The Art of Foraging at The Gate Seymour Place
On Thursday 4th May we are hosting #VegTalks on The Art of Foraging at The Gate Seymour Place as part of London Craft Week 2017. We only have a couple of places left, please email email@example.com to reserve yours!
So why did we choose wild garlic and nettles? Not only are they in season and fairly easy to forage in the urban jungle that is London town, but we want to show you how much we can do with them and how good they are for you!
The common nettle for instance is a powerful and much underestimated part of the wild food chain. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and iron, and one of its amazing uses is as a preventative antihistamine, which if taken steadily from very early Spring will be most effective against allergies such as hay fever.
Garlic is well known for its antibacterial, antibiotic and antiseptic properties. The main health benefit of garlic is its effectiveness in reducing blood pressure and wild garlic has the greatest effect.
Now let’s get cooking! What can you do with nettle and wild garlic?
Nettles are best in early spring when they are supercharged with all things good! Blanch or boil to remove the sting and use them as you would a leaf vegetable. Add it to stir-fries or simply steep the leaves in boiling water to make a healthy and warming tea.
With wild garlic, unlike domestic garlic, it is the leaves, rather than the bulbs, that are prized. Use them raw in salads, sandwiches, dressings and finely chopped as a garnish. A popular use is in pesto instead of basil. When cooked the leaves can be used like spinach or you can blanch and puree them as a sauce, in soups, stews, risottos, and lots more! The stems and unopened flowers are great in salads and stir fries. You can also eat the opened flowers, their flavour is stronger than that of the leaves. In small quantities the flowers make a decorative and tasty addition to salads.
If you don’t feel like cooking but want to try something new, our new lunch menu features a lovely vegan Penne Alla Nettle. And if you want to give foraging a go, our Head of Food Yossi Edri has been kind enough to share his (not-so-secret anymore) recipe!
Penne alla Nettle (vegan)
200g nettle leaves
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted 30ml lemon juice
10g garlic, peeled
50ml olive oil
250ml soy cream
100g rocket leaves, washed
100g cherry tomatoes, split in half
Salt & pepper
1. Cook the pasta as instructed on the packaging and reserve
2. Bring some water to the boil, place the nettle leaves for 1 minute in the boiling water and then remove and refresh in ice cold water
3. In a high speed blender mix the cooked nettle, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and most of the pine nuts (about 40g) to make a pesto
4. In a large frying pan place a bit olive oil and the pesto and start warming it with the vegan soy cream. Add the pasta and mix till the pesto is mixed evenly. When it’s all hot and ready to serve, mix in the cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves, plate in pasta bowls and decorate with remaining pine nuts.