Last week Dave had a couple of days off and Levi was off school so we took a little drive up to Belfast to the Gruffalo Trail at Colin Glen Forest Park in Belfast. The Gruffalo trail was a bit pants to be honest, but it was just nice to get out and go for a walk and be together. As we wandered along I spotted LOADS of wild garlic so we picked bunches of it and stuck it in the bottom of the pram to bring home. Sidenote: don't leave wild garlic in your car for a long time in a heatwave. That stuff pongs.
I've always wanted to forage wild garlic as it seems to be in abundance but I've never actually come across it locally or would always find out about it too late but this stuff was so beautifully lush and perfectly in bloom (?) so I think we hit the jackpot. It tends to grow in damp wooded areas and has a little white flower on it. The leaves are a bit like tulip leaves and, like I said it reeks of garlic. Like, if you sniff it and it doesn't whiff of garlic, it's not wild garlic. That's my top-notch common sense foraging tip for dummies like me.
I've made homemade pesto before using the traditional basil route so I thought I'd give the popular wild garlic pesto a try as homemade pesto of any kind is so simple and way more satisfying than the store-bought jars. After giving birth I have been trying to naturally boost my iron so I thought I would throw some spinach in with it for that extra zing and here you have it:
Wild Garlic & Spinach Pesto
+ a large bunch of wild garlic (a good fistful)
+ a heaving handful of baby leaf spinach
+ a small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
+ 1/2 cup of pine nuts
+ 60 grams of parmesan cheese
+ 1 cup of olive oil
+ the juice of 1/2 a lemon
+ Wash the wild garlic & other leaves thoroughly (it's best to always pick or forage as far away from paths or edges of roads as you can as it's least likely to be dirty or have dogs pee on it the further back it is).
+ Toss the pinenuts in a frying pan on a medium heat until golden and toasted.
+ Once toasted, shove the pinenuts and everything else, bar the olive oil into the food processor & blitz.
+ Gradually add the olive oil until it reaches a nice pesto consistency. You can judge how oily you like your pesto. I'm not the boss of your oil rations.
+ Season with salt and pepper as you wish!
I have had tablespoons of this smothered over wholewheat spaghetti for lunch the last couple of days and it is so huge in flavour - perfect for a light lunch. You could also heap it into mashed potato a dinner side, over chicken in the oven or mix with some greek yoghurt for a nice dip!
This makes LOADS of pesto. I was able to fill this jar above (which will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks if well sealed) and a whole ice cube tray of pesto cubes that I'm freezing to use down the line. If you are freezing the pesto, make sure to pop your filled ice cube tray in a ziplock bag before you stick it in the freezer as the smell from the pesto could contaminate the rest of your food. Nobody wants their Ben & Jerry's to have a faint wild garlic whiff. Or do they?
Have you made your own pesto before? What about any other wild garlic recipes? I still have the other half of my haul to use on something so fire any other recipes or ideas this way! Bon Appetit my loves!