Of all the family food, fun and foraging outdoor events I've done with my friend Mandy from Mud Pies we have really been very lucky with the weather. A couple of drizzly spells have been as bad as it got. Our luck had clearly run out by the May Bank Holiday weekend when we held this year's Wild Garlic Bear Hunt. The weather forecast was pretty horrendous. Rainy, windy and cold with a severe weather warning to boot. But the show must go on. If the bears could brave the elements so would we.
They might not have felt like it at the time but our morning group of 40 intrepid adventurers got the best of the day. No spirits were dampened as everyone was equipped with wellies, waterproofs and lots of enthusiasm and we headed off on the search for cuddly bears and stinky bear garlic. We wandered via the Shell Housie down to the Glaslaw Burn and saw and smelt the swathes of wild garlic. No flowers yet but plenty of luscious leaves and buds. Bags were filled and the next mission commenced. The quest to find the perfect stick to cook damper bread and toast marshmallows on. Back to base camp and time to get shaking and making butter in jam jars. Alas our best laid plans of warming the cream to make things easier were thwarted by the weather. It got very competitive at this point with the Dads in particular engaging in vigorous efforts to be the first to separate the butter and the buttermilk.
Pesto pounding came next. Wild Garlic, salt, pepper, Scottish rapeseed oil, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts ground together in perfect proportions to make each families individual secret pesto recipe. Thanks to all my friends who rallied round and lent me an assortment of Pestle and Mortars for the day. Whilst one half of the group made pesto the other half made Damper Bread. Self Raising Flour and a pinch of salt mixed to a dough with milk (or water). Rolled into a 'snake' and wrapped around the end of a carefully chosen and peeled stick before cooking over the fire.
The hardy souls who joined us for the afternoon session unfortunately really did get the worst of the weather. It was lashing it down by this point. But we still managed to forage, shake, cook and feast on dampers, butter, pesto, marshmallows and lots of hot Ribena, tea and coffee. I definitely need to bring my hip flash next time. A wee tot of something would have gone down a treat.
Where these events are concerned the morning after the day before always means lots of washing up, sorting out and tidying away. Plenty of mud on everything and lots of soggyness to dry out. But every cloud has a silver lining. Whilst I got on with the dirty work boy shook up the remains of the cream to make lots of butter, girl used the buttermilk to make pancakes and we all whipped up a batch of wild garlic hummus. Tasted amazing and really is as Kermit green as it looks in the photo.
WILD GARLIC HUMMUS
Blitz the following together with a stick blender or in a food processor
Handful of Wild Garlic leaves
Tin of Chickpeas, drained
A good splash of Scottish Rapeseed Oil
Couple of spoonfuls of Tahini or Peanut Butter (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Small amount Harissa Paste or Ras El Hanout (optional)
Although we are now nearing the end of the season there's still some wild garlic out there, certainly in this neck of the woods. I asked my fellow food bloggers if they had any wild garlic recipes to share. Here's what they came up with, plus a couple more from me. Bookmark them for next year if you've missed the boat this time round.
Feta and Wild Garlic Muffins from Recipes from a Pantry
Wild Garlic Pesto Pinwheels from Foodie Quine
Cheese and Wild Garlic Scones from Farmersgirl Kitchen
Sweet Potato, Wild Garlic and Spinach Soup from Munchies and Munchkins
Spring Roast of Scotch Beef with a Wild Garlic Pesto Crust from Foodie Quine
Wild Garlic Scones from Rough Measures
Beetroot, Walnut, Wild Garlic and Goat’s Cheese Brunch Muffins from Tin and Thyme