Posts Tagged ‘dandelion’

Spring Herb Recipes

Some quick recipes as Spring will come eventually… These are begged, borrowed and stolen from all over the place – including earlier in this blog and I’m pretty sure from the inimitable Richard Mabey’s Food for Free. I’ve tried them all out many times and they work consistently. Who knows where the originals came from many moons ago –  apologies in advance to anyone who sees one of these as their own – greatest form of flattery, etc, etc.

I will be using these recipes and others as part of my indoctrination of members of the public in to the wonderful world of Spring Cleansing Herbs on Thursday 4th April at Woodland Herbs in Glasgow – though the juicing may be a challenge if the plants don’t get much juicier in this cold weather.

Nettle Pesto

Wilt 2 large handfuls Nettle tops for a few minutes in a small amount of boiling water in a covered pot over gentle heat. Quickly strain the nettles to retain their flavour – reserving the water to drink warm later.

Lightly toast a scant handful of pine nuts (about 50g) in a dry pan. Remove and place in a large bowl / food processor with 50g grated parmesan, juice of half a lemon and the wilted Nettles.

Blend all together using food processor or stick blender.

For garlic you can add 2/3 cloves crushed garlic or 4-6 finely chopped leaves of Wild Garlic or a small handful of finely chopped leaves of Garlic Mustard.

Add salt and pepper to taste and olive oil to get your preferred consistency.

Use in pasta, on salads, with cheese on toast…

Don’t forget to drink the nettle water – it’s very rich in minerals.

Variation: Wild Garlic Pesto – instead of Nettles, use lots of Wild Garlic and more oil – chop everything finely rather than using a blender

 

Spring Green Salad

Salad Dressing: 1 part Vinegar; 2 parts Oil; salt & pepper to taste

Herb Oil: add aromatic herbs – Rosemary / Thyme – to oil; warm in bain marie for 2 hours or leave on sunny windowsill for 2 weeks; strain and retain liquid

     Garlic Vinegar: combine Garlic and aromatic herbs with Cider Vinegar; leave to soak for 2 weeks in a covered container; strain and retain liquid

Mix dressing and add to assorted spring greens: Dandelion leaf; Hawthorn tops; Chickweed

Variation: Hawthorn & Beetroot salad – combine Hawthorn tops and chopped pre-cooked Beetroot, drizzle with salad dressing

 

Nettle Soup

Cook 1 chopped onion in a little oil, add 2 large handfuls of Nettle tops; 1 litre of stock; 1 chopped potato and 1 chopped carrot, simmer until potato is cooked (15-20mins). Blend soup, season with salt & pepper and finish with crème fraiche.

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April Daisies – Don’t be Fooled

Little cough chaser can be confused with its more famous cousin on the left

For a few weeks more, you’ll see the aptly named Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) growing like these ones in the park or on wasteground. The Coltsfoot stem on the right shows the almost furry covering, like a colt’s, softly hairy hoof (well I think so anyway). Coltsfoot’s medicinal use – to stop coughing – gives the Latin name, tussive relates to coughing.

On the left is another member of the Asteraceae / Daisy family, Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – spring cleanser, mineraliser, diuretic and liver support – with so many uses it needs a post of its own.