The weather is fabulous and has been since these uncertain times began.
However, with all our worries and problems we are having to cope with, one constant is that nature always fights back.

Spring is definitely here and nature has been flourishing over the past few weeks.
On our walks with Roxy, the dog, we have had time to linger over the gorgeous flowers and wild plants growing along the paths and streams of the Churnet valley.
Just outside our door, we have a patch of wild garlic. This year we have had the time to use the young leaves in quite a few recipes.
Its delicate flavour and crunchy leaves are mildly pungent and flavoursome. We haven’t needed to buy garlic for a quite some time.
When the flowers start to show, the leaves become a bit leathery but the flowers can be used in salads to give a mild flavour.

We  have made some lovely soups with wild garlic, here is  the recipe for one of them:

Carrot, Wild Garlic and Coriander soup

Delicate Wild Garlic Flowers

Wild Churnet Valley Garlic

A deliciously refreshing soup ideal when the wild garlic is young and flavoursome
5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 medium potatoes peeled and sliced
1 onion chopped.
2 sticks celery, chopped.
Good handful of wild garlic leaves (before they flower) & young stalks, washed and chopped finely. Save a few for decoration.

A medium bunch of coriander stalks and leaves.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a pan
Add onions, celery, carrots and potato and sweat for about 10 minutes over a gentle heat, don’t let them burn.
Add about ¾ litre of water and a stock cube, bring to boil and boil until carrots are tender (about 15 minutes)
Add seasoning, as required, garlic and coriander leaves, and whizz to a smooth consistency with a handheld blender or put into a mixer and whizz.
Serve in warmed bowls topped with a spoonful of crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt with flatbread, or crusty bread, delicious! And a few garlic leaves, chopped.

You can also make it into Pesto by whizzing together any nuts you like (I prefer almonds to pine nuts), olive oil and parmesan or a strong hard cheese.

You can make a lovely easy topping for fish, chicken, pork or even a pasta dish, by adding finely chopped wild garlic leaves to breadcrumbs, with salt pepper, grated lemon zest.
Drizzle olive oil  on top of the meat, or fish to help it to stick , then pop it in the oven at around 200º c to cook for 20-25 minutes.

Near our stream at Heywood hall  is Ground Elder. This grows in abundance. You can pick the young leaves to add to salads. We cut the Ground Elder regularly to have a constant supply of delicate leaves. Once the flowers appear, we may be in trouble as the plant becomes a mild laxative & diuretic and is soporific so we leave flowering ground Elder well alone!!

Ground Elder

Yellow Marsh Marigolds
in the Churnet valley

Roxy is a great help in keeping the ground Elder short as she trots around the garden saying hello to passers by!



We hope you keep safe and well and we hope these posts will  help to cheer you up, and we hope to see you very soon!
Alison,Joseph and Roxy