This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Foraging - Wild Garlic

Foraged from our small woodland
wild garlic leaves, primroses, rosemary.

A few years ago my friend Dominic, of Belleau Kitchen fame, was kind enough to tell me where there was an enormous stretch of wild garlic growing locally.    It was alongside, and running up, a small hill, on a leafy little loop of road which I rarely use.  It was a revelation and so pretty with the white flowers and pungent with the smell of wild garlic.

Max and I decided that our little patch of woodland would probably be ideal for cultivating some of our own, so we obtained a few bulbs, planted them, protected them from our free-ranging hens, and then hoped for the best.

Success!  The wild garlic is now happily growing in several parts of the wood.   Luckily for us our hens do not seem inclined to sample it, garlic flavoured eggs just wouldn't be good, especially in a chocolate cake...or egg custard.

Wild garlic has the same medicinal properties as garlic but the taste is much milder, but I love the flavour and the colour in food.

I picked a basketful and decided to make some wild garlic bread with it.

I added a good handful of finely chopped garlic leaves to my bread dough and continued as normal.

The result was superb.   A herby, slight garlic flavour permeates the whole of the loaf.   It makes a wonderful base for a sandwich, excellent toast and flavoursome croutons.   A delicious seasonal treat.

Bread is my greatest weakness, I can resist chocolate, cakes, biscuits, crisps - please note that I said 'can' not 'do', but good bread is definitely my absolute favourite food, and this one is a winner.

Nettle and spinach soup with wild garlic bread.

I dried a basketful of leaves in the lower oven of the Rayburn.  By the following morning they were crisp and crunchy and ready to be finely chopped and then put into tiny spice jars, wild garlic salt.

Useful for sprinkling on savoury dishes to give some colour and a tiny hint of garlic flavour.

Did I mention how wonderful the garlic bread was when toasted?  Just a hint of garlic not overpowering but a definite flavour.

I made garlic bread croutons, they disappeared almost before I could take a photograph.

Just one more thing - don't forget to add wild garlic to your scones.   A good handful of finely chopped wild garlic, along with some grated parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper and some good English mustard powder and the resulting scone is light and full of flavour.

So good that people came back for seconds and thirds.

My dear daughter finally conceded that I make better scones than she does, for today anyway.


  1. that bread looks delicious!!!

    1. Hi Sol, It is so good that I made it twice - and will make more before the wild garlic dies down.

  2. Ahh. So glad to have found you here! I went to our secret wild garlic spot yesterday and am happily munching through bucket loads. Love the bread. That's a grand idea. I shall make it!

    1. Hi Dom, It's a wonderful seasonal delight; thank you so much for telling me where to find it. It seems to be very happy in Owl Wood, spreading nicely. It will soon be swamped by the Queen Anne's Lace when the woodland becomes a sea of frothy white flowers for a few weeks...how can this year be moving so quickly?