The foraged flavours of fen and forest are creeping back onto our menus and into our pantries. Nasturtium leaves seem to garnish every other dish on Great British Menu and sea vegetables are no longer the stuff of Dahlesque children’s nightmares. Distinctive, delicious and free to all those who know where to look, these oft overlooked roots, shoots and leaves are officially back on the culinary map. Join the foraging revolution with our handy little seasonal guide.
Wild Garlic Pesto
recipe by Keir Ballantyne
Who doesn’t love pesto? This twist uses an interesting mix of foraged herbs and leaves for a punchier flavour. Try it spooned over white fish or roast chicken, stirred through rice or grains or tossed with thinly sliced raw vegetables, salad leaves or new potatoes.
- 120ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 200g wild garlic leaves
- 100g nasturtium leaves
- 100g spinach
- 20g chives
- 100g walnuts
- 120g Berkswell cheese (or Parmesan)
- ½ lemon
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the cloves of garlic. Gently cook for ten minutes or so, being careful to not let the garlic burn. Leave to cool.
Transfer the oil and garlic to a food processor and add the wild garlic, nasturtium, spinach and chives. Blitz.
Add the walnuts and cheese and blitz again to combine. Squeeze in the lemon juice, and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Transfer to a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Loganberries in Elderflower Pickle
recipe by Keir Ballantyne
This is such a good way to preserve these tasty berries and enjoy them throughout the year, adding a tangy tartness to both sweet and savoury dishes. Try them with your morning yoghurt or pancakes, on top of tarts and ice cream, with game, wild venison or mallard, or even alongside a decadent cheese board.
You’ll need an air tight mason jar for this recipe.
- 500g loganberries (washed)
- 70g fresh elderflower (washed)
- 300ml white wine vinegar
- 150g caster sugar
- 100ml water
Start by sterilising your mason jar. This ensures that no unwelcome cultures start growing in your pickle. To do this, heat your oven to around 160-180°C. Wash the jar and lid well in warm soapy water and rinse properly then place the wet jars upside down on a clean roasting tin. Dry them in the oven for around 15 minutes.
To make the pickling liquor, put the vinegar in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and whisk to dissolve. Turn off the heat and steep the elderflower in your vinegar and sugar pickle brine. Wait until the liquid has cooled to around 40°C.
Place the loganberries in the jar and add the pickle brine along with the elderflower. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours then transfer to the fridge where they will last for up to a year.