Thursday, 10 May 2012

Wild Garlic Pesto

I am a crap singer.  So bad, that I'm only allowed to sing in the car.  When I'm on my own.  Even Miss A has learned to say 'No more singing, Mummy'.  That hurts the most because when she was tiny, I used to get away with singing to her lots.  Especially when I was trying to get her to sleep.  Although now I sit here and think about it, maybe she was just pretending to go to sleep when I murdered various lullabies as a way of getting me to shut up because if she cried, I only sang more thinking it would calm her down.

She wasn't this clean when we'd finished!
Since I was a child, I'd wished that life could be just like in the musicals where people just randomly burst into song in the middle of the day.  Singing and dancing (just as badly as I sing) can lift my mood.  My car is filled with CDs I've made to suit my mood and I'm often seen sat at traffic lights belting out some tune or another.  One day I was stuck in traffic in my convertible (this was years ago when I could drive impractical cars) and started singing and bopping along to some tune or another and a drop-dead-gorgeous guy pulled up in a convertible next to me and started singing and bopping along with me.  Of course, if life really was like a musical, I'd be married to him now.  Sadly not.

In fact, if I was to liken myself to a TV character, I'd be like Ally McBeal or JD from Scrubs.  Things happen and my reaction is to sing a song in my head.  I'm sure at meetings people think I must be mad because someone will say something and I start grinning to myself.  Because I've turned on my inner jukebox and started up a tune appropriate to the situation.

If I was singing a song right now, it would be The Great Pretender.  Because a couple of days ago, I thought I'd arrived as a real foodie as I went off foraging for wild garlic.  That's what real foodies do.  They don't just tap their shopping list into their Ocado Android App.  They have food as nature intended - not wrapped in sterile shrink wrap.

Random greenery - I'm sure there's garlic there somewhere
An old colleague mentioned on Facebook that he'd been making wild garlic pesto and it was great.  There's an abundance of wild garlic round where I live every year and it always smells amazing (provided you like garlic) but I've never been brave enough to pick it before in case I was picking the wrong thing.  A quick bit of advice from B and off I went with Miss A and doggie number 1 to find some wild garlic of my very own.

After a trek through a very muddy wood, we alighted on a bountiful patch and with Miss A's help, I soon had a carrier bag-ful.  I bought it home, picked it over, washed it and left it to drain in the sink.  The husband appears and asks why I've been out picking weeds.  I inform him that it's wild garlic.  He's heard me comment on plenty of dog walks as to what's making the smell and I've even shown him the plants.  He doesn't believe me and informs me that I'm stupid and have probably picked deadly nightshade and will end up killing myself.

In my slightly paranoid state, I'd tweeted B a picture asking him to confirm that I was about to pick the right thing.  He responded saying that he thought so.  On second look at the picture, I noted that it also showed bluebells and what I know as 'Sweethearts' - those sticky plants that you pick and then stick to someone's back and laugh raucously when they don't realise how daft they look with a weed hanging from their jumper (of course I only did this when I was about six - honest!).

I then Googled some images.  These were mildly reassuring until B tweeted while I was making my pesto to say I should crush a stem and it should smell of garlic.  It was only a very faint smell, but by now my paranoia was overriding common sense.

Anyway, to cut another long blog post short, I persisted and whilst heating the pesto with some pasta finally got a decent garlic smell from it.  Reassured, I sat down to eat, only to find that it tasted like pasta tossed in freshly cut grass clippings.  No garlic, no taste from the parmesan or walnuts.  Very disappointing.

Wild garlic pesto and tagliatelle
So obviously I'm not a real foodie, just A Great Pretender.  See what I did there?  Or maybe my palate has just been ruined by years of over-flavoured processed food and I am just blind to the delicate flavour of wild grass clippings.  Sorry, wild garlic.

Don't take my word for it.  I'm just one person in a sea of foodies who have all been jumping up and down raving about this delicacy.  I have a huge jar of the stuff so will try some other things with it over the next week or two.  Maybe it will be better when it's had chance to mature for a few days.  Or maybe I really have picked the wrong thing.  In which case, I'll never find it out if it tastes better when mature and this may well be the last blog post I ever write.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

So if you want to test your foodie credentials, hop over to the River Cottage website and check out the recipe I used.

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