Wild Garlic and Lemon Pesto

This week I’ve been playing with my new discovery, wild garlic. My findings are as follows:

  • Once picked it very quickly wilts unless kept in a glass of water.
  • One shouldn’t eat the leaves after the plant has flowered.
  • The flowers, however, can be eaten but are stronger than the leaves.  They could be used to scent dishes rather than actually eaten.
  • The leaves go slimy and grey if sautéd
  • Though it tastes very mild, wild garlic gives the eater wicked, wicked wicked garlic breath.

 My plans to make Pille’s wild garlic pesto were scuppered when I realised I was without pinenuts.  Not one to be deterred, I hunted through my cupboards and made do with what I could find.  The resulting pesto was grassy, garlicky and great.  😉



Wild Garlic and Lemon Pesto

50g wild garlic leaves

30g nuts (I used cashew nuts but walnuts and almonds wpuld work well too)

50ml olive oil

30g parmesan, grated finely

1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper

  • Whizz the wild garlic and nuts until a coarse paste is formed.  Add the olive oil and whizz for a few more seconds.
  • Stir through the parmesan and lemon juice.  Season carefully.

We ate this stirred through wholemeal pasta and topped with rocket and torn prosciutto.


The Wedding Cake – The Recipe

Last night I made the final practice cake.  The wedding is only eight days away – eeeeeeek! – and, though the last sponge was a resounding success, I felt one more trial was necessary for peace of mind.  Again, the cake turned out very well.  So well in fact that when I returned to the staffroom at lunch time to take a photo of the leftover slices of cake this crumb was all that remained!



I will post a photo of the final cake after next Saturday’s wedding.  Until then, here, after much calculations,  experimentation and failure, is the recipe for a 10″ square moist vanilla sponge cake.  🙂


The Wedding Cake (based on Rose Levy Beranbaum’s white butter cake)

 650g Tipo 00 flour (my choice of flour caused much discussion.  The recipe called for North American “cake flour” which is finer than UK plain flour and bleached.  Solved the problem by using the ultra fine 00 flour and self bleaching it by blasting it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  Many thanks to this blog for providing the solution)

650g golden unrefined caster sugar

10 teaspoons baking powder

1.5 teaspoons salt

10 large organic egg whites, room temperature

560g whole milk, room temperature

5 teaspoons vanilla essence

360g organic butter, room temperature

Extra butter and flour for baking tins

800g pre-made fondant icing

Butter icing – perfect recipe here

Corn flour

Good quality strawberry jam

  • Preheat a non-fan-heated oven to 180oC exactly
  • Rub two 10″ cake tins with butter.  Dust with flour and line the bases with baking paper.
  • Lightly mix the egg whites with the vanilla essence and 200ml of the milk.  Set aside.
  • Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  • Cream the butter and add to the dry ingredients along with the milk.  Mix until most of the flour is dampened then transfer the mixture to an electric mixer (there is a lot of mixture – adding the flour and other ingredients straight into the electric mixer’s bowl results in a flour storm).  Mix on medium speed for 1.30 mins.
  • Add 1/3 of the egg mixture to the batter and mix for 20 seconds.  Repeat until all of the egg mixture is combined.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 more seconds.
  • Pour equal amounts of the batter into the two pre-prepared baking tins and smooth over.
  • If you have a huge oven, bake both cakes in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes.  If you have a normal sized oven, bake the cakes separately for 40 minutes each.
  • Remove baked cakes from the oven and cool thoroughly.
  • Carefully tip one cake onto a plate/cake holding thing.  Liberally spread with butter icing then strawberry jam.
  • Carefully  tip the second cake upside down on top of the base cake.  Placing this layer upside down ensures a very flat cake top.
  • Dust a work top with cornflour and roll the fondant out to 5mm thickness.  Carefully lay over the cake and trim.