THE FRUGAL FOODIE: Wild garlic – the ultimate frugal ingredient

Wild garlic

Wild garlic

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At this time of year, I am never without wild garlic in my fridge. It’s the ultimate in frugality – it’s free – and it grows in abundance in most woodland/ riverside areas.

As I live next to a river and a wood, there’s never a shortage here! I featured ‘ways with wild garlic’ a while ago on my blog. It’s such a versatile ingredient. I make hummus, pesto, flavoured oil and butter, pasta, bread and lots more and I add it to my cooking all the time, at this time of year.

Frugal Foodie'Christine McAllister

Frugal Foodie'Christine McAllister

Get yourself out foraging. Making delicious food out of free ingredients is a great feeling. The season lasts until around the end of May, so don’t delay. Wild garlic pesto lasts for absolutely ages, so make lots and keep it in the fridge and you’ll be enjoying it through to next year’s season.

And whizz it up with some oil and have garlicky oil at your fingertips for months to come.

Check out my blog (diaryof afoodie.co.uk) for the most moreishly delicious focaccia smothered in wild garlic oil. Might not be great for the bikini diet but it’s good for the soul! Or treat it like a herb and chop it finely and cover with water in ice cube trays. When they’re frozen, pop the ice cubes in freezer bags and use a few cubes whenever you fancy in your cooking.

At this point in the season, you’ll start finding white flowers on the garlic. These are perfectly edible and make a pretty addition to salads or to beautify a bowl of wild garlic soup.

I also always have chorizo in my fridge. It lasts for ages (far longer than I ever manage to keep it) and you only need a small quantity to make a real flavour difference to your food. I use it as a base in so many dishes and practically all of my soups. I often add it to my pasta when I’m having pasta with wild garlic and hazelnut pesto. The smokey paprika flavour complements the wild garlic beautifully.

With this in mind, I devised a nice little cheese scone recipe with chorizo and wild garlic. Scones are a great, cheap and filling treat. You can adapt them to include whatever you fancy or whatever you have. If you have a bag of flour, you’ll never go hungry!

RECIPE - Cheese, chorizo and wild garlic scones

Ingredients

500g strong white flour

2 tsp baking powder

80g butter

200g grated cheese, plus some extra for sprinkling on top

½ tsp of salt

40g chorizo, very finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

30g wild garlic, finely chopped

200g milk, plus extra for brushing on top

Method

Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl.

Rub the butter into the flour, with your fingertips, until you have the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, fry the chorizo on a low heat until it has rendered its fat and add the spring onions. After a couple of minutes, add the wild garlic. Let it wilt for about 30 seconds and turn the heat off. Add this, along with the salt and the grated cheese, to the flour mixture.

Gradually add the milk (you may not need it all) until you have a soft, sticky dough. Don’t make it too wet.

Knead it for a couple of minutes on a floured surface. Then roll it out to approximately 2cm thick.

Using a medium cutter, cut them into about 18 scones. If you don’t have a cutter, rather than roll out the dough, you could just make lots of balls and flatten them out to around 2cm thick. They won’t have the nice straight sides but they’ll have a lovely rustic appearance!

Brush some milk over the tops and add a sprinkling of grated cheese.

Place on a hot baking tray in a preheated oven at 200c/ gas mark 6. Cook for around 15 minutes until they are golden brown.

Enjoy warmed with lots of butter and a cuppa. Or go all Spanish and complement them with a glass of Rioja!

See Christine’s blog here

Follow Christine on Twitter @thefrugaldiary