Friday, April 27, 2012

Cooking with Declan

Welcome to another Cooking With Declan slot!

If there is one thing that my Mum really loves, it's foraging. Now, before your imaginations run riot, what I mean is, searching fields and hedgerows for wild food stuffs. Most commonly this happens in Autumn when we go out and pick Blackberries and Sloes. Mum makes several bottles of Sloe Gin which we keep for Christmas. Okay.... We keep some if it for Christmas!  She has a romantic notion of going out before breakfast to collect mushrooms from the fields, but Other Mum says she is not allowed until she has been on an identification course, as she will probably end up killing us!

At this time of year Mum loves to go along our favourite canal walk to pick Wild Garlic (Ramsons)  Even an idiot less experienced person like Mum can't fail to recognise this stuff; you smell it long before you reach it!

Here in the UK, the season lasts from about mid-April to end-May

This is me in my lovely new coat. (The Wild Garlic is behind me....!)

This is a duck we saw on the canal - you can just make out her newly hatched ducklings next to her!

Anyway, I digress, Back to the garlic.

Once Mum has a large bag of it, we are rarely allowed to eat anything else! One of her favourite recipes is for Wild Garlic Pesto. It is really easy to make and very tasty.

You will need:

80 g wild garlic leaves (stalks removed)

50 g parmesan (or similar hard) cheese

50 g pine nuts

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

100 ml olive oil + some more for topping up the jar

You can use any nuts or seeds that you like, Mum often uses Walnuts instead of pine nuts.

Basically grab your food processor and grate the cheese. Replace the grater with the blade attachment and put in half of all the ingredients, blend until smooth and gradually add the remaining ingredients and continue to blend. Place the pesto in steralised jars. Cover the top with olive oil. This recipe will make about enough to fill a 300g jar. It will keep for a couple of months in the fridge.

Mum hasn't tried it, but has read that if you make the pesto minus the cheese it will keep for a year if refrigerated. You then just grate the cheese and add as needed. 

Mum hasn't made any Pesto yet. She plans on going back to our garlic patch next week when she is back from Ganny's. Have I mentioned she is going to Ganny's WITHOUT me.?!

With our current batch of leaves, Mum has been making Wild Garlic Mayonnaise for everyone that we know! You can make your own Mayo from scratch, obviously, but really, isn't life a little short?!

Anyway, grab a jar of your favourite Mayo and put in a bowl. Add lemon juice to taste. Finely chop about 8-10 wild garlic leaves per 750ml jar of Mayo and stir in. Easy and really really good!

Well I do hope you've enjoyed today's recipes. Whether or not I speak to you before next week sometime will depend largely on Other Mum, who is being left in charge! I have mentioned I'm being abandoned, haven't I?.......................