This photograph was taken on the 25th April 2012. See the abundant muscari, with their cheerful miniature blue flowers. Notice the height of the mint in the planter in the foreground. And observe the lush growth of lovage at the side of the planter and standing quite tall at the very back of the photograph.
I took this photograph today. Notice the few stunted muscari, and the newly emerging lovage shoots.
And here the few brave mint shoots poking their heads above the parapet! How different from last year. I wonder what other implications the long cold winter and slow spring will have for us on the food front?
Following on from my foraging trip last post, I got very busy in the kitchen as wild garlic wilts very quickly, and I didn't want my haul to go to waste. I decided to make a variety of 'foodie' items loosely following the recipes in Simple Things, a magazine I occasionally buy; although pricey it has excellent articles and recipes, and is a 'keeper'.
I made wild garlic butter:
Wild garlic oil - this is stored in a dark place for 18 days then filtered and re-bottled. It will keep for 9 months in the fridge or 2 at room temperature.
And wild garlic pesto. This will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge. (I bet it will keep a bit longer, I have covered it well with olive oil) I've also frozen some.
The more you chop or crush herbs the more pungent they become; as a leaf wild garlic is quite mild, like a faintly garlicky chive, but once crushed - oh! My word. Talk about blow your socks off! Very peppery, much hotter than rocket or watercress. In fact I will have to let each spoonful down with more oil before use. I did however mix some with hummus for my lunch today, on homemade bread and it was delicious. You could also add it to cream cheese, which would be fabulous. I'm thinking...perhaps add a dollop to a tomatoey or creamy pasta sauce ....ooooh yes!
I just need to tell you a bit about wild garlic as some folks have been asking on Facebook.
Ramsons - common name. Allium Ursinum - Latin name. Other common names are legion: Buckrams, wood garlic, Bear's garlic, broad-leaved garlic, and others.
Native to Central and western Europe. Thrives in woodland, moist, slightly acidic soils. Prolific spreader! Onion-like perennial, small white flowers which appear in May-June, by which time the leaves have become somewhat bitter.
Good for a plethora of ills: respiratory conditions, vasodilator and antiseptic. Reduces high blood pressure, is a good spring tonic for immune system, liver, gall bladder, stomach and intestine. Topical application useful for arthritic and rheumatic joints.
So there you are, go forth and forage!
My latest bread making was a bit of a visual disaster, as I was going for the 'slow food' approach and trying to let it rise long and slow, but I over-proved it and it collapsed in the oven. However, I can tell you, don't ever be dismayed if the same happens to you because it tasted wonderful!
And to continue the 'slow' theme, a quick look at some 'slow cloth' ... from the inside too!
Hope by the time next blog post is written this wind will have dropped - fed up with it now! At least the sun has been shining, and hopefully most of us will have a good weekend.