Tag Archives: herbs

rampaging ramsons!

Here are some ideas of what to make with ramsons, which are also known as wild garlic or bear’s garlic. It is more akin to chives than to the garlic bought in the shops. Not only is it free to pick in woodland areas from March to end of April but it is also quite diverse.

So here are some thoughts:
First off, you can make the easy classic wild garlic soup. This was originally a war-time soup. It is made with potato and ramsons and a dash of cream.

Shove a few handfuls of ramson leaves into a chicken, together with a lemon. This gives the chicken a sweet garlicy taste. Roast the chicken breast side down for the first hour. Then turn over for the last 30 minutes.  I made this on Sunday and it was to die for!

Jamie Oliver makes a ramson carbonara. He blends the ramsom leaves in with the carbonara sauce before adding the cooked spaghetti to it. I reckon this is a good way to introduce ramsons to children. Here’s hoping they are not discouraged by the green colour!

The first recipe that pops into people’s minds is of course the ever-popular  pesto. I like to make mine with a twist – using walnuts instead of pine nuts. For a milder pesto try sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves and ramson leaves with the obligatory pine nuts, olive oil and pecorino.

Ramsons go well with eggs. So scramble your eggs and sprinkle freshly torn ramson leaves over it when cooked. Alternatively, you could make a light omelette.

Another way is to make a goats-cheese and ramson quiche.

Throw in a handful of torn leaves into some mashed potato, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Lastly, mix the chopped leaves with butter and lemon zest. Form it into a roll and freeze. Then when you have a fillet of salmon/steak cut off a piece as a sauce.

And there you have it! Now get picking…

1 Comment

Filed under food, Herbs, Recipes

Wandering Yarrow

Common Yarrow

My walk to work usually takes about 40 minutes and it takes me through suburbs and a park. I always admire the foliage, flowers, trees and the birds singing. I love to watch the changing colours as the seasons turn.

This morning, I discovered common yarrow growing on the side of the footpath. There is nothing common about this little beauty. Not knowing at first what this plant/weed was, I picked a sprig and crushed the leaves. Wow, the smell was deliciously sweet. I looked it up and identified the plant.

Yarrow, or achillea millefolium, has a long extant history. It is said that Achilles, the greek warrior, used this herb to heal his wounded soldiers in the Trojan War. It has gained the name herbal militaris for its properties that aid the staunching of blood flow from wounds. It grows as a wildflower throughout Ireland and flourishes in sunny areas. Its leaves are green and feathery and it has little white daisy-like flowers from June until August.

Yarrow was a popular ward against evil. As a result, it has also been called the devil’s plaything.

Its medicinal properties make it a useful herb to use to fight colds and flus. It is good combined with elderflower in tea infusions as it can help promote sweating to rid fevers.

Its modern Irish name is athair taluin and in old Irish it may have been referred to as eimer. It is thought that the name of Cu Chulainn’s wife, Emer, may be derived from this plant.

Yarrow is a great plant to grow in an allotment. It attracts aphid eating insects such as ladybirds and lacewing. Therefore it would be ideal to plant it beside broccoli. I’ve read somewhere that, supposedly, yarrow leaves aid in a more rapid process on the compost heap.

1 Comment

Filed under Herbs