I can’t begin to tell you how many versions of this stir fry I have made over the years. This particular chard and kohlrabi stir fry was a combination of leftover veg from the veg box and a few items I had in the cupboards. It’s really a recipe where you can change pretty much any of the ingredients to suit what you have. Using a mix of different vegetables, sauces and meat (or veggie mince or tofu) means you get something completely different every time. This particular marriage of kohlrabi and chard works really well.
If you’re sat there looking at your kohlrabi wondering why on earth you’ve been sent a vegetable that has tentacles, fear not. I’ve been getting an organic veg box for years and I wanted to share some of my favourite vegetable box recipes. Sometimes you can end up with a vegetable you’ve never cooked with before so hopefully you can find a recipe for almost everything here! In this post I’ll take you through the contents of my most recent veg box and how I used everything up.
Meals that are made from a few simple ingredients are invariably some of my favourite dishes of all. A quick scramble around the cupboards and fridge pulling ingredients and ideas together always feels more satisfying; like you’re getting a meal for nothing. My evening meals are always planned in advance so it’s lunchtime where I get my Ready Steady Cook hat on. Sometimes however the scrabbling approach doesn’t yield any particularly tasty sounding results; ham and chocolate spread tostadas anyone? This time however, the combination of ingredients I had resulted in Wild Garlic and Crispy Fried Salami Potato Salad and it was brilliant.
You will need (for two):
- 400g potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- Handful green beans, topped and tailed, halved
- Small handful wild garlic
- 12 slices Italian salami (I used finocchiona which has fennel in), roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
Start by putting the potatoes into a large pan of salted water. Bring the pan to the boil and cook the potatoes until they are cooked through, cooking time depends on how big you have chopped them. If you have a steamer add the green beans to the steamer over the potatoes for the last few minutes of cooking, or boil separately for a few minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking put the wild garlic (after a thorough rinse) into a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. Bash everything up together well until you have a thick paste then add the olive oil, a pinch of pepper and the lemon juice.
Get a frying pan on a medium/high heat and add the salami. Dry fry until crispy, plenty of oil will come out of the salami.
Drain the potatoes when they are cooked (and the green beans if you have cooked them separately) and mix with the beans, salami and wild garlic oil.
The grassy and faint garlic whiff from the wild garlic is so good with the slightly fatty salami. The fennel in the salami works really well but any salami would be delicious; it’s a different flavour to something like bacon. The potato breaks down after it’s cooked so the wild garlic oil nestles in the little nooks and crannies and turns everything a wonderful green. The beans add a little freshness and the lemon finishes it off with its zesty acidity. A meal as good as this from a few leftover ingredients and a bit of a rummage in the hedgerows; perfection. Something else equally as potato filled and garlicky are my wild garlic gnocchi if you fancy trying something veggie!!
If you want to have a go foraging for wild food, take a look at my beginner’s guide.
If you fancy going out and trying your hand at foraging there isn’t much of a better time to start than now. Wild garlic is one of the best things to look for as it’s so distinctive; you smell it before you see it, the leaf is fairly specific and if you’re still not sure you can tear the leaves and do an additional sniff test before you start taking it home. I fancied my hand at baking some Wild Garlic Bread, sort of tear and share style, so off I sauntered to my favourite wild garlic spot to get picking.
I feel I should say at this point that if you do have a bash at finding (and eating) some wild food, do make sure you know what it is you’re picking, that you’re allowed to pick it and that you give it all a good wash when you get home. Having made it sound all very regimented and dull, foraging for food is one of my favourite things. Armed with a few books I have learnt so much so fast about what’s edible nearby. If you’re a little cautious about it, I have seen wild garlic available at farmers’ markets and from vegetable box companies. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before supermarkets start stocking it…but that does sort of defeat the point. I don’t think it’s ‘wild’ if it’s wrapped in plastic.
For one tear and share bread you will need:
- 400g strong white bread flour
- 300ml warm water
- 7g sachet fast action yeast
- Pinch sea salt
- 75g unsalted butter
- Handful wild garlic leaves, washed and chopped
- Salt and pepper
This is a perfect lazy Sunday recipe. Go for a wander in the morning to pick the garlic then get the bread mixed, proving and baking while you relax at home.
Add the flour, yeast and salt to a bowl (keep the yeast and salt separate) then add the warm water. Bring together to make a dough then knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until nice and stretchy.
Place a damp tea towel over the bowl and leave for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Make a wild garlic butter by beating the butter, chopped wild garlic, salt and pepper together until well mixed. It will turn your butter slightly green.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Flatten it out; you don’t have to be particular about this, just roughly flattened. Spread 2/3 of the butter mixture over the dough then knead lightly to incorporate the butter throughout the dough.
Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls and arrange them on a baking paper covered baking tray. Ensure the balls are touching. You can go to town on the shape you want to make; spirals, flowers, all sorts but I stuck to a 3 x 4 arrangement. I’m not very artistic.
Cover the tray with some lightly oiled cling film and leave for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C. Melt the remaining wild garlic butter and brush the top of each roll lightly with it.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden on top and baked through.
I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I was so pleased and impressed with how this turned out! The bread was lovely and soft with a faint whiff of garlic throughout. The wild garlic leaves added a speckled effect throughout the bread and the brushed butter on top of each roll gave it an additional flavour and bit of crunch. This is a great way to make the most of wild garlic while it’s around and I bet it would be amazingly tasty with some grated cheese added to the top before baking. If you’ve got some spare leaves they are fantastic added to mushrooms on toast too!
If you want to go outside and rummage around for edible plants, do take a quick look at my foraging top tips.
It all got a bit serious last weekend. I went all out for a foraging expedition; books, bags to carry what I picked and bigger bag to carry all my things, wellies, I was prepared for anything. While out I found a few new things I didn’t realise were edible but I headed straight to my favourite patch of wild garlic to get picking before the season is over. I did have to travel a little downstream to get to the good stuff and there was a wobbly moment where I thought I might have to go for an accidental swim but otherwise it was a very successful trip. I carried home my bounty and set to work on some Wild Garlic Gnocchi.
Foraging for food is something I have started to do over the last few years. Hunting down blackberry bushes in the autumn is something I’ve always done but I’ve never considered it to be ‘foraging’. To me, proper foraging involves a wicker basket, curiously shaped knives and an innate ability to avoid thorns and nettles. Since I started to appreciate the other things that can be found outdoors I have added other wild foods to my repertoire: rosehips, sloes, plums, strawberries, elderflower and now, at last, wild garlic. Somehow this most pungent of wild foods has eluded me until a few days ago when I finally found an abundance of it not a ten minute walk from my house. Creamy mushrooms and wild garlic sounded just perfect for lunch and even better on brioche toast.