Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wild Food - Free Food - Delicious Food

Kitty Scully and I are currently running a series of garden workshops to help people creating their own kitchen garden. Kitty is covering the gardening side while I prepare the food for the workshops with seasonal ingredients. Of course, there is almost nothing left in a garden at this time of year and considering the cold spell we are experiencing these days, it will take a bit more time but there is still wild food readily available. Wild garlic and nettles are in full season now and Kitty went foraging for us and came with 2 bags of wild garlic and a bowl of nettles...

Yuk, nettles you might say, but don't disregard them - with a little of of TLC, you end up with a delicious soup. And it is much easier than you think. Wild garlic is the rage at the moment - and rightfully so, the taste of a freshly made pesto is just too delicious - and again, much easier to make than most people think.

When foraging, the best for beginners is to join an experienced guide - it is too easy to mistake wild herbs. Also, make sure to forage responsibly - don't rip out roots, just cut of the tops, when collecting elderflowers, make sure to leave some of the flowers on to ensure that the berries can come afterwards. Sustainability is just as important in foraging as it is with all kind of farming. And as a rule - if in doubt, don't take or eat it. When collecting wild garlic keep in mind that you don't need much to make 3 jars. Don't be tempted to make more - the pesto will last 3 weeks tops. So better to go out twice to make sure you get the best.

In late April/early May, we will have a foraging day, where we will be collecting wild food and prepare it afterwards for lunch/dinner. Final details will be published soon - register your interest by emailing us on biasasta@hotmail.com

The recipe below for the pesto is only a guideline. It all depends on how much wild garlic you have. Just keep adding the oil, cheese and pinenuts until you have the consistency you want. Keep in mind that Parmesan cheese is quite salty - so keep tasting the mix before adding more cheese. The traditional way of the Italian Pesto would be to pound the ingredients in a pestle and mortar but I am using a kitchen machine - life sometimes is too short.... but it depends on your preference really - if you got the muscle - do it.
Vibrant Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto

  • Wild Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Pinenuts
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Clean the garlic leaves to make sure no grit, sand or bugs are present. Place the leaves in a kitchen machine with a metal blade and start mincing the leaves. With the motor running, add slowly the oil. When you have reached a pesto like consistency, add the pinenuts and give the mix a blitz again to crush the nuts.  Now add the Parmesan cheese - you will see that the consistency has changed again so you might need to add more oil. 

When you have reached the consistency you like, store the pesto in cleaned and sterilised jars - top up with oil to make sure that the pesto is covered. This will keep now in the fridge for about 3 weeks - always making sure that the pesto is covered in oil. 

Bon Appetit

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