A plant that combines Garlic and Mustard? I wonder why I haven’t heard of it before… Not surprisingly it is called Garlic Mustard or Alliara Petiolata and it is now the best time to forage it if you’re lucky to find some around.
We’ve been lazy this Winter and only started our week end walks. I have previously shared our experience of the book we bought allowing anyone without a car to go for fantastic walks around London. But we didn’t realise that all the walks are also online and free to print so you can now find the exact itinerary of our previous Bramble Walk and also our Elderflower Walk.
We absolutely loved this walk, the weather was gorgeous and it was just the right length going through all kind of landscapes. We went through bushy fields, forests, farm lands and I called it the Pony Walk because the recurrent feature seemed to be ponies, ponies everywhere! I love them and can’t stop myself thinking about my favourite advert with the moonwalking ponies.
We got off at Gerard Cross and walked for 15km until Cookham. This area is very posh and we were left dreaming of living in a beautiful thatched cottage with multiple gardens, a wooden entrance gate and…a pony or two… A quick glance at the property prices once home brought us back to reality and we instead focused on our free foraged wild products.
I was after a herb to use as a crust for the beautiful French trimmed lamb rack I bought the day before. When it became obvious I would not find any wild garlic, I was lucky to find some Garlic Mustard hiding amount similar looking (but more aggressive) nettles. The worst that can happen to you if you ever confuse them is a nasty sting on you hands as they are both edible and delicious.
We pinched the top of the plant to collect the flower buds and the young leaves. The garlic smell appears clearly when you crush the leaves and the light mustardy taste becomes noticeable when you chew on a few leaves at the time. Olive oil and salt are necessary to fully appreciate this plant and we were not diseapointed when we mixed it with bread crumbs and coated our lamb. If you want to use it in a pesto I would recommend to add more garlic to get a good kick.
During this walk we also found some Ground Elder which tastes a bit like parsley but it didn’t convince me enough to mix it with my lamb herb crust. I’m sure I’ll find something else to do with it next time.
Some of the forests we walked through were just about to burst with Bluebells. In a week or two, there will be carpets of Bluebells in bloom and that will be a spectacle I will miss as I am away for the next few week ends. If you are around, then put your walking shoes on and don’t forget to send me a picture!