Friday, March 30, 2012
hungry friday: a foraged feast
Happy Friday my friends - sorry to be bringing Hungry Thursday to you a day late this week! I need to be a bit more organised, clearly :)
Yesterday I interviewed Vicky and Anna, two women who are running the Paris Marathon in two weeks, and then running from Paris to London, finishing their amazing challenge with the London Marathon a week later! It is the equivalent of 8 marathons in 8 days and they're doing it all for spinal injury awareness and to raise money for two charities that help people with those injuries. They are really inspiring girls, I think you'll really enjoy hearing their story! I'll be putting that podcast together over the weekend and hopefully it will be ready to share with you early next week.
Also next week, I'll be intensifying my own half marathon training which I've already stepped up over the past two weeks. I was starting to worry about my ability to get through it, having remembered what a bloody long way 21.1km is!! So I started following my old marathon training plan that Julia put together for me last year where I was half marathon ready in six weeks. Let me say, having a plan helps SO much. Rather than winging it on the day and doing whatever I feel like (which, let's be honest, would rarely be more than 10k!), I just look at the plan and off I go. I feel so much more focused and confident - very tired though, as I am following a marathon training plan rather than a half (!), but overall I feel pretty great and the strength and speed work is really helping to build my stamina up again. This morning I ran 18km which was my biggest run in a long, long time and I found it a bit tough but I was really pepped up after talking to Vicky and Anna yesterday so that helped! Who knows, maybe if I keep going with the old plan I'll be marathon ready around June?! ;)
So with that in mind I'll also be fulfilling a reader request next week and doing another Food What I Ate series, that I last did in 2009. Em said she was curious to see what I ate while training for the half, so it will all be on display - every cup of tea, every sneaky biscuit! Should be good fun, I take pictures of my food all the time anyway!
And while we're on that, here's Hungry Friday's recipe! As the title of the post suggests, I foraged for some (well, one!) of the ingredients :)
Last Sunday after a very lovely country pub lunch with the Pethericks and the Wise Ones we went for a walk down to the river and Leonie spotted some wild garlic growing in the nearby woodland. I had never seen any before. The smell gave it away immediately though; it was a lovely and sweet garlicky smell, not off-putting! You can find it growing in most woodland areas near rivers and streams this time of year. It looks really lovely too.
Doesn't look like garlic does it? It's all about the leaves rather than bulbs (although it does have some bulbs that eventually turn into white flowers later in the season).
We picked a nice handful to take home and I wondered what to use it in first - I had so many ideas! Leonie suggested pesto or risotto, but I ended up using it in omelettes, a soup and to make this luscious pasta dish:
You see the green that looks like spinach? That's the wild garlic!
As for the taste, it was just like regular garlic but just a bit more mild and mellow. I really enjoyed cooking with it and hope to find some more. Foraging was great fun! If you give it a go I recommend maybe for your first time going with someone (like Leonie) who knows what they're looking for. I've always been a bit scared of eating things I've found outdoors thanks to many warnings about poison mushrooms and other things that grew in the bush when I was growing up so I would never have noticed the wild garlic if it weren't for her! Apparently wild garlic likes growing near bluebells, so if you see them, you might go home with a handful of wild garlic to make this yummy recipe...
Chilli, tomato and wild garlic spaghetti
A splash of olive oil, or cooking spray
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 large red chilli, finely diced
200g (or 1 punnet) cherry tomatoes, halved
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
A handful of fresh wild garlic, washed (very important when foraging!)
A handful of capers
Salt and pepper
Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. Heat the oil or cooking spray in a pan. Add the leek and chilli, fry until soft.
When the pasta has cooked, drain and then add to the pan, together with the tomatoes, lemon zest, wild garlic, capers and most of the lemon juice. Stir for a minute or two until combined and warmed through. Finish with a little more juice if it needs it and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
Perfect spaghetti for spring!
Of course, if you don't have a reliable local source of wild garlic you can substitute spinach or rocket (arugula) instead. Just also add 2 cloves of regular garlic in with the leek and chilli at the beginning.
Have you ever foraged for ingredients in your local area before? What did you find?
Have a happy weekend!! :)