On a recent walk in my favourite local area of Didsbury on the outskirts of Manchester, we happened upon some wild garlic. I have been mad into the idea of foraging ever since picking wild blackberries and crab apples with my parents whilst holidaying as a child, and could barely contain my excitement at the bounty we had stumbled across.
If you’re not familiar with wild garlic, whilst out walking in the countryside mainly in wooden areas, you will often smell it before you see it as it fills the air with the heady scent of yes, you guess it, garlic. So here’s what is looks like if you want to look out for some yourself…
Obviously be careful what you pick, I don’t want anyone getting poorly tums off the back of this post, but to be honest it is pretty unmistakeable. Try squeezing a couple of leaves and if your fingers smell garlicky you’re onto a winner!
And then I thought, ‘what to make with it when I get home?’
I liked the idea of making some lovely rustic bread so set to and scoured the internet for a suitable recipe and came across this gem by Jamie Oliver and Genaro Contaldo – the video is well worth a watch, I love seeing these two working together.
This recipe was sooo easy to make and VERY tasty. I now can’t believe that I had not before attempted making focaccia, but I will certainly be making it again, hope you enjoy it too!
500g Strong white bread flour
1 tsp Sea salt
1 x 7g Sachet dried yeast
300ml Tepid water
Handful of wild garlic
Breadcrumbs made from stale bread, or I used panko breadcrumbs
Extra sea salt for sprinkling
Grease a baking tin with olive oil – I used the same tin I use to make brownies which worked great.
Pour flour into a large bowl, or onto your work surface if you have a lot of space (which I don’t..) make a well in the middle.
Combine the yeast with the water until well mixed. Pour the water into your well in the middle of the flour, and begin to work in the flour with a fork in a circular motion.
Once the mixture starts to come together as a dough start kneading with floured hands. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth round ball of dough. Pop the dough into a bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth or tea towel. Leave to prove at room temperature for 1 hour.
Grab your wild garlic and tear into a pestle and mortar. I only have a tiny pestle and mortar so instead I used the end of a rolling pin in a pudding basin which worked fine. Pound the wild garlic with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of sea salt until you have something the texture of pesto.
Sprinkle your breadcrumbs evenly across the bottom of your oiled tin (this give the bread a nice crunchy bottom!). Once proved, Lay your dough into the tin and pour your wild garlic mixture on top. Now press your fingertips all over the dough right to the bottom of your tin, rubbing and pressing the garlic mixture into your dough. This gives the focaccia its lovely texture – watch the video for the technique if you’re unsure. You can also tear and roll up a few extra leaves and push into the dough for extra flavour and texture.
Lay a warm damp cloth over your tin once again and prove for another hour. Preheat your oven to 225° c.
Once proved, bake your bread in the hot oven for 20 – 25 minutes until lightly golden on top.
When you take it out of the oven, lightly drizzle with some more olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. And its ready to serve. YUM!