I visited Kew Gardens last week and ate the most delicious wild garlic and pea risotto for lunch. As soon as I returned home I googled wild garlic risotto recipes. Alas I couldn’t find any to match the brilliant green of my Kew sensation but it did fire my enthusiasm to forage my own wild garlic and get cooking.
The woodlands around Bristol and Bath are thick with wild garlic at the moment. Two of best areas are Leigh Woods (Paradise Bottom) and Prior’s Wood plus Patsy knows two superb wild garlic recipes. I made her wild garlic soup last night. It took barely 15 minutes to make, the taste was fabulous and the sheer vibrancy of green astonishing. Both recipes are at the bottom of this blog.
It’s not just wild garlic that’s worth foraging. I’ve been reading up on the subject a bit and there’s a veritable natural outdoors supermarket on our doorstep, brimming with nutrients and often medicinal qualities too. Nettle, dandelions, young hawthorn leaves, chickweed, goosegrass – all edible. If like me you want to know more, here’s some website links, books and even a Bristol based foraging walk:
- Woodland Trust blog from March 2018
- The Edible City: A Year of Wild Food by John Rensten
- Food for Free by Richard Mabey
- Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers by Roger Phillips
- Wild food foraging walk in St Werburgh’s led by Andy Hamilton
It's an added bonus of Nordic walking - the opportunity to see what's growing around us - what's in season and what we can eat from nature's kitchen.
Patsy’s Perky Wild Garlic Soup
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
4 big handfuls (about 200g) of wild garlic leaves, chopped
100ml double cream
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the potatoes and onion and toss until well coated. Season. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Add the stock, bring to the boil, then add the wild garlic and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Immediately liquidise the soup with a hand-held stick blender, then return to the pan, stir in the cream, taste and season. Serve hot with crusty bread.
Zingy Wild Garlic Pesto
The basic recipe is from the Great British Chefs website (click here). Substituting spinach for parsley works well. The pesto also freezes beautifully and using an ice-cube tray means it's easy to make small portions.