At last, hawthorn accessible – enough to take home and add to my cheese sandwich!
After several weeks of vainly searching the hedgerows while passing on foot / cycle / bus / car or whetever for th slightest flash of green I was rewarded yesterday by the first flush of Hawthrone leaves on what is obviously a very hardy specimen. It was quite high and exposed and not at all sheltered, but there was a definate ‘bursting of leaves’ which I haven’t seen anywhere else. I know I keep saying it, but just keep believing – Spring really is on its way!!
Popped out on a quick reconnaissance mission to spy out the land (well what is growing on the land) for a walk planned for this weekend coming with Transition Chesterfield, but alas, the canal basin was a bit bare, so we have had to delay for a few weeks. There were definate signs of where things might be – there were a couple of Coltsfoot almost in flower (if you are over-run you can make wine, but it can be quite rare, so best not!) and we did find a couple of Sorrel plants, lots and Dandelions and Nettles which are ‘coming’. Spring is so late! This time last year we were eating Nettle Soup. We did spot several Comfry plants also breaking through the surface and Steph told me that it contains B12, the recipe for Comfrey fritters is below, but you may have to wait a few weeks to try it out!
Take 4oz flour with pinch of salt and a little cayenne pepper in a bowl add the yolk of 1 egg and gradually add 1/4 pt water. Whip the egg white until stiff and fold it in. Pick spring Comfrey leaves (with a little stalk), wash and dry them and dip them in the batter and fry them in the hot fat until brown, drain and serve ASAP.
A great walk past Walton Dam and through Summersall Park along the Hipper Valley route (to reclaim my car after a night out – great party – thanks Lorna!) this afternoon resulted in a gathering of early wild garlic leaves. So bright green that they really stood out in the leaf litter along the stream banks. Crushing the leaves the pungent unmistakable smell was immediately obvious. At home I sliced a slot in the piece of lamb destined for dinner and filled the hole with the leaves – instant stuffing!! So much easier than all that cutting slivers of garlic and trying to push them into cuts in a leg of lamb. Result – beautiful delicately-flavoured roast lamb.
A cycle ride along the High Peak trail this morning brought more spring goodies than I would have expected this early that high – there was still a tiny bit of snow snuggled up in the lea of the rocks and it was almost sleeting!
Garlic Mustard, so small that I had to taste it to be sure that was what it really was, growing in abundance along the edges, along with other signs of spring like Celendine getting ready to flower (the small nodules of starch on the roots known as famine food – you would really have to be hungry to go to all that trouble!) and Chickweed nestling in sheltered corners. We didn’t spot any Sorrel, though we did look and there was plenty of ‘too early to pick’ Nettles and ‘too early to be certain’ Cow Parsley.