Monday, 21 March 2011

Wild garlic

Every time I put this old coat on I forget that the lining in the right pocket's completely worn through. The story unfolds in a similar fashion each time - absence of small change, no oyster card, notes jotted on paper gone; to an observer the trail in my wake must look like a poor, Hansel and Gretel-inspired means of finding the way back home. Rage ensues, invariably vocal and with reference to "That bastard coat" - yet still, a year or so will pass, I'll see it on the hanger and think, "I haven't worn that in ages!".

There's spot by the Whitewater River that I head to each year when the Wild garlic is in full swing. Cross the old moss-covered bridge and a familiar garlicky hum drifts out of a small patch of woodland by the riverbank; closer inspection reveals clusters of green, ribbon-like leaves unravelling across the ground towards the water's edge. I parked the car by the roadside and made my way through the trees, basket in hand. Having gathered a few large bunches, cut cleanly at the base with a knife, I headed back to the car.

Could I find the (only set of) car keys? Reader, it took me twenty five minutes to find those bloody things in the woods, rifling frantically through the Ramsons as if foraging for some rare, key shaped truffle. I eventually found them, concealed from the eye by a heap of broken branches - by which point my nerves were shot to bits.

I like to keep things simple with wild garlic - last night I stirred a finely-chopped handful through a block of softened butter, wrapped it in foil, then rolled it into a cylinder shape. Kept in the fridge, a couple of pound coin-sized slices melting on a juicy steak are a thing of wonder. The coat is back on the coat rack, after a good bit of stitchwork.


  1. I have miles of wild garlic in the garden and never (to my eternal shame) do anything much with it - will do now! Love the coat anecdote.

  2. I think we all have that coat--it's always the one we love so much, but curse so often. I always wonder why I don't just fix the pocket...

    Wild garlic is one of my favorite things about spring. Unfortunately I live in a big city where I can't forage it myself and pay dearly for it at the markets. Worth it for the lovely flavor.