“Mum,” asked Goldilocks, “Can we have green spaghetti for tea? We haven’t had it for ages.”
I have resisted buying a new blender because the processor part of the machine still works fine and is adequate for soups and houmous. But our basil crop will grow and sooner or later I’ll get the urge to make pesto. Trying to do all things sustainably I should’ve probably gone out and bought a huge pestle and mortar, but my eco-halo ever wonky, I went to Argos and bought a mini electric blender.
I was determined not to compound this act of worshipful consumerism at the alter of Argos by buying supermarket basil. Our slope may not look much like a garden yet but it yields a rich supply of organically grown weeds. My solution lies in the plant below, garlic mustard or jack-by-the hedge. It’s edible leaves can be used in salads, wilted like spinach or ground into pesto.
If you’re collecting wild plants for food, make sure you collect them from areas that you know are not treated with pesticides. Pick off insects and wash the plants thoroughly.
To make Hedgerow Pesto, whizz together (or pound in your huge pestle and mortar if you are a better person than me!) 100mls nut oil, two to three plump garlic cloves, a heaped teaspoon of sea salt, three large handfuls of washed jack-by-the-hedge and a handful of hazel nuts.
If you live in a place called Hazlehurst you may well have collected and stored plenty of nuts from last autumn, if not (ahem!) like me you can buy them from your local health food store.
The other wild goody on the canal right now is watercress. The best place to look is in the overflows, where there is generally a constant but gentle flow of water. Here’s a nice little patch Willow and I found on our Sunday walk. I was torn between letting it grow more and the fear that if I didn’t take it someone else would. I left it, but then three hours later went back for it!
As I am feeling very generous with my pictures this week I though I’d treat you to this pic of hedgerow promise to come. This crab apple over looks the fields at the back of the house. This particular field seems to be permanently flooded now, but this was not always the case, and may be the result of particularly wet recent winters and summers.