January’s Random Recipe challenge set by the lovely Dom over at Belleau Kitchen tasked us with picking a recipe from a book we’d received for christmas. I got a fair selection as you can see. It included the rather wonderful ‘A Curious Cookbook’ - a look at historical recipes from some of the earliest cookery books on record (14th C) right up to wartime (sparrows on toast anyone?)
Given my record in past Random Recipe challenges (rabbit leg, stuffed carrots &c) I thought I was sure to get that book but my random number generator (the Chap) thankfully picked one of the other books he got me – the Herbs installment of the River Cottage handbook series. These books always have the recipe section at the back so I flipped it open at that end and got… Spring Pasta with Wild Garlic and Purple Sprouting Broccoli.
Now, although we managed to get some ramsons (wild garlic) on Jan 27th last year I thought that one week into 2014 would be pushing my luck rather. That's not spring in the UK by any stretch of the imagination. However, I duly went for a riverside potter on one of the few non-rainy days we had around the middle of the month and found....shoots. Teeny tiny shoots, that was all so far. Not a massive surprise. I gathered the tiniest ‘handful’ (midget hands you understand) of the shoots to give an edge of the garlicky flavour and resigned myself to using the suggested chives that the book mentions can be substituted if you have no wild garlic.
The recipe also uses purple sprouting broccoli. I’m afraid I have to admit to completely forgetting about that detail so this got made with regular calabrese, a substitution that is also mentioned in the book itself.
Overall I found this a bit too rich with creamy goats cheese smothering everything and an additional grating of parmesan on top. I find it hard to believe that I’m actually going to type this but, I think it was a little too cheesy. [Too cheesy! I know what you’re thinking – how can something ever be too cheesy huh?] It was too rich from all the cheese, rather than the flavour, is what I think I’m trying to say. It certainly needed a good squeeze of lemon juice or something to cut through it and lift the flavour a bit; it was all rather samey. That said I imagine this would be a very different beast with actual wild garlic in it.
It was a nice quick dinner to knock up though and one that's pretty frugal if you make it with regular calabrese and Aldi's goat cheese. :-)
It warrants remembering for when the ramsons finally do unfurl their leaves out of the overflowing river Exe.
The clever ones amongst you will have noticed that I mention the middle of the month earlier in the post yet the date of writing is the somewhat later 30th. Yep - I actually made my random recipe in good time this month but still didn't get it up before the cut off. Please let me join in Dom, please...