What to eat in April- Wild Garlic

Ok we’re a bit early with this one but then so is the wild garlic!

This is the first wild spring green I felt confident about picking. I now pick a much bigger range of wild greens but this still remains my favourite.

I love it just roughly chopped in scrambled eggs and omelettes or baked in a quiche ( well I did before turning vegan!) It’s also great in salads.

My favourite thing to do with it though is to make wild garlic pesto. It packs a real punch. It’s gorgeous just stirred through pasta or used to flavour savoury muffins scones or soda bread.

So I’m sharing with you my recipes for both the pesto and wild garlic soda bread.

Happy foraging!

Wild Garlic Pesto 

Makes enough pesto for 2 jars (or about 10 servings)

Ingredients
75g almonds (or a mix of almonds and pumpkin seeds.
75g Parmesan (or pecorino for a vegetarian alternative) plus extra to serve
(optional)
160 ml virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil, plus extra to serve
75ml olive oil
100g wild garlic
Juice 1 lemon

Utensils:
Chopping board
Sharp knife
1 baking tray
Food processor or pestle & mortar
Wooden spoon
Jars or tubs for storing pesto
Lemon squeezer
Cheese grater

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Spread the nuts out on a baking tray or roasting tin. Place in oven for 10
minutes then put onto a plate to cool
3. Wash wild garlic and pat dry with a towel
4. Grate the cheese & squeeze the lemon
5. Place cheese, and wild garlic into food processor with cooled nuts and

whizz until thoroughly chopped. Add lemon juice and oil and whizz again
until forms a chunky paste. Your pesto is now ready.
If you don’t have a food processor you can finely chop the wild garlic then
grind them in a pestle and mortar with the nuts and cheese, adding oil near
the end.

Put  the pesto into a sterilised jar, cover the surface with a little
more olive oil and put a lid on it. It will keep for 2-3 weeks like this in the fridge or put into plastic pots and freeze for longer

Adaptations
You can make a dairy-free version by just leaving out the cheese and
swapping the almonds for cashew nuts. Or use a tablespoon of nutritional yeast
You can make a less garlicky pesto by using half and half wild garlic and
kale leaves
You can use any other nut in place of almonds e.g. pine nuts, hazelnuts,
walnuts or even pumpkin seeds

 

Wild Garlic Pesto Soda Bread

Ingredients

250g plain white flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
½ teaspoon ( tsp) salt
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
200 ml yoghurt
230 ml milk
4 tablespoons pesto

 

 

Utensils:

Large mixing bowl
Spatula
Measuring spoon
Measuring jug
Weighing scales
Chopping board
Baking tray
Bread knife
Wire cooling rack

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees for conventional ovens or 180 degrees for fan ovens
  2. lightly oil a flat baking tray.
  3. Weigh out both your flours in a large bowl, mix together and add your salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. In a separate jug, measure out your yogurt and milk. Add pesto and stir together.
  5. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with your hands or a spatula until it just forms a dough.
  6. Turn out on to a lightly floured board and use your hands to form into a ball.
  7. Transfer onto the oiled baking sheet and Use a sharp knife to draw a deep cross in your dough.
  8. Now just pop the tray into the oven to bake for 40 minutes until the bread has risen slightly and turned a nice golden colour. You’ll know if the bread is fully baked if it sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
  9. When you’re happy that your bread is baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. If you like you can place a slightly damp tea-towel over the loaf as it cools to prevent the crust becoming too hard.

 Serve slightly warm with butter.

Is nice toasted and topped with wilted spinach and a poached egg

Adaptions

For a gluten free version just use a gluten-free flour

For dairy-free version use, 300ml  of your usual plant milk with l tablespoon cider vinegar and  You will need to use a cheese-free pesto too. (Alternatively, just whizz 2 handfuls of wild garlic in a food processor with a little olive or rapeseed oil)

Remember to wash your garlic leaves before using!

What veg to eat in February

We plan to give you a seasonal recipe a month highlighting what’s in season each month and what you can cook with it. So let’s start with a February veg favourite of Season Well: Jerusalem Artichokes

It’s not an artichoke and it’s not from Jerusalem. These are actually grown on an allotment near Harrogate which we support a learning disability charity to manage. They are a tuber so grow underground and look like a knobbly potato. They got their name because they are thought to taste a bit like artichoke.  The plant is part of the sunflower family and the Italian for sunflower is Girasole (follow sun) which sounds a bit like Jerusalem so hence the name.

 

The plant grows very tall so is good to grow as a windbreak which is what we planted them for on our windy site. They are also so easy to grow. Once you have planted a few tubers in spring they need very little looking after. They grow tall stems and have small flowers in summer. They then die back and are ready to dig up in the depths of winter when little else is growing. I have developed a love for their nutty flavour.  

The tubers are very good for you as they contain iron, vitamin c and potassium. They also have a prebiotic effect in the gut due to the high levels of a carbohydrate called inulin. This promotes growth of good bacteria in the gut which fight harmful bacteria in the intestines, prevent constipation, and give the immune system a boost. Inulin is also thought to regulate blood sugar

Unfortunately whilst they may reduce wind on the allotment they can increase wind in your bowels. They are nicknamed “fartichokes” for the windy effect they have on some people. The good news is that the more you eat the more your body can tolerate them and the less windy you become. It also affects some people more than others.

As they are so good for you, easy to grow and so very tasty give them a go.

One of our favourite ways to cook them with our allotment group is in this delicious soup recipe. Here we mix them with leeks which are also in season this month. If you want to be super healthy you can sprout a few alfalfa or pea seeds ( or any microgreens) and serve the soup with a little sprinkling on top.

Please comment if you’d like some seed sprouting instructions or any other artichoke recipes. We’ve also made artichoke cake in other years and this year intend to try an artichoke pickle as pickling or fermenting is suposed to reduce their windiness

Leek, potato & Jerusalem artichoke Soup

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large leeks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
300g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed & roughly chopped
300 g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.2 litre veg stock
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
A little nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt & pepper
Handful of microgreens ( pea shoots, basil shoots, alfalfa sprouts)
A little cream for swirling ( we use Nooj cashew cream to keep it vegan)

Method

  1. Wash the artichokes and scrub well with a brush.Then roughly chop them.
  2. Put the artichokes in a pan, cover with boiling water and leave to simmer on a low heat whilst you do the rest of the prep

  3. Wash and slice the leeks. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic 
  4. Peel the potatoes,if using, and chop into small pieces. You can make the soup with all jerusalem artichokes (600g) if you prefer. It will be a darker colour and stonger flavour. We have done it both ways and  like the addition of some ptoatoes to lighten the soup                                                                               
  5. add the olive oil to a large nonstick saucepan and lightly fry the leeks, onion and garlic for a few minutes.Then add the cubed potaotes and fry for a few minutes more.                                 
  6. Drain the water off the artichokes and add to the pan along with the stock, bay leaf and sprig of rosemary                            
  7. Leave to simmer on a low-mediumheat for 20-30 minutes or until the artichokes are soft.                                                             
  8. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary stalk and blend the soup to the consistency you like. You can blend it totally smooth or leave some chunks                                                                               
  9. Serve in bowls with a swirl of cream  (or vegan alternative: Nooj or soy cream) and a few micro greens.

Enjoy your healthy seasonal soup.