Wild Garlic Kimchi


There is still a bit of wild garlic season left and I have found a new use for this fab wild leaf. If you love spice, south East Asian food and you love yourself then this is the food for you. It’s got a kick to it, it’s super healthy and its full of probiotics for your gut and it tastes fab.


Kimchi is traditionally made out of Chinese leaf but there can be many variations with squash, radish, cucumber, so using wild garlic is not a crazy departure from tradition. Just pick half a bag of wild garlic, give or take a bit, there are no rules here, and add to Chinese leaf to make a combined total weight.  

Ingredients

  • 2kg Chinese leaf and wild garlic, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • 150g Gochujang paste
  • 8 Spring onions chopped in small batons
  • 1 Apple chopped in small batons
  • 2tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1tbsp chilli flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic

Extra crushed/grated garlic/chilli flakes (gochugaru) can be added to your taste.


    Chop the chinese leaf and wild garlic into rough chunks and layer in a bowl, salting each layer as you go.  Add water to the same level as the leaves, no more. Put a plate that fits on top of leaves inside of bowl and put a heavy weight on top. Leave for several hours or preferably overnight.

    Prepare your paste by mixing the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.  Drain off the water from the leaves, and then rinse at least 3 times to reduce the saltiness. Squeeze out any excess liquid.

    Mix together your Chinese leaf and wild garlic with the kimchi paste, thoroughly. Transfer your mixture to jars, Kilmer jars are ideal. Ensure whatever you used has been sterilised.  However Koreans often just put it in plastic tubs but they eat the stuff in vast quantities! 

    Make sure you leave an few centimetre air gap at the top of your jar as fermentation can be wild with some batches and it could spill out of the jars. Speaking from experience you don’t want to omit this step as its pain to clean up and leaves your kitchen with quite a strong aroma!

    Leave the jars at room temperature for 3-5 days, opening them once a day to release any air.  Then transfer to a cool place and keep in the fridge once opened.

    Then enjoy with noodles, fried rice, salads, soups…..

    Wild Garlic Pesto Pizza

    Spring is here, (it may not feel like it some days when there is still ice cold winds), but the wild garlic has appeared, and that’s how I know.  This is arguably one of the best forages of the year, so I’ve been out picking already. The recipe for the pesto is here, really easy to make, and keeps well in the fridge if it lasts long enough. However, when my other half makes pizza it’s just asking for trouble!

    

    This pesto pizza is really low maintenance, you don’t even have to make the dough if you don’t want. I often use soft Lancashire or Staffordshire oatcakes as pizza bases for the kids, which they love, and it only takes 5 minutes to throw it altogether. I love it too, its a yum alternative to your average garlic bread, and it can be dressed up as a main meal with salad.

    Ingredients

    Preheat your oven to 220C, ideally heat your baking tray or pizza stone as well.

    Roll out your dough or get out your bases, spread generously with the wild garlic pesto. Dot the soft cream cheese over the top. If you wish to have extra cheese use some grated cheddar or mozzarella. 

    Place on the baking tray and bake until golden, approximately 10 minutes, if your pizza base is quite thick it may take slightly longer to bake. 

    Enjoy while it’s hot and the fewer people you have to share it with the better.

    

    

    Wild Garlic Pesto

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    Wild garlic has to be one of the foragers most rewarding finds, although, by its smell, it’s a plant that finds you, begging you to appreciate its culinary delights. There is such an abundance of it, yet a selfish part of me doesn’t want to share the bounty of it and I hate it when the season comes to an end.

    It is easy to find, look along a shaded hedge or in a wood for its spear shaped, smooth leaves. Be sure to know what your picking, an easy test is to break a leaf and take a sniff, which will leave you in no doubt, and then collect what you need.

    With this recipe you can use the pesto like any other pesto but it sure doesn't taste like any other pesto. It's wonderfully rich, powerful and very versatile.

    Ingredients:

    200g Wild garlic
    120g Pine nuts (or similar)
    120g Parmesan or percorino
    320mls Olive oil
    Salt & pepper

    Put all ingredients except the oil in a food processor and blitz until it’s the consistency you wish then slowly mix in the olive oil.
    Transfer to sterilised jars, add more oil on top to cover the pesto. This will make approximately 4 jars. Keep in the fridge and it will last several weeks, if you can stop your self eating it that is.

    It’s now just begging for a piece of fresh bread, some new potatoes or pasta to be doused in this delicious stuff.

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