Over the Easter holidays, on a rare day off from oven cleaning (!) The Oven Cleaning Man clan went for a walk near Dunsford, on Exmoor. We walked alongside the river Teign as it wound through a steep-sided valley of oak, ash and birch, climbing to the top of Dunsford for great views across the moor.
We were delighted to see the daffodils looking cheery and spring like, and also to see (and smell) an abundance of wild garlic, which forms the basis for today's Foodie Friday.
Closely related to onions and garlic, ramsons similarly grow from bulbs and give off a strong and attractive garlic smell. In Europe, the bulbs are thought to be a favourite food of brown bears, hence the plant’s other name - bear leek.
Wild garlic is very easy to identify, very prolific and delicious. At this time of year there is no need to buy garlic bulbs in the supermarket - their foraging counterpart can be found in any British woodland or riverbank. Carefully pick the leaves from close to the ground being careful to leave the bulbs in the soil for next year. Pick healthy leaves that are long and bright in colour! Try and pick the leaves from an area that’s less likely to have been trampled. The best way to check that what you’ve picked is wild garlic is to crush the leaves in your palm and take a good sniff. If it smells like garlic, then you’ve picked the right plant.
To make a Wild Garlic Pesto wash 100g wild garlic leaves thoroughly. Put the leaves, 50g parmesan cheese, 50g toasted pine nuts and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a blender (or pestle and mortar for the low tech version). Blitz, adding more oil for a thinner texture, if desired. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Delicious on top of fresh pasta or as a dip for your favourite nibbles.
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