Sunday, 26 April 2009


I live in an area in the East of Edinburgh called Leith which encompasses a working port, a (sometimes even sunny) shore lined with bars and restaurants (including no less than three Michelin star-winning establishments) and a very proud community. There circulates a small but nonetheless popular magazine called The Leither for which I have done various odd pieces of writing in the past, but with a new editorship has come an opportunity for me to settle into a more permanent slot as food writer of-sorts. I have been given a page on which to write freely, which is a brilliant opportunity in terms of being published on paper, but also a nice aside to this blog. I hope to give focus to produce which can be found in and around the Leith area which will be an easy enough feat as there are a plethora of food establishments and speciality shops opening left, right and centre.

My first piece will appear in the May issue, and so it was timed conveniently to coincide with the wild garlic season. You'll recall my fondness for wild garlic last year when a dinner of dolmades and pesto had me waxing lyrical about this amazing herb to anyone who'd listen. This year, inflicted with a common cold and a yearning for something non-medicinal to help shift it, I found myself hot-footing it to Valvona & Crolla once again in search of these leaves. Soup seemed like the best thing for the soul but frankly there was no way I was buying wild garlic without making another pesto, it was just too good. A dig around online gave me an idea for parsley and wild garlic soup - both ingredients abundant with nutrients and more to the point, flavour. Whilst we're approaching the end of the all-to-short wild garlic season, if you do come across some I'd urge you to give this a try. It may sound somewhat pungent, but the cooking softens the flavours and an aromatic bowl of delicate green soup is the result, and the pesto stirred into it gives it a fragrant kick. Trust me, if you like garlic, you’ll love this.

Serves 4

For the soup:
knob of butter
2 medium sized onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1 litre vegetable stock (I like Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon)
50g - 60g parsley, roughly chopped
50g - 60g wild garlic, roughly chopped

For the pesto:
50g – 60g wild garlic leaves, washed, dried, stems cut off
pine nuts
olive oil

In a pot, melt the butter over a medium heat and gently sweat the onions and garlic with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes or until softened. Do not allow to colour.

Add the potato and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for around 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a pestle and mortar (or food processor if you’re feeling lazy), pound the wild garlic leaves for the pesto until your olfactory senses are given a right old treat. Add pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil, tasting as you go along until you are happy with the consistency and flavour.

Add the parsley and wild garlic to the soup pot, cook for a further minute or two until wilted.

Remove from heat and blend.

Season to taste and serve with the pesto drizzled over the top.


Sweet Bird said...

Congratulations on the new, more stable writing gig! That's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for.

I love that you're intent is to employ local produce - two thumbs up from me!

Gemma said...

Congratulations Carine!

If you want more wild garlic than you can use just jump on a bus to Dalkeith and go to the old railway line - it grows in abundance. Oh, and apparently, the water of leith between inverleith park and stockbridge is good for it as well.

carine said...

Thanks Gemma!

Might just take a wander to search for wild garlic this weekend...... I can;t get enough of the stuff!

Hope you're well and enjoying the new flat xx

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