Monday, 25 May 2015

Mountain Bikes and Garlic

I did once own a mountain bike. I'm not sure why I had it as I never rode it off-road, just potted around country lanes, wondering why it was such hard work.  The nearest I've got to serious downhill mountain bike stuff was when I worked as a chalet girl in Chatel, France, we didn't have any snow for the first few weeks and one of the team thought it would be a great idea to take mountain bikes up in the cable car and then ride them back down.  I opted for sitting in the sun at the top of the mountain writing postcards, I was the only one injury-free at the end of the day!
But since moving back to the country I decided to join the local cycling club, not realising initially that mountain bikes were the bikes of choice (I turned up on my thin-tyred hybrid and was sent on my way!).
Luckily I have been loaned a rather gorgeous bike so now take part in the ride around The Chilterns each week - and what a great way to explore, albeit I am focused on the ground more than the surroundings as, watching out for tree stumps, mud, holes and the like is pretty crucial.
But what I didi spot as we were storming through a woodland this week, was a carpet of beautiful wild garlic.  Asking if everyone could stop whilst I pick a bunch of garlic was not really an option - trying to keep sixteen cyclists together all evening is already a big enough task, so today I retraced our route, this time on foot and with a big bag!

One of the tastiest things to make with wild garlic is this delicious pesto - rich, pungent and very moreish!

Wild Garlic and Hazelnut Pesto

100g wild garlic (flowers and leaves)
100g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
30g parmesan, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
100ml-200ml extra virgin olive oil

- Place the garlic and hazelnuts in a food processor and process until completed broken down.
- Add the parmesan and lemon juice and blitz again.
- With the machine running slowly pour in the oil, adding more if you like a looser consistency.
- Spoon into a jar, cover with a little oil and store in the fridge.