February always seems to fly by but this year has been just ridiculous for me. I have started working in Galway, loving it also sewing my daughters wedding dress, attended a conference on food sovereignty in Cloughjordan eco village, very interesting stuff and met dedicated  inspirational people who really care about food and where and how it is produced.

Yesterday a group of us went walking in beautiful sunshine uphill to get a stunning view over Tipperary, Offaly and Meath, we found some tiny mushrooms (hallucinogenic, so won’t post a photo) they seem to have just gone on growing right through the mild winter. Also barren Strawberry in bloom and of course wonderfully fragrant Gorse,Sorrell and  Ground elder  are above ground too and very tasty as green veg or salad leaf.  Tricornered leek, is in bloom and lovely in salads and pesto, pretty flowers too, will try drying(pic on last post)  Ramson garlic  is up and fit to use in Galway so check out your local spot. Soon the  Pig nut,   and  Garlic mustard will be appearing. If you have photos of finds you are unsure of and would like an ID send them on, with a little info on where you found them.

I have  posted pesto recipes and if you have any ideas or other recipes please share, has anyone tried hazelnuts in a pesto and if so how was it?

Still gotta get to the shore and bring home some seaweeds.

Foraging walk + weekend special offer with Damer Court Hotel

I’ll be guiding a wild food forage walk in the Slieve Bloom mountains in County Offaly on Saturday the 24th of March.

Cost is €40 which includes lunch at my house afterwards, please get in touch to book.


This walk is also available as part of a special offer through Roscrea’s Damer Court Hotel. Here’s the details:

23rd – 25th March 2012

Friday –

  • Four course a la carte dinner in the Bianconi Restaurant plus bottle of wine.
  • B & B in Roscrea’s beautiful Damer Court Hotel.
    Leap Castle

Saturday –

  • Foraging walk with “Wild Food Mary” (Ireland’s most renowned forager) in the morning, followed by lunch with her.
  • Afternoon visit to Leap castle (Ireland’s most haunted) have a chat with Sean the owner and enjoy a glass of wine.
  • Four course a la carte dinner in the Bianconi Restaurant plus bottle of wine.
  • B & B in Roscrea’s beautiful Damer Court Hotel.


  • After breakfast take  a guided walk with the Roscrea ramblers. They have two walks every Sunday in the Slieve Bloom mountains – a long or a short, whichever you’re up for.

All for just €139 per person

Click here to go to the Damer Court Hotel website for booking

Pesto recipies

These are very adaptable recipies, youcan mix wild and garden leaves such as Nettles,Ramson garlic,Tri cornered Leeks,Ground elder and garden Parsley and Rocket.Also you might like to use one of our own excellent Irish Rapeseed oils rather than olive oil. Nuts can be almonds,cashews,walnuts,  pinenuts or even monkey puzzel seeds which are very tasty. Cheese in pesto introduces a dairy element and if this does not suit you (or if you simply have none to hand) it is not essential. I use Mossfield organic mature cheese when I can but good cheddar or parmesan or percerino work well also. In fact you can adjust to suit your own taste and whats available, recipies are for approximate amounts and to get you started. Nettles are so nutritious at this time of year and the Three cornered leek and Ramsons garlic are a big hit with everyone.

Nettle and parsley pesto.

500mls of young nettle tops (loosely packed into measuring jug.)

500mls fresh parsley.

300mls rapeseed or olive oil.plus extra for topping up.

100grms chopped  nuts. (walnuts, or cashews or pinenuts or a mix.)

100grms grated mature cheese.

3 cloves garlic roughly chopped.

Juice of 3 lemons. (if organic, use zest also)



I find it best to snip nettles with scissors first then blend the leaves and oil together to a paste, add garlic and pulse again till blended.Add nuts and cheese, pulse again. Taste and season with salt (if needed) and lemon juice, zest. Put into jars leaving a little space to top up. Cover pesto with a layer of oil to improve keeping,(if your pesto is completely covered with film of oil it will keep very well). Ideally store in fridge but will also keep in cool dry place. freezes well.


Ramsons Wild Garlic pesto

1litre garlic leaves.

300mls oil, plus extra for topping up.

100grms chopped nuts.

100grms parmesan or mature cheese.

salt to taste.

optional, zest and juice of 2organic lemons.


First snip garlic leaves with scissors, this prevents long strands becoming tangled in blades of your blender.Process leaves and garlic in oil. Add nuts and process to incorporate, then cheese, depending on whether you use cheese and how salty it is you may not need salt. pot into small jars and top up with layer of oil as in Nettle recipe. I sometimes find the pesto rather overpowering especially if made from the earliest leaves so I tend to tone it down a little with a mix of other leaves, perhaps something from the garden like fresh parsley, rocket or even ground-elder or other wild greens.

april pics 152

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