Recipe: Cheat’s wild garlic mayo

I’m one of those cooks that prefer to make everything from scratch. For the simple reason that I think it’s worth the effort as the end result is usually so much better than something ready-made.

This includes most things, even mayonnaise, although I do like Hellmann’s too. If I’m making a prawn sandwich I’ll happily use Hellmann’s but for Toast Skagen I would make my own. Small distinctions, but they make sense to me.

So in a way I think lockdown was good for me. As I had to take shortcuts and think differently. Some things were hard to come by at times, like vegetable oil, eggs and even mayonnaise. So when I managed to get some wild garlic but didn’t have any oil to make my own mayonnaise but luckily had a jar of Hellmann’s to hand I decided to try a new version of my wild garlic mayo. One that doesn’t involve a stick blender or very much work.

And do you know what?! It turned out really well. Different to my homemade version but almost as good, so if you’re lacking time or energy, this is the one to make!

Cheat’s wild garlic mayo, serves 4

I made this wild fresh wild garlic, but blanched and frozen will work too.

200 ml Hellmann’s mayonnaise

a handful fresh wild garlic leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped

1/4 lemon

salt and pepper

Mix the mayonnaise and wild garlic. Add lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe: asparagus risotto with wild garlic butter and lemon

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This wonderful recipe is actually from last year, but as usual time got away from me and suddenly the asparagus season was well and truly over and it felt too late to post.

This year I think I made it in the knick of time, as the season is drawing to an end, but if you’re lucky to find some nice asparagus, this is the perfect dish to end the season with. It’s both light and warming, fresh and a bit decadent thanks to the browned butter and wild garlic butter. Butter makes everything better doesn’t it?!

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Asparagus risotto with wild garlic butter and lemon, serves 3

2 banana shallots, finely chopped 

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp vegetable oil

180 g carnaroli rice

100 ml dry white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

grated parmesan

250 g asparagus

1 tbsp wild garlic butter

1/2 tsp lemon zest 

To serve:

asparagus tips 

two rounds wild garlic butter

1 tbsp browned butter

1/2 tsp lemon zest 

sea salt and black pepper

grated parmesan

Melt butter and oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for a few minutes without browning. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon so it can soak up all the oil and butter.  Add the wine and let it cook for a minute or so. Lower the heat to medium-low and add a ladle of stock. Stir and add more when most of the stock has evaporated, continue until the rice is cooked. I prefer a loose risotto so I don’t let the last ladle fully absorb. Remove from heat and add plenty of grated parmesan and a knob of butter to the rice and stir it in. 

While the risotto is cooking, trim the wooden ends off the asparagus. Save two asparagus tips per portion as garnish and cut the rest into smaller pieces on the diagonal. Boil the asparagus pieces until almost soft in salted water. Drain and add to the risotto just after the parmesan. Cook the asparagus tips al dente in salted water and set aside. Add wild garlic butter and lemon zest to the risotto. Season to taste. 

Divide the risotto between bowls. Arrange the asparagus tips in the middle of the bowl. Drizzle with browned butter. Place the wild garlic butter on top of the aspragus. Scatter with lemon zest and grated parmesan and serve.

Recipe: Asparagus with Burrata, Wild Garlic Oil and Lemon

I was so pleased to get hold of some of my favourite foods during lockdown; British asparagus and burrata. So grateful Natoora opened up their restaurant delivery slots to the public. Because during this period I have lived for food. I took it upon myself to cook every night, make cakes and make sure we could enjoy nice food even though we couldn’t go out to restaurant. So yes, I’ve eaten very well during lockdown, but I have also been mindful, stretching food to go longer, and have mixed expensive foods with very economical dishes.

The best quality asparagus and burrata wouldn’t feel so special if we ate it every day, but you also want to make sure you make the most out of the short asparagus season.

I’m very pleased with this simple dish – which is more an assembly job than proper cooking. And that’s how to best enjoy the freshest of produce, in the simplest of ways. Asparagus with hollandaise or wild garlic mayo are two of my favourite ways to eat it, and now I have a third way: this!

Asparagus with burrata, wild garlic oil and lemon, serves 3

9 asparagus stems (preferably nice and thick)

125 g burrata, at room temperature

1 large handful wild garlic leaves, washed

100 ml vegetable oil

1/2 lemon, the zest

sea salt flakes and black pepper

Trim the wooden ends off the asparagus. Blanch them quickly in boiling water. Drain and fry with a tiny amount of oil in the pan until they’ve browned a little. Mix the wild garlic leaves with oil using a stick blender.

Divide the asparagus among the plates. Divide the burrata. Drizzle with wild garlic oil (approx 1 tbsp per plate). Add lemon zest and plenty of salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Hello March (and hopefully Spring!)

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March is here. With more light, longer days and spring blossoms galore! I’m so happy spring is finally within reach.

I’m SO looking forward to the first fresh produce of the season, so thought I would share some of my favourite early spring recipes with you. We have blood oranges! Wild garlic! Rhubarb! (The forced one are already here.) And the most divine cheese!

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Wild garlic pesto is a must as soon as the little green leaves are sprouting. The season can start as early as February and continue on towards May/June. Definitely one of my favourite seasons!

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Fried gnocchi with wild garlic pesto and cherry tomatoes is spring on a plate!

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And this orzo pasta with courgette and feta is absolutely delicious! Pairs well with roast chicken or pork fillet. Yum!

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Also love these wild garlic fritters!

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And these oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic are divine! The perfect dinner party starter in spring.

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Another delicious starter is this one; portobello mushrooms stuffed with wild garlic and cheese! Old school and so good!

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But the simplest wild garlic recipe (perfect for the wild garlic beginners) is wild garlic bread. Basically buttery garlic bread but with wild garlic instead of regular garlic. It will get you hooked on this lovely herb, I promise!

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The cheese I mentioned in the beginning of this post is only available for a few months each year and March is the end of the season, so make sure you have one before it’s too late. I love it baked with boiled new potatoes and charcuterie.

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Also blood oranges are available for a limited time, so go get some now! It’s a short season but make the most of it as they are so so good! This simple blood orange salad with biscotti is easy to throw together any day of the week.

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I also love this blood orange pannacotta – it’s absolutely delicious!

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Moving on to rhubarb, this tart with creme patisserie is so lovely!

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And this rhubarb meringue pie is amazingly delicious!

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But this might be my absolutely favourite when it comes to rhubarb: a puff pastry and custard rhubarb tart! It’s heaven served with some lightly whipped cream!

Bring on Spring!

Recipe: oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic

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I love oysters; both au naturelle and cooked. So you can only imagine that I felt like I was in heaven when I visited Cape Cod a few summers ago. I don’t think I ate anything other than seafood while I was there!

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When cooking oysters at home, I think the au gratin concept is the best approach, as it’s easy, quick and seriously delicious!

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This recipe with Swedish Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic is perfect for spring (and you can of course substitute the Swedish cheese with parmesan or even cheddar) and we followed it up with asparagus (some harvested in our own garden!) and hollandaise sauce as well as prawns (cooked and smoked), homemade mayonnaise and wild garlic bread. It was quite the feast and such a treat to enjoy it with my parents! As we don’t see each other all that often we try to make it special when we are together.

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Oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic, serves 3 as a starter

With two more courses two oysters each was the perfect amount, but if you’re having a light main course I would recommend three oysters per person.

6 fresh oysters 

3 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp grated Västerbotten cheese

1/2 – 1 tsp Dijon mustard

approx 6 wild garlic leaves, finely chopped

salt, black pepper

To serve:

nice bread

Open the oysters with an oyster knife and discard the top shell. Cut loose the oysters but keep on the shells and place in an ovenproof dish. Mix cream and mustard in a bowl and add cheese and most of wild garlic. Season well. Spoon the mixture over the oysters, enough to cover them and sprinkle some more wild garlic on top. Place under a hot grill or in a very hot oven (225C) until bubbly and a little brown, approx 3-5 minutes. Serve with baguette or crusty bread to soak up the juices. 

Recipe: wild garlic fritters

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Wild garlic season is almost over now, but luckily there were a few leaves left when I was in Sweden last and I used them wisely by trying a completely new recipe!

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As you may know by now, I love fritters and have a few recipes on the blog already, but when I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit I couldn’t resist trying it. Wild garlic is my favourite flavour in spring (together with asparagus and rhubarb) as it’s less pungent than garlic. It seems fresher somehow. But it also reminds me of my childhood, of going for walks in the woods and sensing that onion-y smell when they were first in season, and later spotting the pretty white flowers.

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The fritters turned out really well, even though I tweaked the recipe a bit, and both my parents gave them the thumbs up. I thought the fritters needed a sidekick and served my parmesan crème alongside them. Yum!

Wild garlic fritters, serves 4 as a starter

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

a bunch of wild garlic, approx 8 cm in diameter

135 g plain flour

120 g potato flour or rice flour

1 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

100-200 ml sparkling water 

approx 200-300 ml vegetable oil for frying 

lemon wedges to serve 

Rinse the wild garlic and pat dry with kitchen towel. Remove the coarse part of the stems. Cut into 1 cm long pieces and put to the side. 

Mix flour, potato flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the sparkling water until you have a batter that isn’t too thick or too thin. Add the wild garlic and mix well. 

Pour the oil into a high-sided frying pan until it is about 1 cm deep. Heat on medium-high heat until warm enough for deep-frying (it’s ready when a small piece of bread comes out golden). 

Add spoonfuls of the batter to the hot pan and fry until gold first one one side and then the other. Drain on kitchen towel. Serve with lemon wedges and parmesan crème. 

 

 

 

Recipe: pizza with asparagus and wild garlic pesto

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I actually had the intention to make a sourdough pizza with this topping but didn’t have enough time in the end, so used my tried and tested Italian pizza dough recipe, courtesy of Gennaro Contaldo, Jamie Oliver’s Italian mentor.

I also used my go-to simple tomato sauce that I use for everything and my homemade wild garlic pesto. My best tip is to pick lots of wild garlic leaves when in season and blanch some of it, squeeze out the liquid and freeze in little parcels. Perfect to use for pesto or mayonnaise.

The all you need is a good buffalo mozzarella, some asparagus, parmesan and olive oil.

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I promise it’s like tasting spring. Delicious!

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Italian pizza dough, 2 pizzas

500 g 00-flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried yeast

325 ml lukewarm water

Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast. Add the water bit by bit while stirring with a wooden fork. Knead the dough until elastic. Cut the dough into two and shape to round balls. Put the dough balls back in the mixing bowl, sprinkle with flour and cover. Place somewhere warm and let it rise for 90 minutes.

Shape the dough into round pizzas or use a rolling pin to roll it out thinly. Add the toppings you like and bake in 225C, in a low oven, for 8-10 minutes.

Tomato sauce, for one batch pizza dough

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 can (400 g) chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

Fry the garlic in the olive oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the chopped tomatoes, some water and the tomato paste. Cook for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Season to taste and put aside. 

Wild garlic pesto, approx 250 ml pesto

ca 50-70 g wild garlic (about a bunch as stick as a small banana)

30 g almonds

40 g parmesan

1/2 lemon, juice only 

mild oil, approx 100-150 ml 

salt & pepper

Mix wild garlic, almonds, lemon juice and parmesan with a bit of oil to a paste in a food processor or with a stick blender. Keep adding oil until you have the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keeps in the fridge for 5-7 days. 

Topping per pizza:

1/2 batch tomato sauce

olive oil

1 buffalo mozzarella

4-5 asparagus, blanched and cut into smaller pieces

3-4 tbsp wild garlic pesto

parmesan

Roll out the dough and drizzle some olive oil on it. Spread out the tomato sauce. Shred the mozzarella into chunks and place on the pizza. Add the asparagus pieces and dollops of wild garlic pesto. Grate over parmesan. Add a little more olive oil and put it in the oven on 225C, middle to low oven for 8-10 minutes.

Spring is here!

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Spring. Oh, how I love thee. If I feel tired and gloomy during the cold and dark winter months, I now feel awake again. It’s easier to get out of bed in the morning and being outside, even if it’s just walking to the tube, is a pleasure not torture. On Saturday I just walked around town for two hours because the sun was out and it was spring in the air.

Lots of the spring flowers are in full bloom, and the first British asparagus has arrived in some shops together with the wild garlic. This, my dear readers, is my favourite time of year. I love summer and warmer temperatures, but now before summer is here, we have it all in front of us and it feels like the best present ever. Then we blink and it’s September, but I really want to try and enjoy the little things every day between now and then. The taste of all the fresh produce; the asparagus, the jersey royals, the first British strawberries and so on. Sitting in the sun having a coffee or an ice cream, walking to work and hearing the birds chirping. All of that makes me so very happy.

And one of my favourite dishes this time of year, is a real celebration of spring. It’s fresh and simple but full of spring flavours. I’m talking about fresh local asparagus, homemade wild garlic mayonnaise that’s just divine and to top it all off, a drizzle of a nice olive or rapeseed oil and a scattering of parmesan shavings. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy SPRING!!

Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgette and feta

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I snapped this picture as I was throwing this pasta together for lunch the next day, but I must say it exceeded my expectations so much I wish I had allowed myself time to take a nicer picture.

This is another dish where the sum is (much) greater than the individual parts; it’s just a simple dish that works. I love every bite of the slightly al dente pasta coated in fresh wild garlic pesto, the crunch from the raw thinly sliced baby courgettes, the bigger bits of tender-but-not-too-tender broccoli and the slightly melted pieces of tangy feta. I urge you to try it for your next picnic, barbecue or quick weekday supper.

Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgettes and feta, serves 2

200 ml orzo 

2-3 tbsp wild garlic pesto

1 baby courgette, thinly sliced

4 stems tenderstem broccoli 

100 g feta

a little olive oil if needed 

salt & pepper

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the broccoli in boiling salted water and cook until a little tender but still al dente and cut each stem into four. Drain the pasta in a sieve and pour it back into the empty saucepan. Stir in the pesto and add a little olive oil if needed. Add the courgette slices and the broccoli. Mix together and season to taste. Add the crumbled feta and stir once more before serving. 

Visiting home and wild garlic fever!

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After four days in Italy, I had six days back home in the south of Sweden. I tried to keep it low key and just spend time with the family, and as usual we enjoyed some wonderful food together.

Spring had arrived in Sweden too, even if it was a little behind the Italian version. But the wood anemones flowered and the wild garlic was ready to eat, so I was pretty happy!

The evening I came home my mum and I (dad doesn’t like wine as much as we do) shared a lovely bottle of  Crèmant from Alsace, to celebrate we were together again!

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Another evening we enjoyed a cheese board with my Italian favourite Erborinato, Brie de Maux and Saint Albray. We also had some biscuits, pear slices, honey, rose hip jam and port. So yummy!

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I also picked wild garlic in the woods, as you can see it’s easy to forage; it’s everywhere!

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I also picked some wood anemones. It’s a spring ritual for me.

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We also cooked with wild garlic and one evening we had this great dish as a starter; asparagus (that I bought in Italy) with wild garlic mayo, parmesan and rapeseed oil.

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Afterwards we had cod loin cooked in the oven with wine and dill, potato purée, peas and carrots. And browned butter. Just. Amazing.

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One day we did a road trip to Höganäs and also stopped in Mölle by the sea to enjoy the view and the sunshine.

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In Höganäs we found an amazing fishmonger who sold fresh Swedish bleak roe so we of course had to buy some.

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We had it with rösti, creme fraiche and chopped red onions as a starter that evening.

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The rest of our dinner that night was a bunch of nibbles: leftover asparagus and wild garlic mayo, serrano ham, smoked prawns, some smoked mussels, tomatoes and wild garlic bread.

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One night we had friends over for a dinner of tried and tested recipes. We started the evening with champagne and Nigella’s prawn cocktail in lettuce leaves. Love this!

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The main course was fillet of beef with hasselback potatoes, broccoli, carrots and two sauces: bearnaise and peppercorn. Delicious!

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After a breather we enjoyed a rhubarb crumble with mum’s homemade custard. Such a wonderful evening!

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My last evening in Sweden was on a Sunday, and for dinner we had wild garlic soup to start.

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Followed by wonderfully tender pheasant with cream sauce, boiled potatoes, jelly, broccoli and carrots.

Thank you, Sweden, for a lovely time!