Have you been spending many an hour in the last few weeks dealing with your garden's weeds as they start to run amok? Have you had that sinking feeling that you are fighting a losing battle?
How different it would it all seem if you felt that those weeds had some kind of purpose?
Well, the weekend before last, I had the great pleasure of visiting my friends Roy and James, and the surprise for lunch was what we dubbed 'weed tarts'.
On the list of ingredients was Cleavers (Goosegrass), Nettles, Rosebay Willowherb and Wild Garlic, all foraged from the garden for the tender leafy tips.
James stir-fried them briefly and then effectively steamed them...
...before cooking them in puff-pastry cases.
Of course, these are plants that have great use for wildlife, too.
Nettles are famed for being the foodplant of four of our most colourful butterflies - Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Red Admiral. The first three require really rather large Nettle patches to satisfy them, but even a small clump in a sunny position will do for Red Admirals, and they are also home to Mother of Pearl and Nettle-tap Moths and a host of other insects, and Bullfinches like the seeds.
Rosebay Willowherb, meanwhile, is great for several bee species, and is the foodplant of the Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar.
So although these plants might normally be shunned from a garden, by having them as a crop for the kitchen as well you've got double the reason to justify their presence.
How did they taste? Slightly earthy from the Nettles, slightly spinchy perhaps from the Goosegrass, plus the subtle Wild Garlic aromas. And with a little grated cheddar on the top, magnificent!
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