Spring is the time of year when we all look forward to the wealth of fresh summer vegetables that are just around the corner. Through the winter, we have been saved from stored and imported veg by that nutritional hero ‘purple sprouting broccoli’ and of course the versatile asparagus will be upon us in a few days. But have any of you given any thought to wild garlic leaves?

 Wild garlic, like its familiar cultivated relative, is incredibly healthy and tastes great too. We are right in the middle of the season so why don’t you go out into the woodlands and forage for these delicious leaves, that enhance recipes of any master chef.

A word of warning to all potential woodland foragers, wild garlic is very similar in appearance to lily of the valley, which is poisonous to eat. But nature is there to give a helping hand, if in doubt rub the leaf between your fingers and smell –  you’ve guessed, wild garlic smells of garlic! If you don’t want to take a chance, then pop down to your local farmers market to purchase this delightful treat. 

 This morning I received my weekly veggie box from Riverford and was instantly inspired to create, with a little adaption from me, their ‘Masala carrots with coconut lentils’, and of course I will be throwing in a handful of wild garlic leaves too!

 This recipe serves 2 and is quick and easy to prepared

  • 500 g carrots, peeled & chopped into angled 3 cm pieces

  • 2 onions peeled & chopped into wedges

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

  • Coconut oil for roasting & frying

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped (flakes do just as well)

  • 1 tablespoon of curry leaves

  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder

  • Handful wild garlic leaves, washed and chopped

  • 150 g red lentils, rinsed & drained

  • 1 tin coconut milk (creamed coconut works just as well, just add more water)

  • 2 tomatoes, diced

  • 150 ml water

  • Bunch fresh coriander, chopped

  • 1 lemon

  • Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 220°c

Toss carrots, onions, garam masala & 2 tbsp oil in a roasting tin. Season & roast for about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves & chilli. Gently fry for 1 minute, until mustard seeds pop. Tip in the curry powder, wild garlic leaves, lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes & water. Bring to the boil & spoon off any scum. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Add more water if necessary, don’t let the lentils dry out, you want a porridge-like consistency. When cooked, season to taste & fold in half the coriander.

Remove veg from the oven and squeeze lemon juice over to taste.

Serve lentils in shallow bowls, top with roasted veg and finish with remaining coriander.