wild garlic

last week i spent a very interesting and enjoyable day with jonathan parker learning more about food production in kent. this is part of a new project of mine to find out more about the way our food is produced and how consumers can buy the best stuff at the best prices. i’ll write more about this in the coming weeks but first of all, and because it’s still just about available, let’s talk wild garlic!

wild garlic, aka ramsoms, is reaching the end of its season but there are still patches of this prolific plant growing in shaded areas of the kent countryside. it’s easy to spot as a result of the pungent smell and the pretty white flowers which are still in bloom.

as you can see in the picture above, the leaves of the plant are quite large and it is these which we grabbed a handful of for me to try cooking with. i also took some flowers as they too have a garlic flavour – much stronger than the leaves so use the flowers with care!

i used the wild garlic in a couple of different recipes, the most simple of which was a spaghetti dish with cherry tomatoes and herbs. the wild garlic added a very different flavour to that which you’d receive from garlic cloves – much milder, sweeter and herbier. i really recommend you try it – if you can’t find a local stockist or don’t fancy a day out foraging, you can currently buy it via food4london, jonathan’s newest foodie venture.

i'm sending this dish over to sara at i'm a food blog who is hosting this week's presto pasta nights.

spaghetti with wild garlic and cherry tomatoes (serves 2)

spaghetti for 2

a large glug of olive oil

a large handful of wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped (add the flowers with caution)

15-20 cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (any fresh herb will do, choose what you fancy)

½ a teaspoon chilli flakes

zest of 1 lemon

juice of ½ a lemon

put your pasta on to cook and, in the meantime, prepare the other ingredients.

carefully drain the cooked pasta, leaving a few tablespoons of liquid in the pan. return the spaghetti to the warm pan and stir in the remaining ingredients. cover and leave for a few minutes so the garlic leaves have chance to wilt from the heat. serve with parmesan.