Food from my garden – May

This month I have been keeping a record of foods we have eaten using ingredients from our garden. I was expecting May to have slim pickings from our little patch of goodness. The quantites of veggies we picked were limited but we actually had far greater variety than I had expected.

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In a previous post I mentioned; rhubarb crumble, salads, wild garlic, fresh eggs, mint tea and lemon balm tea.My eldest daughter has become a top-class herbal tea maker. I think in the summer we will drink these teas cold over ice too.

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Throughout May we have also enjoyed mange-tout, radishes, fresh herbs especially basil, chives and oregano. Also ‘posh’ salads with calendula flowers, chive flowers, sorrel, numerous types of lettuces, beetroot leaves, pea shoots and a few small spring onions.

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One of my biggest crowd-pleasing dinners was pasta with homemade wild garlic and basil pesto. Here is the reciepe, I didn’t measure anything, so just use quantities you have to hand in this more or less balanced ratio.

HOMEMADE PESTO

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Take a big handful of basil and the same of wild garlic and chop them up finely.

Grate about 150g of cheddar cheese

Using a pestle and mortar, bash up handful of mixed nuts (I used half salted and half plain) Pine nuts would be lovely in here too.

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Combine the ingredients in a bowl with a good glug of olive oil and some black pepper.

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Serve over hot pasta and let everyone help themselves! Yum!

 

Food from my garden

From May till October, I hope to keep a record of what I grow and eat from my garden. Over the last few weeks we have been enjoying …

Rhubarb crumbleIMG_1555

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Omlette with wild garlic

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Salads with parsley, lettuce, radish and wild garlic flowers

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And also Fresh Lemon balm tea and fresh mint tea

 

Wild Garlic

IMG_0930Some of the first green shoots to appear in my garden are those of Wild garlic. As early as mid March I saw small, green, pointed fingers reaching for the sky. About ten years ago we stumbled across a huge patch of wild garlic in a local woodland. We had wandered off the beaten path, following our dog Frankie. We smelt the garlic before we saw it, it is such a distinctive smell and so pungent, especially if trampled under foot. We filled our pockets and feasted but then never managed to find the spot again.

IMG_1307Wild garlic growing with nettles and cleavers at the bottom of my garden.

Wild garlic is a relatively new addition to my garden. A friend of my mother has a front garden filled with wild garlic, the plants have multiplied over the years until the point where they have totally overtaken her garden and she wanted rid of them. My family and I happily took away buckets full of plants and carrier bags of leaves to make into pesto. (The pesto was delicious) I planted lots of her plants around the shady margins of my garden. It is typically a woodland plant , so happiest in cool, damp corners.

Last spring I was rather pre-occupied with a new baby boy to care for, so I left the wild garlic to its own devises. It turns out that was the ideal thing to do. as its best not to harvest leaves in the first year after planting or transplanting. This allows the plants to get established and provide a good crop the following year. My plants are now doing very well as we already have more leaves than we can use.It doesn’t keep well, so i have found picking just before use to be the best idea. I may try making pesto again and I am wondering if it would freeze well?

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I have been eating the wild garlic leaves for the last few weeks now, treating the plants in a cut and come again manner. I have been adding raw leaves to salads, stirring it into pasta sauces, finely chopping it and adding a lovely flavour to omelettes and, as my garlic breath will attest to, munching on the leaves straight out of the garden.

IMG_1026A lunchtime salad of rocket, spinach, peppers, sprouted seeds, haloumi and potatoes.

The plants will soon send up pretty star-like white flowers, these taste good too and look very pretty sprinkled over dishes. I am getting a lot of mileage from wild garlic and am glad to have such an early, pretty and tasty perennial in my garden.