Wild Garlic – How to use it

wildgarlicMarch2016

Our Morghew Park Wild Garlic

Wild garlic is prolific at this time of year, if you know what you are looking for and have time to don your wellies and head out into the countryside for the few weeks it is around.

The first bit is the easy bit – it’s easy to find as you can smell the gentle whiff of garlic in the air – but if time is not your friend, then heading out to shady woods before everyone else has got there first, might not work for you.

Our garlic is foraged on the private Morghew estate by the owners, so there is no risk to the environment by stripping the woodland.  Morghew Estate is set in the most stunning woodland and arable land (where our potatoes are grown, by the way) and is managed sensitively and responsibly.

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Wild Garlic – How to use it

Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

RoastTomatoSoup

I keep being drawn back to this chef’s website simply because their food photography is so good it makes me hungry enough to want to just dive into the kitchen and cook.

This soup is just so smooth, velvety and moreish…a real hats off to simple produce that can be sourced around Sussex easily…well for the next couple of weeks, at any rate.  Our fabulous Nutbourne tomatoes will be finishing soon, so there isn’t too much opportunity left to enjoy a bowlful.

The cheddar dumplings are so simple, and an upgrade from our usual crusty bread and cheese on the side.  This recipe calls for Davidstow Cheddar but we pooh-pooh stuff from all that way over the other side of the country as we have our own amazing Sussex Cheddar – both organic and non-organic.  Cheddar is hearty and sweet, but we also like to experiment with cheese with a slightly nuttier and more mature flavour – like the Olde Sussex, from The Traditional Dairy or Lords Burgh from Plumpton Down.

This soup works with a ripe classic vine tomato and don’t skimp on quality.  Tinned tomatoes are great as a cupboard basic, but there is a massive difference in tomato soup as canned or even tetrapak-ed tomatoes will leave a slight metallic aftertaste.  A good ripe fresh vine tomato will give a more rounded edge.

Any breadcrumbs will also work, but Monica Shaw, this recipe’s cook recommends wholemeal – and we found they did make a difference to the flavour.

Ingredients

  • Roasted tomato soup

  • 1kg tomato, ripe
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of basil, small, separated into leaves and stalks
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • olive oil
  • Dumplings

  • 2 slices of bread, crumbled, or approximately 55g of breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 55g of Cheddar cheese
  • salt
  • black pepper
1.  Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
2.  Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange cut-side up in a baking dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper
3.  Bake for approximately 1 hour, until the tomatoes are totally soft and beginning to char around the edges
4.  Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the onion, carrot and garlic. Cook for approximately 7 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, chop the basil stalks and addd to the pan. Cook for another minute
5.  Add the roasted tomatoes (including any juices that seeped out) to the pan along with the vegetable stock. Stir, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down. Cover and leave to simmer for about 10-20 minutes (until the carrots are very soft)
6.  Blitz the soup in a blender then return to the pan and gently reheat
7.  Meanwhile, make the dumplings by mixing together all of the ingredients – you should have a moist doughy mix that’s easy to shape into small balls (about the size of a teaspoon)
8.  Drop the balls into the hot soup and simmer with a lid on for approximately 10 minutes
9.  Ladle the soup and dumplings into bowls and garnish with grated cheddar cheese and fresh basil leaves before serving
Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dumplings