Nothing compares to growing your own food and cooking with it. The garden has started to yield produce so on top of the early rhubarb we’re eating strawberries, beetroot and salad leaves. The kale is ready and, amazingly, not destroyed by cabbage white caterpillars, and the blueberries are not far off.
Foraged food comes a close second though. There’s something primal about collecting sustenance from the natural land yet the stronger feeling I have is amazement that you can just wander into the countryside and help yourself. It feels too easy, too rewarding, as though its poaching and we’ll eventually get caught. I suppose that feeling will wear off but for now as a supermarket-raised urbanite I’m enjoying every minute of raiding the bounty of the hedgerows and getting away with it.
Earlier in the year we wilted garlic leaves as a side dish (next year I’m told we should make pesto). Last week we picked elderflower heads and steeped them in sugary water to make a delicious cordial; so easy, so fresh. And today I made an Italian torta with wild strawberries. The boys and I cycled to Ford to the array I spotted the other day and picked around 3 or 4 hundred. They’re tiny compared to cultivated strawberries, the size of currants, and have an almost artificial pear-drop edge to their taste.
They look great and the tart is delicious.