Wild Garlic

Saturday we went to Borough Market again to pick up a few nice treats. We came across the latest cheffy ingredient - wild garlic so I bought a bunch not really sure what to do with it but I was sure I'd come up with something.

As we walked around the market I was aware that one of the kids smelt a bit funny - oh no I thought, I don't want to do a nappy change in the middle of the market. But alas no, it was the pungent smell of the wild garlic. Also known as 'bear's garlic', 'devil's garlic', 'gypsy's onions' and 'stinking Jenny'. Well it certainly did stink.

With wild garlic it's the leaves you eat rather than the bulb and I have to say it did sort of taste of a cross between garlic & chives.

I googled wild garlic recipes and came across this one by James Tanner on Saturday Kitchen (BBC1) so having not enjoyed a Magret for a while I ordered some Gressingham duck breasts and today I attempted to make:

Roast duck breast, wild garlic gnocchi, five spice, oranges and caramel

Being prepared, I cooked the potatoes yesterday after the Roast dinner, took them out of their skins & passed them through my potato ricer. These were then ready for today to speed things up a bit.

I wilted the wild garlic with Maisy in one hand and then added the flour, egg yolk, pepper (can't use salt with kids) and the potato to the bowl with the wild garlic (which I blitzed in my cuisinart chopper or else Jasmine would declare - I don't eat these green things'.

Next I mixed it all together one handed with Maisy trying to take the bowl off the side and now I was ready to knead and roll out to make the gnocci. I managed to make about 6 long sausage lengths before Jasmine called me in tears - she'd had an accident. We're potty training at the moment and this was one of those horrific moments which requires both of us to get in the shower.

Thankfully Maisy had gone to sleep exhausted after all that bowl tugging action so I deposited her in her bed and went to Jasmine's aid. Now, you weren't expecting this twist of events were you? You thought you were reading a blog about food. Well it is but it's also a blog about how preparing this wonderful food has to fit around being a mother of 3 aged 3 & under and well...it can be tricky at times.

I spent the next 40 minutes cleaning up the bathroom and when my hubby arrived home for his lunch (in his short but unusual for the UK 1 hour lunch window) there was no lunch on the table. The duck was not in the oven and the gnocci were still sat on the side of the kitchen worktop.

But we were all clean and with Jasmine now recovered from being hoisted into the shower - YES you WILL get your hair wet & NO I'm Sorry but you MUST have a shower, that moment was happily behind us.

I set back off to work in the kitchen, duck, boil water, insert gnocci, duck in oven, fry gnocci, zest orange & lime, add wine, stock etc & finish jus, ping veg (sorry no time for anything cheffy on the veg front afterall I'm now 40 mins late). So at 12.39 I served lunch.

Lunch was enjoyable in the end, girls ate everything (which means it must have been good) and hubby went back to work happy. Kitchen is an absolute state. Girls now gone down for their siestas - all 3 of them so I am sitting down with a cup of tea typing this whilst getting ready to tackle the not so professional looking kitchen.

How was the wild garlic? I can't remember as I was in so much of a rush eating my lunch I didn't remember to capture the taste. Good news is I have loads of gnocci left over so I'll tell you tomorrow x

Brian - Wild Asparagus is hunted for round our area, as our garden had been abandoned for years I've no doubt it's become a regular hunting spot for the neighbours, so I doubt we'll find any - will look out for sorrel though.

Thanks Philip, sounds lovely - will try that :)

Suzanne, might well still be there. If so try the sorrel omelette - ordinary ones will never seem the same.

Flipping heck woman - you deserve the all new SFN "Mother of the Month" award!

I remember cooking with Max under one arm (and the girls were potty trained) and all we ate (for months) was toasted cheese.

Wear your SFN MOTM Wonder Woman style knickers with pride!


ps Will need to get Ron to design said knickers and Sandy W to sew them first but they should be with you shortly....

I drive through a little wood (on the road) most mornings and the smell of wild garlic at the moment is fantastic. I see lots ofpeople lifting bulbs/corms whatever. Would love to see some more recipes so I can stop and pick leaves and flowers and usefully use them.

I saved the flowers to decorate the plates but forgot about them, nevermind. Very pretty though. I imagine there's lots of wild asparagus about too. I saw some plants in our garden (which is really wild) bet it won't still be there in 2 weeks when we go back home :(

We have ransoms (allium ursinum) also known as wood garlic although it is well out in a field. It has the most beautiful flowers as well. I collect it in season, now, for risotto and sometimes for lamb, gnocci seems like a great idea as well. If you want to take courage into yours hands, chop some into a salad. However, there is one absolute must and that is in the traditional sorrel (oseille) omelette. Yum...