Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Ramsons pesto

Woodland lane
 It was a pretty overcast morning here today, drizzling too. We ummed and ahhed about whether to go to the woods to collect a whole load of ramsons for making pesto with but, as we're really pushed for time usually and we had the morning free, we decided to go ahead. I'm really glad we did because most of the drizzle didn't reach through the tree canopy and, as most other people had been put off their dog walking, it was really peaceful.

We headed for the same ramsons patch where we found Spirit. No sign of owls today though but plenty of ramsons.  We set the basket down and gathered handful upon handful. The woods we visit is very ancient, probably at least medieval but maybe even older and this particular patch of ramsons is very well established. I'd love to know how long it's been there for. Hundreds of years maybe? Longer? When I looked back at the ramsons patch as we left, there wasn't an obvious difference to when we arrived which was surprising.
Can you spot the poisonous leaf in amongst the ramsons?

That's the one ... Lords and Ladies. You can tell the difference but it's a warning against blindly picking handfuls at a time

Handful of ramsons

We picked around 5 or 6 times this many and there were many, many times this amount left

Total amount that we gathered
 The scent of garlic all around us was incredibly strong! I wish I had weighed the leaves we had before using them ... so many! On the way back along the path we found hundreds and hundreds of pignuts. They look so beautifully delicate above ground and then, when you dig far enough below there is a "nut" joined to the stem by the thinnest, most fragile thread.
Hundreds of pignuts on the way back
Anyway, back at home, A was in charge of endlessly washing ramsons leaves while I gathered the ingredients and grated the cheese. Neither of us expected to gather so many leaves so we had far too little pine nuts or cheese and only enough olive oil by accident. 
Pesto ingredients
 Wild Pesto

Plenty of freshly picked ramsons leaves, washed and checked over 
Olive oil
Grana padano cheese, grated
Pine nuts
Sea salt

Put a good handful of leaves and some oil in the liquidiser, whizz it up. With each whizz, add more and more leaves and as much oil as needed to make it a good consistency. Add a good amount of pine nuts and salt to taste with a generous amount of cheese. Whizz it up again and store in the fridge. If you want to store it longer, it can be frozen ... easy peasy and very lovely!
Finished pesto to the left, whizzed ramsons with oil and salt to the right (they need cheese and pine nuts adding tomorrow)

Finished pesto
 I just can't express the sheer beauty of the greenness of this pesto. Forget the type in the supermarkets ... this is pure, raw goodness. Wonderful! 
Such a beautiful colour!
Tonight, we had a couple of spoonfuls mixed in with stuffed jacket spuds. I can't say I've ever eaten green potatoes before but they tasted absolutely delicious!

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