We have been busy with foraging workshops over the last few weeks and I promised to put up some seasonal recipes for you. So here we go! Always remember that if in any doubt  with a plant, flower,berry or fungi, please seek expert advice before you cook up!. The recipes  here are all very simple and from common plants, and trees. Happy cooking up!

Nettles 2015

Nettle Soup
55g butter
300g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
100g onions, chopped
100g leeks, chopped
1 litre Veg. Stock
150g young nettle leaves, picked using rubber gloves, stripped from their stems and chopped
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the potatoes, onions and leeks and season well. Put the lid on the pan and cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured.

Add the stock and boil until the vegetables are cooked, about 10 minutes. Toss in the chopped nettle leaves and simmer uncovered for another 4-5 minutes until the nettles are soft and wilted.

Liquidise or purée with an immersion blender. Season to taste and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Nettles are at their best in early spring and summer. just before they flower. Avoid using them after they have flowered.

 A small basket of Primroses
2 egg whites
Caster Sugar as needed
A small flat paint brush
A Tweezers
A wire rack for drying
Only use perfect Primroses
Take each flower and remove the stalk and any green material at the base of the flower.
Make sure the flowers are completely dry.
Beat the egg whites until frothy.
Have your caster sugar on a saucer at the ready and your egg whites.
Grip the base of each flower and ‘paint’ back and front with the egg white. Dip the brush into the caster sugar and paint each flower, making sure the surface of the flower is fully coated with the sugar. You can use a sugar shaker to cover any missed bits.

Carefully place each flower base side downwards on the wire rack. Dry in a warm place. E.g. near your oven or a hot press. This is recipe from Roger Philip’s great book Wild Food.

Steamed Alexanders
Pick the stalks before the flowers open. Cut the stems as low as you can. Trim into pan-sized lengths and then peel with a knife as you would rhubarb Boil in salted water for about 6-8 minutes until completely tender. Serve piping hot with ground black pepper and butter using one or two of the young leaves to decorate.
Any left overs are lovely in salad.

Caution. Make sure you identify this plant carefully before cooking. If in doubt – leave it out.

 Wild Garlic_test
Wild Garlic Pesto
  • 50g fresh wild garlic leaves
  • 25g pine, cashew, hazel or chestnuts
  • 200ml organic olive oil or better still Irish organic rapeseed oil
  • 40g grated, parmigiano-reggiano or really mature Desmond
  • organic black pepper and sea salt

Blitz the nuts and half the oil in a food processor and add in the grated cheese. Then add the wild garlic and blitz with the remaining oil to the right consistency. Then simply season, to your taste.

The Wild Garlic Pesto is a deep dark green Pesto with attitude, a pesto with a strong taste of wild       natural garlic and its lush woodland dwellings. What you also get is ‘bottled spring and summer’.

Use it as a dressing over salads, bake into your favourite bread dough, add to any pasta dish or mix with butter and slip under the skin of a chicken roast…the list goes on, just use your imagination and go wild!

Recipe from Biddy White Lennon.

 Nettles 2015
Nettle and Cheese Scones
  1. Rinse the nettles under running water and dry them in a towel or a salad spinner while continuing to avoid direct contact.
  2. Remove the stalks and add them to a frying pan.
  3. Lightly wilt them on a medium heat – no need for any oil.  The stinging capability will be gone as they wilt.
  4. Keep turning the leaves until they all wilt but don’t overcook them.  The final volume of nettle leaves should be about two heaped table spoons when roughly chopped.
  5. Set aside on a plate to cool.
  6. 175g (6 oz) Self-raising Flour
  7. 1 heaped tsp Baking powder
  8. 1/2tsp Mustard powder
  9. pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  10. 25g (1 oz) Butter (at room temperature)
  11. 50g (2 oz) Cheddar cheese, freshly grated finely
  12. 25g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated finely
  13. 1 large egg
  14. 4 x 15ml spoon (4 tbsp) whole milk
  15. Continue as follows:
  16. 1 – Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
  17. 2 – Mix the salt, pepper, baking powder and the mustard  powder in a bowl.
  18. 3 – Continue by rubbing in the butter which has been chopped into small pieces.
  19. 4 – When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs add most of the cheese – leaving a little for topping and mixing it in lightly by hand.
  20. 5 – Add the chopped nettle leaves and continue to lightly mix the whole mixture until they are all coated with the rest of the ingredients.
  21. 6 – Lightly whisk the egg and the milk and add it gradually to the dry mixture.
  22. 7 – Mix until a soft and almost crumbly dough is formed.  Better results can be produced if you use your hands as you can feel the texture and avoid making the dough too wet.
  23. 8 – Gently form the dough into a ball and place it on a lightly floured surface.
  24. 9 – Roll it out to approximately 2cm thick.
  25. 10 – Grease or line a baking tray with a non stick sheet to stop the scones sticking.
  26. 11 – Up to 8 scones can be produced from this recipe. Cut them out in approximately 7cm diameter pieces and lay them out on the tray.
  27. 12 – Brush the scones with milk and sprinkle the remaining cheese on each scone.
  28. 13 – Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden/light brown.
  29. Delicious!
  30. A friend gave me this recipe and it is delicious! Enjoy