Category Where we have been…

Great ways to use wild garlic



Wild garlic is the most seasonal of seasonal produce usually available for just a few weeks around Easter time. Buckinghamshire is famously not famous for wild garlic but after a quick search and chat with a forager in the know, an area a couple of miles from Sarah’s house in Milton Keynes was found and a perfect opportunity for a lockdown outdoor activity. 

Checking the Countryfile guide first to ensure foraging was done responsibly she managed to bring back as much as would fit in the bike basket which left George the fun task of what to do with it. 


Preserving

As previously mentioned, wild garlic is not available all year round but there are plenty of ways to enjoy its delicate flavour and health benefits all year around. 

Oil

Perfect for salad dressings or in sauces, and will last for a few weeks or can be frozen. Blanch* your wild garlic leaves, wizz in a food processor and add equal parts good quality oil, then pass through a fine sieve. 

Drizzled over a white fish such as a seabass or seabream combined with roasted tomatoes and new potatoes (or even better, Jersey royals in June) 

The oil can also be used to make mayonnaise: check out this Great British Chef’s recipe to see how. 

https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/wild-garlic-mayonnaise-recipe

Powder 

Dehydrating as a preserving method is great because once the moisture is removed not only is the shelf life long but the flavour intensified, therefore not much is needed to pack a punch. 

You do not need a dehydrator for this all you need is an oven on 50 degrees. In the industry this is something we might do overnight and if you have an electric oven you can do this if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Once dehydrated blitz down into a fine powder in a food processor and store in an airtight container. 

Uses for the powder

  • Seasoning meat or vegetables 
  • Mix in with eggs 
  • Incorporate into bread flour to make a subtle garlic bread


Freeze 

Blanch and freeze to use in the future. Similar to spinach wild garlic wilts down so blanch* and either freeze into ice trays or small balls. 

*to blanch your leaves, place in boiling salted water for 10 seconds, remove and leave on the side a clean t-towel to dry 

Pickle 

Pickle the buds and use in salads or in a buttery sauce for a light white fish.

Standard pickle recipe

1 part water
1 part vinegar
1 part sugar


Semi preserved

Pesto 

Wild garlic pesto makes a great pesto, perfect for pasta and salads and will last about two weeks in the fridge. There are plenty of recipes to follow to make the pesto, with standard pine nuts, parmesan (or vegan alternative) and lemon juice. 

For a lovely, quick weekday spring dish, add your pesto to cooked gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, artichoke and roasted chicken breast. If you have a bit more time on your hands and feeling braver, try making the gnocchi yourself, see the video by Gennaro on Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel to see how:- 

Butter 

Butter will last for weeks in the fridge (you could also freeze) and is really very versatile. 

Finely chop your garlic leaves and add to slightly softened butter with a touch of salt. 

The “chef” way to then store it would be as a log**, this is so you can create small portions at a time easily with a sharp knife, but you could store in a tub or a jar. 

This butter then can be used on steaks, in garlic bread or Chef George’s favourite…the mighty chicken Kiev, 

** video on how to make a compound butter 


Eat fresh 

Add the flowers to your scrambled eggs

Pimp your pizza – add leaves to a shop bought or homemade pizza before you cook or add flowers to the top after you have cooked. 

Substitute any of your favourite spinach recipes with wild garlic such as; 
Tortilla
Sweet potato fritters
Saag aloo
Pasta sauce
Filled pasta
Risotto
Filo pie filling

BBQ Marinade – blend (Nutribullet or similar) chopped wild garlic, oil, lemon and green chilli to make a marinade perfect for chicken or even to be served on steak after cooked. 

Foraging should  be done responsibly and with permission of the land owner. Read Countryfile’s guide below to make sure you are following the rules and if in doubt always follow the Countryside Code! 

https://www.countryfile.com/how-to/food-recipes/wild-garlic-guide-where-to-find-how-to-cook-it-and-recipe-ideas/

Have you ever used Wild Garlic in a recipe or have you tried it in a dish in a restaurant? Let us know if you have and what you thought via Inspiresdining on Facebook or @inspires_dining on instagram. 


No fresher than this.

In August myself and my family swapped our usual summer trip to the states for some Caribbean sunshine in Barbados. 


Those of you that have been to Barbados will know that it has an awful lot going for it…the coffee not being one of them! As someone who has barista coffee on tap normally, the exploration of finding somewhere for a decent coffee was an amusing one, but discovering Keshwan in Coffee House Italia (that actually had oat milk) after a few days was a great find. He would have my oat milk flat white ready for me each morning as he saw me arrive, awesome service!


As a chef who works as far away from the sea as possible in the UK, obtaining fish always seems to pose a challenge, which is a shame to me because actually, I prefer cooking fish to meat. It is crazy to me that we live on an island surrounded by water but to get a reliable commercial supplier is one of my biggest barriers. Often my suppliers want to try and throw portions of fish at me rather than fresh whole fish. It is funny because I remember a conversation recently where I called my supplier for a whole fish, they said they couldn’t supply it but they could supply the fillets, baffling. 


We love a good fishing trip when we are on holiday so I was really excited that we were going to have the opportunity to do this and see what the tropical seas had to offer. As per usual my brother Jack was in his element and always catches the biggest fish. We managed to catch some barracuda, which for me with my chef head on was really exciting. Barracudas are a subtropical fish so realistically not something I will be cooking in the UK unless I am ok with the miles it has travelled or have a lot of money to spend. We have caught Barracuda before but have never been able to eat it as what they consume in the seas near Florida can make you really ill, but the sea in Barbados is much cleaner so they are fine. 


I was so happy with my barracuda, we took it back to the dock where I filleted it, wrapped it up in paper and headed off in a taxi back to our villa. There really is something so cool to think of all the processes required to get a fish to a plate at work and I just had my lunch straight out the sea ready to go on the BBQ. Never seen a cargo crate, never seen a delivery van, never seen a fridge. Literally, ocean, taxi, BBQ, plate! Awesome. 


Bucks County Show 2019

When Laura, a good friend of ID, said she was entering the Bucks County Show this year, I was instantly intrigued: what on earth was she actually talking about?! 


After a bit of research, I realised that it was right up our street. A food hall full of local producers as well as some awesome examples of home bakers and gardeners, using and growing local products.
We arrived at about 11:30am and of course made a beeline for the food tent. As a result, this meant that by 11:34am we had already sampled at least three types of Foxdenton Gin, with our particular favourite being the Winslow Plum. A quick browse on their website this morning I am gutted to have missed their Dark Lantern rum so I will certainly be picking one of them up in the future (We’re big fans of rum at IDHQ). 

The food hall was buzzing with people all there for little taste tests of what the producers had to offer. One thing you will always notice if you go to a local food market is the willingness of the producers for you to sample their product. My mum, who accompanied me for the day, questioned at one point if it is worth the exhibitors giving away so much, but knowing what it is like from the other side of the table, you spend so long mastering the products that you just want to share it with everyone. Yes, it is ultimately a sales technique but just a small conversation with any of the artisan producers and you realise just how proud and passionate they are.

After a quick lap of the food hall we moved on to see how Laura had performed in the categories she had entered items into, as well as a quick scope out of some groups we could potentially enter next year (once the ID allotment has more than just mud!). As someone who has adapted very well to suburban life in Milton Keynes I cannot lie, I was instantly taken back to my village roots, seeing all these tables full of cakes, flowers and produce. It was great! Then the educator in me also loved to see how all these people entering each class had interpreted the exact same recipe – apart from the Victoria sponges, they all looked so different. The vegetable cake section particularly caught our eye; courgettes are in abundance this time of year so we could potentially develop an ID courgette cake for next year (although a year development maybe taking it a little too seriously!). We were really proud to see that Laura had come first in class for her lemon curd, but her mum really stole the show with plenty of 1st, 2nd and 3rds. We might have to send Laura in to get some of her recipes! 


All in all, it was a really good day out; later in the day I got chatting with the Buckinghamshire beekeepers and sampled some of their local honey fudge, so that is one item I will definitely be encouraging chef George to re-create. When I went back to the food hall later on, so many producers’ presentations were looking quite bare, which was great to see. 


Now to get planning for next year…