Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto

Spring is well underway. It’s a great time of year and it brings tasty veg with it, some of my favourites like asparagus, jersey royals and purple sprouting broccoli. Spring is also home to those few weeks a year when you can get wild garlic!

Since I found out about it, every year I go and pick some. This weekend it was lovely and sunny and while up early walking Dexter the dog, I foraged for some wild garlic to cook with.

Wild Garlic

I’ve seen it being sold in green grocers this year, don’t waste your money! Just go for a walk in whichever woods are closest to you and the chances are pretty good that you’ll find some. Though if you’d really rather buy it, I’ll sell you some! Anyway, how to find it, you’ll know it’s there because of the definite garlicky smell that comes with it. Look for a covering of long green leaves, and later in the season there will be little white flowers too. The leaves are at their tastiest if you pick them before the flowers open, though it’s still alright to eat after, and the flowers are edible too.

Be careful when you’re out looking for it, don’t confuse it with Lily of the Valley, that’s poisonous! If you’re unsure just crush the leaves between your fingers and you’ll smell the garlic, if you can’t smell it, put it down! So, pick the leaves and, if they’re there, pick some flowers too. Don’t be greedy and take too much! The leaves won’t keep for ages in the fridge, so it’s best picked on the day you plan on using it.

Wild Garlic

It goes without saying, but make sure you give it a rinse under cold water before you use it! There’s lots of things you can do with wild garlic, whiz up the leaves with some olive oil and drizzle over anything, like roasted veg, pasta, salad, use it to dip bread in, and you can freeze the flavoured oil, it’s best done in ice cube trays then you can just pop it into a pan to warm up when you fancy it. You can also wilt the leaves like you would do with spinach. Or don’t cook it and add the finely sliced leaves and flowers to salad.

This time I opted to turn the leaves into pesto. Easy to make and it keeps in the fridge for a couple of days. It’s not an exact science, you might need to add a touch more oil or lemon or salt, just make it to your taste, but here’s the general gist for what you’ll need and how to make it…


2 handfuls of wild garlic leaves
1 lemon (you just need the juice so zest it and add that to something else another time)
1 handful of walnuts (or whatever kind of nuts you have, within reason, I’m not sure those chilli peanuts in the back of your cupboard would work!)
Extra virgin olive oil

(these clearly aren’t technical measurements, I did say it was the general gist of a recipe!)

Add a couple of tablespoons of oil, you might find you need to add more, just see how you go. Blitz everything, in a blender, with a stick blender, or in a mortar and pestle, to the consistency you like, adding oil as needed and seasoning to your taste. That’s it. I said it was easy!

Add it to pasta, on a pizza, use it as a dip, have it on a sandwich, use it however you fancy.

Happy foraging!

Wild Garlic Pesto

Roasted Tomatoes

Jamie Oliver’s Tomato Soup

If you didn’t know, I’m a lover of soup. Proper homemade soup is the best, there’s nothing better than it when you’re feeling cold and tired. It’s the ultimate comfort food for me.

I think because my memories of it were the tinned stuff that was too sweet, I’ve always been a hater of tomato soup. However, I’ve recently become a convert and started to like it, not the tinned stuff though, homemade is always better. I’ve tried this really simple recipe from Jamie Oliver for tomato soup a couple of times now, it’s the one that made me like tomato soup. But me being me, I have to meddle with a recipe!

The first time I made the soup I followed the recipe as it is. Making the soup last night, I decided to roast the tomatoes with some oregano, salt and oil, before popping them into the soup. Turned out to be a worthwhile added step, I love roasted tomatoes, I definitely think it added more flavour to the soup.

Leftovers to look forward to for lunches this week! I might even experiment and use some as a pasta sauce too.

Don’t reach for that tin opener! Give homemade soup a try. It’s easy, healthy and tasty. Try Jamie Oliver’s tomato soup, meddle with it or don’t, it’s good either way!

Spicy Thai Noodle Soup

Spicy Thai Noodle Soup

Veganuary is going well for me again this year, I’ve been cooking lots of my usual favourites and, as usual, trying out some new ideas.

You might know I’ve got a bit of a problem with cookbooks, I have lots, I bought six since Christmas… oops! To be fair they were secondhand and four of them were bargains at a penny each! For me they don’t have to be exclusively vegetarian or vegan. I like the challenge of taking a recipe that isn’t vegetarian or vegan and making it suitable. This approach to cooking has totally changed how I eat and made me try so many more things other than your typical and somewhat expected vegetarian food. Some restaurants could do with taking this approach to vegetarian and vegan food, quit with the boring standard pasta or roast veg dishes.

There’s loads of noodle broth type recipes in my collection of cookbooks. The ones that are meaty are pretty easy to make vegan, lose the meat and meaty stock and switch it out for veg or tofu and veg stock.

This recipe was created by looking at a few different recipes for Thai noodle soups. My first attempt had a real kick, so I toned it down a bit here, but if you like it hot add another chilli or two. It really depends on how hot the chillies are that you buy too, be brave, give them a taste and make a judgement for how many to add. Or, if you aren’t feeling brave that’s alright, just go with one chilli and then have some fresh sliced on the side for people to pimp their bowl with if they like it hot!

This makes enough for two. You’ll need a blender to make the paste quickly, though if you don’t have one, chopping it all up superfine, or bashing it up in a pestle and mortar will work. It doesn’t take long to make, but I’m not great at timing how long stuff takes in the kitchen, sorry!


For the paste…
1 chilli, keep the seeds in, take them out, whatever you fancy
3 cloves garlic, peeled
5cm ish of ginger, peeled
1 lemongrass stalk
4 shallots, peeled (you could use spring onions here instead)
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp turmeric
1tsp curry powder (I opted for a mild one)
1 handful of fresh coriander use the stalks for this, the leaves to garnish

50g fine rice noodles
1 tin coconut milk
soy sauce
1 lime

That’s the ingredients for the basic broth, make it your own and add whatever veg you fancy, or go for tofu, I roasted some squash and steamed some broccoli. I also sliced some raw sugar snap peas and spring onion to garnish it with.

Thai Spicy Noodle Soup Ingredients

Start by making the paste, chop the ingredients into chunks to help your blender out, pop everything in said blender and whiz it up until it’s a fine paste, you might need to add a bit of water too. In a medium saucepan, heat a little veg oil over a medium heat and fry the paste for a couple of minutes. You should be able to smell the paste, yum! Then add the coconut milk and a bit of water, the amount of water depends on how thick your coconut milk is, just use your judgement, it might not even need any. Turn the heat down as low as it’ll go and let the soup simmer. While it’s doing it’s thing, cook your veg and noodles. Keep checking in on the broth though, don’t let it boil.

When your veg and noodles are ready, add soy sauce and lime juice to the soup to taste, this is personal, I don’t want to dictate how much you should use here! To serve divide the noodles between your bowls and then pop in whatever extras you’ve used. Ladle over the soup and then garnish with the coriander and whatever other bits you’ve chosen to use. Will you go for extra chilli!?

Vegan Spicy Thai Noodle Soup

A New Year 

2016 might have been a bit of a shoddy year in terms of losing some great celebs and politics turning ridiculous, but in terms of food it was a good one. I geeked out over lots of new recipes and independent cafes and restaurants. So I’m looking forward to another good year of cooking and eating!

I intend to try out more new recipes and learn more about food and cuisines from around the world. I bought the #CookForSyria cookbook and there’s lots of interesting new ideas, plenty of veggie and vegan ones to try out. And as you might have seen I’ve got a whole host of other cookbooks to get stuck into, I might have a slight addiction!

I’m starting 2017 with Veganuary, I did this last year and it totally changed the way I eat, I eat way less dairy than I used to. I didn’t struggle too much with it, only eating out wasn’t the best, but there’s a few new vegan places opened up across town over the last year so it’s the perfect excuse to try them out! I’m looking forward to at least another month of vegan eating.

Whatever your intentions are for 2017 make it a good one!

Unorganised Christmas Cooking

It’s that festive time of year again, only a few days to go, are you ready for it!?

Every year I decide I’m going to be organised and make loads of yummy treats and snacks, this generally turns into running out of time and buying nuts, crisps and chocolate!

Every year I say I’m going to decide early what to cook for Christmas dinner, I pretty much always leave it until the last minute to decide.

This year we’re off to someone else’s for Christmas dinner, I’m going to take along a veggie main option for myself, yep you guessed it, I’m not prepared at all, still don’t know what to cook. The fridge is looking pretty bare and I’m really not looking forward to doing a food shop this last minute.

So, I’m torn between doing a nut roast of some sort, which yes, it’s a typical choice but I do love them, and I think I have most of the ingredients in to make one. Or attempting something different like a veggie wellington maybe, it’ll be a first for me so I need to decide if I have the time and if I want to risk experimenting with a new recipe or not. It’s a choice between being safe or brave, will have to see how I’m feeling on Christmas Eve!

Hope you’re all more organised than me, suggestions for recipes are welcome please!

Have a very merry one folks.

Christmas Recipe Hunting