Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Wild Garlic Pestou

I tootled off on my bike today to get some wild garlic to make pestou. I have long suspected that there is a short cut from the school down to the Taff Trail and today I found it! so now I can frequently wave goodbye to Piglet, assuring her that she is having the best time of her life, then leg it hurriedly off to have the best time of my life. 

(Gosh, sometimes I still wake up and say to myself: "Thank God I don't have to go to school any more.")

Bluebells galore
Sadly I had to undertake my quest alone. Alas! Swiss Army wife! my companion of yore. No longer shall we drop our kids at school and run off laughing to the beach with some M&S macaroons. (OK, maybe I have been reading/watching too much LoTR and need to get out a bit more.) Anyway, an evil full time employer has realised Swiss Army wife's enormous potential and lured her off into a proper job, gah, so I went to pick the wild garlic by myself. I also wanted to see the bluebells1. I had a leisurely browse along the tree-hung river banks. At one point I noticed that the trains coming out of Radyr were reflected in the river waters so I hung around for 10 minutes waiting to photograph one. I figured if anyone asked what I were doing, I could say: "waiting for a train," but in fact nobody minds what you are doing when you are out and about on a trail of considerable natural beauty. You are clearly enjoying it and that is all that matters. By 10 am I was home already with a good crop of garlic leaves and a healthy appetite.

From Vintage Book collection blog.
Gosh, that made me feel a bit old! LOL
Yellow Archangel
Wild garlic pestou (or pesto) is gorgeously delish and one of those things you can forage for, but which is not acksherly free food at all at all. The garlic grows freely in abundance in woods and along tracks, however it costs a bundle to buy all the nuts 'n cheese etc etc which you need to add to the wild garlic and make it proper. It reminds me of a book I had called Nail Soup, in which a man blagged himself a night in an old woman's comfy house by telling her he could teach her to make soup out of a nail. ("I used this nail quite a lot and it's getting thin. I suppose you do not have a pinch of flour to add to the soup?" "Oh, if only we had a little meat and a few potatoes, this soup would be fit for a Lord!" until the old woman has contributed the ingredients for a grand stew, plus a bottle of wine and they are having a fab party dancing on the tables.)

Violet growing on the banks by the path.
I looked at a number of recipes to get an idea of how to make the thing. They are a bit variable. Some say wilt the leaves first, others (Food Urchin) will fling themselves on the leaves in the natural state, crying: "Aslan is back! Aslan is back!" (I enjoyed reading his blogpost recipe the most!) Many say add some shallots, or even domestic garlic but that seems a bit strange to me. This is how I made my pestou, and it was so tasty that I was hardly able to tear my tongue from the mixing spoon when I gave it a lick. 

The iced buns have nothing
 to do with the recipe, they 
just looked too yummy
 to leave in the shop.
2 handfuls of wild garlic leaves (about 100g)
50 g walnuts (you can use pine nuts)
50 g Parmesan cheese (you can use other hard cheeses)
150 ml olive oil 

(If you want to gild the garlic flower, you can also add one - or I suppose all - of the following, to wit: lemon juice, shallots or spring onions, a couple of cloves of garlic, parsley.)

Whiz it with the blender. (To wit, to woo! Tee hee hee.)
Sterilise some jamjars you have been providently keeping about ten or so years for this very moment. (You can do this by pouring boiling water into them.) Put in the pesto, add a little olive oil on top to keep it fresh. Stick it in the fridge. Apparently it lasts a few weeks like that. If you can prevent yourself from snarfing the whole lot in two days.

Still not sure what this 
pretty flower is called.
I ate mine with some potato gnocchi. It was so gorgeous that I couldn't stop eating long enough to take a photo! 

1 James - this footnote is just for you, LOL. Big *HUG*.

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