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Behind the scenes with Heritage Services: self-isolation tips

Many members of the team are now working from home and in-between knuckling down to the to do list, they are finding ways to entertain themselves. Staff will be uploading and sharing their self-isolation tips, whether it’s a craft, recipe, a touch of mindfulness or a film review. Lizzie, who works in Marketing for Bath’s Historic Venues, is the first to contribute with a wild garlic pesto recipe.

7 April 2020

Foraging for wild garlic and making wild garlic pesto

I’m slowly adjusting to this new way of living which, to be honest, hasn’t left me with much more spare time than I had before.  The time I would have been dropping the kids at school or at various after school clubs has been taken up with other jobs (mainly clearing up after everybody!).  Nevertheless, I am pleased that I do have time to make wholesome meals, rather than fling something non-descript in the oven in-between rugby and ballet.

I always start my day enjoying a blast of fresh air and walking the dog. Taking my daily exercise early in the morning when very few people are around really suits me and certainly helps with my social distancing. I’m lucky enough to live very near a small area of woodland and, now that spring is upon us, the ground is carpeted in wild garlic.  I’ve been tramping around these plants for years, muttering about not having enough time to forage, but for the first time in my life, I’ve made wild garlic pesto.  Amazingly, it’s so easy and so delicious, why didn’t I do it before?!

If you can walk from home to a wooded area while you take your daily exercise (remember, you MUST stay local and respect social distancing), I thoroughly recommend hunting out these delicious (and free!) leaves.  White flowers are beginning to appear on them too and the woods look stunning.  If you are unable to walk to woodland very near your home, you can buy wild garlic leaves online, in addition to the bulbs which can be planted for next years’ harvest.

To make sure you’ve picked wild garlic, crush the leaves in your hand and sniff – they should smell really garlicky!  Also make sure you pick the leaves carefully so not to damage the bulb.

Ingredients

150g wild garlic leaves

50g parmesan, finely grated

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

½ lemon zest and couple of squeezes of juice

50g pine nuts

150ml rapeseed oil

Method

  1. Thoroughly rinse the wild garlic leaves (you don’t know what animals have been on them!)
  2. Chop the wild garlic leaves and add them to a food processor with parmesan, garlic, lemon zest and pine nuts. Make into a rough paste. Season and mix in most of the oil
  3. Add a couple of squeezes of lemon juice
  4. Put the pesto in a clean jar and top with the remaining oil (if refrigerated, this will keep for two weeks)

This is really tasty with pasta (even my kids loved it!) and I’ve also added it to soups and rice dishes.  It does make your breath smell but I suppose this time of isolation is the perfect time to indulge!

So, other than creating a deliciously cheap meal, another positive to come out of my isolation is that once this is over, I am going to enrol the family on a foraging course to find out more about cooking with wild foods (they don’t know this yet!).