We are the first to admit that we are not really gardeners but over the years we have learnt a bit about growing vegetables. Most years the polytunnel keeps us supplied throughout the summer months but we are not quite so good at producing over winter. Every spring we prepare the ground, adding fertilzer from our extensive muck heap but this year we had a little bit of extra inspiration from the programme, The Big Allotment Challenge. It made us realise what we could produce if we put our minds and more effort into it.
The spuds are all planted and starting to show through the weedproof membrane and we have dozens of seed trays full of all sorts (none of which are labelled so we will be guessing what they are when they emerge). At the moment the only things edible are lettuce and herbs.
However there is one plant that pops up year after year with no input from us, the wild garlic. This year it seems to be the trendy ingredient for a lot of recipes. Not only does it have a fantastic flavour but it looks very pretty too. It seems to grow just about everywhere so whilst you are out walking your dogs, see if you can spot some. It’s even being sold at some farmers markets – they’ll be selling stinging nettles next! Every year we use it in a variety of ways and freeze it for use later in the year. One of our favourite recipes is wild garlic pesto, simple to make and delicious with pasta. Though traditionally made with pine nuts and basil, it can be made with just about any nuts or herbs.
Why not give it a try?
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 80g wild garlic leaves
- Couple of sprigs of lemon balm (optional)
- 50g grana pandano (or parmesan) cheese
- 50g walnuts
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 50ml sunflower oil
- 50ml olive oil
- Wash the wild garlic leaves, lemon balm and dry them carefully
- Chop the leaves finely in a food processor or blender
- Grate the cheese
- Roughly chop the walnuts
- Add the cheese, salt and pepper to the wild garlic mix and blend
- Add the half of the oil and blend
- Add the walnuts and blend
- Add the remaining oil and blend
- Spoon the mixture into a sterilised jar and top up with olive oil so that the pesto is covered
- Store in the fridge until used