A Foray Into Foraging

It’s our first summer living out in the “country”.

Really, we’re just a mile and a half from the edge of the nearest town, but because there’s a big farm between it and us, it feels like more.

When a few bluebells started to pop up in our garden earlier in the month, we knew the woods down the way would likely be full of them. Come the weekend, we took a walk down to see, and right enough the path was just a ribbon of dry dirt through a sea of blue and white bluebells. Just gorgeous.

Wild Garlic

Further down, though, and the bluebells were outnumbered. The paper-white blooms of wild garlic were even more numerous, filling the air with that characteristic smell. After Mr Fiction Ed’s pesto efforts, my thoughts turned immediately to having a go at making some with wild garlic.

Up this point, I’d really only ever foraged for berries, but the leaves of the garlic are so distinctive that it didn’t seem possible to go wrong. So we went a-pickin’.

Breakfast Before Tea

I needed 100g. I had no idea how much that would be, as they’re pretty light, so we filled this massive plastic tub and brought it home. This was to be our tea, but I still had to toast the pine nuts and was getting pretty peckish, so I had a pre-tea helping of breakfast cereal to make sure I’d enough energy to see the project through. So the ingredients were as follows:

  • 1 bowl of cereal (optional!)
  • 100g wild garlic leaves (see the Woodland Trust’s website for advice on foraging)
  • 50g pine nuts (toasted in oven at 180 deg. C. for about 10-12 minutes)
  • 50g hard cheese (supposed to be Parmesan, but I used Grana Padano)
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Whiz them up in a food processer. I found it was either a food processor or nothing – our blender couldn’t catch the mix, nor could the Nutri-bullet, but the processor chewed it all up in under a minute.

The Taste Test

We tested it with our fingers, seasoned and stirred. The pasta was a bit of a hodge-podge – I thought we had a lot of tagliatelle, but I had to finish of a pack of linguine to give us enough.

Drain the water (though I once read you should leave a few tablespoons of the cooking water to help any sauce bind to the pasta, so I left a little in), and stir through the pesto.

And there it was, a pretty vibrant and healthy looking dish – the colours of a spring wood on a plate! Highly recommended and super easy.

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Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.