Go wild with garlic

Tim Bilton is head chef and owner of the Spiced Pear at Hepworth. Sumptuous seasonal food, service with a smile and splash of real ale are the essential ingredients at The Spiced Pear – that, and a love for local as he reveals in this blog.

I love this time of year, as winter crosses over to spring the beginning of new life. Shoots starting to appear in our kitchen garden and the excitement of new growth and what new dishes we are going to create.

The winter months produce a limited supply of seasonal produce with the like of kale, calvo Nero, parsnips,  leeks, and Brussels sprouts.

Spring is the transition from winter to summer; the days start to get longer and the nights shorter. I love to see the new born baby lambs running and jumping on the hillsides over Hepworth and Holme moss, buds on the apple, pear and cherry trees, which in turn will turn into the most beautiful blossom.

As well as the excitement of our excellent forced Yorkshire rhubarb with its vibrant pink colour the new shoots have started to appear of one of my favourite seasonal food and that’s WILD GARLIC.

Wild garlic or (Alliums Ursinum as Alan Titchmarsh might say, also known as ramsons, buckrams, wood garlic, bear leek or bears garlic, devils garlic orgypsys onions and is a wild relative of the chive family) grow in woodland,  near or among the blue bells. If you have ever walked through woodland in the spring and smelt that garlic onion smell then there is wild garlic near by, either that or you have stumbled across and Indian restaurant in the middle of the forest.

There is an resurgence among us chefs at the moment about foraging and wild garlic is a great way to start looking and cooking wild food. Wild garlic can easily be found in woodland, semi-shaded areas and around riverbanks.

If you are unsure of what you have found then the smell is the ultimate clarification. Unlike domestic garlic, its leaves rather than its bulb champion wild garlic. Although the bulbs can still be eaten they are a lot smaller than its domestic cousin and are slightly milder. You can also eat the leaves raw and make them into a great pesto.


Wild Garlic Veloute


500g Washed wild garlic leaves

2 med Potato washed peeled and diced

2 clove Garlic crushed

The green leaves of two leeks washed and finely sliced

2 banana shallots finely chopped

125ml White wine

1litre chicken stock

100ml double cream

25g Butter

Drizzle olive oil

Bouquet Garni Thyme, Bay and parsley stalks

Chopped Parsley

Salt and pepper


Preparation method

For the confit potatoes using half of the diced potatoes add to a pan with a splash of olive oil one clove of garlic and one sprig of thyme cook on a low heat until soft.


For the wild garlic veloute

Heat a large pan add the olive oil, butter and melt.

Add the shallots, leeks, diced potato and garlic to the oil and butter and cook without colour for approx 3 – 4 minutes or until soft.

Add the white wine and reduce by half add the chicken stock and bring slowly to the boil

Turn the heat down and simmer until the potatoes are soft Add the cream and season with salt and pepper at this stage add the wild garlic stir into the liquid cook until wilted about 2 minutes.

Finally, blend in a food processor and pass through a fine sieve.

To serve place a few confit potatoes into the bottom of a bowl and pour over the wild garlic veloute a few wild garlic flowers can be placed on top of the soup.

About The Author

Tim Bilton is the chef proprietor of the Spiced Pear at Hepworth and a former contestant on the Great British Menu. He is a champion of local, seasonal food and grows much of what is served on the menu in a field adjacent to the restaurant.

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