Bear's Garlic Pesto

Wild garlic, ramsons, bear’s garlic….

Whatever you choose to call it, it is delicious and currently in season. In French they call it l’ail des ours (garlic of bears) as apparently this is a brown bear’s Achilles’ heel! Humans also love these wild, garlic flavoured leaves, which are edible and great to use in soups, salads, omelette etc.

Wild garlic is currently in abundance at the local fruits and veg market. Every stall seems to have a large basked of these bright green leaves. I have taken advantage of this and made a basic bear’s garlic pesto, half of which I keep fresh in the fridge and the rest I divide into smaller portion to freeze. There is just too much to use all at once and as the season is relatively short it is a nice way to enjoy bear’s garlic for weeks to come.

Click link  below for bear’s garlic pesto recipe:




21 August 2009


Eight friends and a pasta machine is a great recipe for a dinner party and a welcomed change to the standard fare of one exhausted host, slaving over a hot stove while the guests wait ‘patiently’ in the next room.

Weeks ago at Lucy’s wedding, Helen & Rich casually mentioned the steam oven in their kitchen. I’m not sure they were quite prepared for my overly enthusiastic reaction…. Imagine a fat kid on a lolly pop and you are getting warmer. So they suggested we come over for dinner and I said great, why don’t we all cook together.  Friends are always surprised by this idea, I think mostly because they have never done it. I grew up in a family where everyone, men and women alike, pitched in to make the meal. The talking, drinking and cooking together was half the fun.

When planning the cooking menu, I had to keep in mind that we were 8 in the kitchen and that the recipes should be vegetarian for Lucy 🙂 While the steam oven was a great temptation, I put this on the back burner, opting for homemade pasta making – as I thought it would be a better idea for a large group.

Sweet Pea Blog Recipe

There comes a time in every girls life where she has to face facts – that if ones beloved husband, boyfriend, fiancé (mine very much included in this list…) brother, partner, father, the list is long but distinguished here, has become an official OFFICE MOLE – one of those very dedicated, over achieving, hard workers, who should basically set up camp under their desk, you are going to have to join the ranks of those who triumphed over the work pile! It will not take an army, nor a city wide power shortage, you loosing your mind, or having a shout, all you need is your OVEN and a couple of ingredients.

Now the saying goes that you may be able to bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, but I can tell you – you can bring a hungry overworked man to the table and believe me he will eat!! The story is the same if the roles of the sexes are reversed. So if you are going to lure them out of their den, you need to make it worth their while. Which got me to thinking about an Italian dish my colleague Melissa made last year – one that had so much success that no sooner had she placed the platter on the table but the dish was clean. I figured that this would do the trick.

My first attempt at RICOTTA STUFFED PASTA SHELLS,produced a dish that while savoury, was a little dry for my liking and lack that unctuous creamy quality Italian cooking is so famous for. Melissa’s shells however are filled with three types of cheese which solves this problem. Like many cooks who are comfortable in the kitchen, she cooks by her nose and not necessarily by the book, so I had to invent my own proportions etc based on the ingredients she normally uses. Half the fun of cooking is the art of improvisation & personalisation!

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