The calender says January 22nd, usually that means deep winter with most vegetation resting but our continuing mild weather means that many spring plants are already up and growing. I found this lot in a lovely slightly overgrown suburban Galway garden. starting in top right hand corner they are; Navelworth (Umbilicus rupestris )  Dandelion(Taraxacum offcinalis) Hairy bitter cress (Cardamine hirsuta ) Broad leaved willow herb(Epilobium montanum ) Gorse flowers (Ulex europaes) Three cornered leek (Allium triquetrum) and last Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria).

A nice range for this time of year, all were used as garnish or in salad,the Leeks make a lovely Pesto alone or teamed with young nettle tops or parsley. If you want to try Dandelion coffee dig up your roots now before the plant energy goes to leaf and flower,give them a really good scrub, chop and dry. Why not try making a Gorse blossom wine too.

I finally got my own copy of Prannie Rathigan`s wonderfull book Irish Seaweed Kitchen so a trip to the shore is due. Gotta get some kind of camera too, I need something small and fairly foolproof and inexpensive….is that asking a bit much?  Meantime thanks Jess for the photo taken at Bar 8 Restaurant with  her phone.

Meanwhile back in Offaly in my own bit of wilderness the Nettle tops are good enough to pick and the Ground elder is good enough to use, will mix them in feta omlette tomorrow and also bottle my Raspberry wine and leave to mellow,  hope it is as good as 2009 and 2010.

I want to try transplant some young Elderberry plants that grow nearby, they bear particularly large flowerheads and give big juicy berries, but suffer from being hedgetrimmed every year. It would be lovely to have some growing unchecked and giving fabulous scent, flowers and berries.

Check out recipes for Tri corner leek pesto and Gorse blossom Wine, happy foraging.

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