and love,
Rai x

herby vegan & gluten-free gnocchi with wild garlic

herby vegan & gluten-free gnocchi with wild garlic

Gnocchi are lovely comforting Italian creations, but I find the plain ones a bit bland so here are my lovely herby gnocchi with some scrummy wild garlic and other fresh ingredients. Really easy to make and even easier to eat. 

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: serves 4
Cooking Method: bake, boil & sauté!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 jacket potatoes
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • grind of salt
  • grind of black pepper
  • fresh thyme ( a few sprigs)
  • fresh rosemary chopped fine (a little goes a long way!)
  • ¾ C plain gluten-free flour (we use Doves)
  • 1 flax*gg (3 Tbs water & 1 Tbs ground flaxseed)
  • ground chilli powder
  • 2 chillies diced 
  • 28 halved baby plum tomatoes (or other fresh small tomatoes)
  • fresh herbs - I use thyme, rosemary and chives chopped
  • big handful of foraged wild garlic leaves - throughly cleaned and cut into ribbons
  • squeeze of lemon

Method:

  1. Bake the jacket potatoes until lovely and soft (about 80 minutes in a 180°C fan oven).

    herby vegan & gluten-free gnocchi with wild garlic
    lovely herby dough

  2. Make a flax*gg. (3 Tbs water & 1 Tbs ground flaxseed)

  3. Once the potatoes have baked, remove the flesh from the skin and mash or put through a ricer.

  4. Mash in the oil, salt, pepper and herbs.

  5. Stir in the flour. Then create a well in the centre of the dough and add the flax*gg and combine it by hand until just combined. (If you overwork it the gnocchi will end up heavy and dense).

  6. Split the dough in two and on a floured surface form into a long dough sausage about 2cm thick.  Cut the sausage into gnocchi pieces about 1 cm long. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

  7. Add the gnocchi to a pan of boiling water.  Simmer for a few minutes until they start to float. 

  8. Drain the gnocchi and leave them to steam dry for a couple of minutes (I pop them in my colander to steam dry so they don't stick to each other). 

  9. Add some olive oil to a frying pan, heat up on a medium flame. Once the oil is hot add your freshly made gnocchi and chopped chillies and sauté for a few minutes until both sides of the gnocchi are nicely coloured. I sprinkle some ground cayenne pepper on the gnocchi before I turn it over.

  10. Once the gnocchi is nicely coloured on both sides bung in the tomatoes, wild garlic, herbs and flash fry.

  11. As soon as the tomatoes start to  cook it's time to serve. I serve my gnocchi with fresh basil leaves and foraged wild garlic flowers sprinkled over the top.

wild garlic & coriander vegan, gluten-free naan bread

wild garlic & coriander vegan, gluten-free naan bread

Lovely fresh naan bread - this one is especially special with foraged wild garlic leaves and flowers on it as well as coriander.

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: makes 5
Cooking Method: baking
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • ½ C hot water
  • 1 Tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • grind of salt
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 1/3 C coconut yogh*rt (we use koyo natural)
  • 1 ¾ C gluten-free strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp easy fast action yeast
  • TOPPING
  • oilve oil
  • wild garlic leaves
  • fresh coriander leaves and stalks
  • nigella seeds

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients as listed above in the dough part of the recipe (from the hot water down to the yeast) and knead together for about 15 minutes. (I use the dough hook on my Kenwood Chef for this job)

    wild garlic & coriander vegan, gluten-free naan bread
    ready to bake

  2. Cover and leave to rise in a warm spot for a few hours.

  3. Preheat oven to 220°C (fan oven), with a baking tray in the oven to warm up with it.

  4. Knock back the dough on a floured surface and split into 5. Roll the five bits of dough into balls and place all but one of them into oiled clingfilm.

  5. The fifth ball of dough roll out into a tear-drop shape until it's about 7mm thick. Cover with oiled clingfilm. Then one-by-one, repeat this process with the other balls of dough. 

  6. Once the oven has reached 220°C take out a couple of your tear-drop naan and spread the oil around and then sprinkle as much wild garlic, fresh coriander and nigella seeds as you fancy on them. 

  7. Take your baking tray out of the oven and put your naan bread on and pop them back into the oven ASAP! Cook for 7 minutes.

  8. While they bake prep the next two. Once they come out of the oven wrap in a clean tea-towel to keep warm and get the next two in. Once they are all baked dig in.

Notes:

These go beautifully with our sweet potato curry! 

vegan & gluten-free wild garlic courgettie spaghetti

vegan & gluten-free wild garlic courgettie spaghetti

This is such a speedy, super tasty and healthy meal to make. Full of delicious, fresh ingredients, the tomatoes give it a lovely sweetness. I serve ours with a generous drizzle of my simple wild garlic pesto drizzled over the top. Really simple & really yummy.

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: serves 2
Cooking Method: steam/fry
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3 small courgettes 
  • 25 small vine tomatoes (we use vittoria/cherry/little pomodoro)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • wild garlic pesto
  • wild garlic flowers to sprinkle over the top

Method:

  1. Make your courgettie spaghetti by using a spiraliser; chop all the tomatoes in half. I grind a load of pepper and himalayan salt on the tomatoes as soon as they are chopped up.

  2. It only takes a few minutes to cook so make sure you have done all your prep before you turn the heat on under the pan.

    courgettie-spaghetti
    courgettie spaghetti ready

  3. If you need to make the wild garlic pesto do that now too. (It is basically 3 huge handfuls of fresh basil leaves and about 6 glugs of olive oil in the liquidiser and blizt!)

  4. Into a heavy based pan add 2 Tbs of olive oil. Put on a really low flame/heat and allow the oil to slowly heat up.

  5. Once it's warm add the courgettie spaghetti you have made. Stir it in so that all the courgettie spaghetti is coated, turn up the heat, dump all the tomatoes in with their salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and leave to cook on a high heat for about 3-4 minutes. 

  6. Serve straight into the bowls, add the wild garlic pesto to the top of the servings. You can see from the photo I love to sprinkle some of the wild garlic flowers over the top - they are so pretty and give lovely little bursts of subtle wild garlic flavour.

Notes:

I make the wild garlic pesto before I start preparing the courgettie spaghetti.

A few people have messaged me to ask how to spiralise - we use a simple hand-held spiraliser you can see it here.

wild garlic pesto

wild garlic pesto

You cannot get more basic than this wild spinach pesto! When the wild spinach is in season there are fields of strong smelling white wild garlic flowers which line our local river - The Mole. We forage the leaves and flowers (off the beaten track). You need to use the leaves as soon as possible as they wilt rapidly, the smaller the leaves the faster they wilt, so gather the larger leaves for use. The flavour is mild in contrast to the scent. No worries about allergens with this recipe either, sometimes simplicity is the best way and I think that is definitely proved in this wild spinach pesto. 

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: half a small jar
Cooking Method: liquidising
Prep Time: 12 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins

Ingredients:

  • 30 large wild garlic leaves (rinsed & drained)
  • 6 glugs of your best olive oil
  • good grind of black pepper

Method:

  1. Slice your wild garlic leaves into thin ribbons (I use a pair of scissors); then bung the lot into a liquidiser* and add the olive oil. 

  2. Pulse them together a few times to ensure everything gets chopped down.

    wild-garlic-pesto
    leaves rinsed & ready to use

  3. I have to push the leaves back down between pulses (this is the time-consuming part of the process, but only takes about 4-5 minutes.

  4. Once everything is chopped down you can add the black pepper and blitz it all into a pesto.

  5. Pop into an air-tight jar and keep in the fridge, ready for use. 

Notes:

*I use a liquidiser which attaches to my kenwood chef. Don't use a spice jar as it cooks the wild garlic making it go slimy & loose it's lovely mild flavour! A food processor will work if you don't have a liquidiser.

When it's time to use your pesto pop it into the dish at the last minute. You don't want to heat it up or cook it as it will go into a slimy consistency and loose some it's delicious flavour and goodness. We love ours on courgette spaghetti, as a dressing over salad, and I love it drizzled over my homemade tomato soup.

I love to add a sprinkling of the wild garlic flowers over the top of all of these dishes too - they give little bursts of fresh chive flavour to the meals. 

 

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