Head to the woods to forage for the season's tastiest ingredient. Bringing foraged produce into the kitchen is possibly the most effective way to achieve the Good Life sense of well-being. Wild garlic is a slightly more subtly flavoured relation to your standard garlic. It takes up residence in most corners of the woodlands, often setting up home between the bobbling bluebells. Recognisable by its long pointed green leaves, and white flowers towards the end of spring, it's easy to spot amongst the undergrowth.
To harvest cut the tall green leaves and stems at the base. Unlike traditional garlic, it's the leaves of wild garlic that feature most prominently in cooking. The white flowers and bulbs are edible too, but the leaves themselves taste better before the plant flowers and the bulbs are very small. If you want to use wild garlic in your cooking then Nettle and Wild Garlic soup is a delicious recipe.
- 1 small bunch wild garlic (about 12 leaves)
- 2 large handfuls freshly picked nettles
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 leek, washed and sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 1. Fill the sink with cold water and add a large tablespoon of salt. Wearing rubber gloves, add a large tablespoon of salt. Wear rubber gloves, add the nettles and wash thoroughly. Separately wash and thinly slice the wild garlic leaves.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion and leek. Cook gently until soft then add the potato and nutmeg. Cook for a further 5 minutes then pour in the stock. Reduce the heat, cover handsomer for 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Add a splash of water if it needs it.
- Next prepare the nettles. Put a large saucepan of water on the hob and bring to the boil. Get a bowl of iced water ready. Blanch the nettles for 2 minutes in the boiling water before removing with a slotted spoon and plunging into iced water. Drain and set aside.
- When the potato is cooked whizz the soup with a stick blender until smooth. Add all the nettles and most of the wild garlic, reserving a little to garnish. Blend for a couple of minutes more, then season to taste.
- Serve with crusty bread garnished with a swirl of cram, a pinch of nutmeg and a few strands of shredded wild garlic leaves.