We like this time of year, there are welcome breaks in between the Big Annual Wild Food Harvests. The Wild Garlic has just, been reaped, and The Pantry is packed to the brim with our dark, glossy green pesto.
Now, we find ourselves just waiting for the bee’s to finish cross-pollinating The Elder Flower for the next large Wild Food Harvest, indeed it is virtually upon us. Room has been set aside in The Pantry for Elder Flower wine, champagne, cordial etc and our famous Elder Flower Fritters will do a ‘Ta Dah’ on The Strawberry Tree menu over the next few weeks.
However, this lull provides us with the opportunity to get out foraging along The Long Field for the sheer pleasure of it! All the Wild Greens are up, Wild Wood Sorrel, Penny Wort, Dandelion, Sheep Sorrel, Primrose Leaf as well as the Wild Flowers…The Wild Garlic Flower, Gorse Flower, early Herb Robert and our favourite, The Primrose.
Down on The Farm, the baby greens are not up yet. As with all farmers, Alan and Mark are very careful about when they go to plant their crops. The overall temperature of the soil and much more besides, results in the Farmer choosing the optimum time to sow.
Nature is reckless, though when it comes to Wild Foods. They are already starting to burst into full growth, it happens whenever She wants and with the hardier nature of wild greens…they arrive much sooner than the Farm Harvest.
So, Wild Greens and Wild Flowers are making welcome cameos all over The Strawberry Tree menu, whether as simple raw adornment with our Starters or Main Courses or as wild sauces, wild soups etc and The Wild Flowers have started to slip into our Dessert recipes too.
However, it is our simple Wild Green Salad, which we love best! This is an annual ‘show off’ moment. A ‘Menu Course’ that deserves a better name than just ‘A Middle’…this is a Course that makes a statement to our guests.
All The Wild Leaves, Wild Garlic flowers and Gorse flowers simply tossed in Kitty Colchesters Organic Rapeseed Oil, and topped with The Prima Donna of the Irish Spring, The Wild Primrose Flower. Its mild peppery and lettucy flavour needs no dressing. Just sprinkled and placed over the top and letting them shine, is enough for us!
Here are two of our Strawberry Tree recipes, where we show off the Wild Primrose.
A FRESH WILD LEAF AND PRIMROSE RECIPE
The Strawberry Tree Wild Leaf Salad
WHAT GOES IN
1 Handful Wild Wood Sorrel
1 Handful Wild Penny Wort
1 Handful Wild Dandelion Leaf
1 Handful Wild Sheep Sorrel
.5 Handful Wild Primrose leaf
.5 Handful Wild Garlic Leaf
Quarter cup, Happy Heart, Irish Organic Rapeseed Oil
HOW IT GOES
Simply toss these spring leaves with the rapeseed oil, no need to add seasoning; the lemony peppery taste of the sorrel and pennyworth combined with the pungent flavour of the wild garlic is enough to carry off this salad. Both The Primrose and The Dandelion are really easy for anyone to harvest, if your not sure about the Wild Greens, supplement your salad with some indoor-grown baby greens from your Green Grocer.
HOW TO FINISH
Finish to impress, toss in Wild Garlic flowers, Gorse Flowers, there’s lots out there! Finally, top off with lots of Wild Primrose Flowers.
A PRESERVED WILD PRIMROSE RECIPE
The Strawberry Tree Wild Primrose Flower Jelly
WHAT GOES IN
100 Wild Primrose petals
100 Scented early Garden Rose Petals
400 mls Water
2tsp Rose Water
Juice 2 Lemons
HOW IT GOES
Put half of wild primrose flowers and all rose petals into a bowl. Sprinkle over half the sugar and crush into flowers, leave over night in the fridge. Pour over boiling water and infuse for a second night.
Strain, combine with lemon juice and remaining sugar, heat gently in a pan to dissolve sugar. Bring to rapid boil until setting point (3-5 minutes or 106 degrees). Remove. As it cools, stir in the rose water. Pour into sterilised Kilner Jars. Just before setting, fold in the remaining fresh primrose flowers, seal.
HOW TO FINISH
Finish with roast baby lamb either in the jus/gravy, finish as an accompaniment to a fresh goats cheese, with any white chocolate dessert or a light sweet mousse or blancmange.
WHAT YOU GET
Is a fabulous tinted jelly, great on its own, but perfect as a gift to your friends or family