Guest post for The Ring of Kerry by Kenmare Foodies, Karen Coakley and Derick McMahon.
I am writing this blog post on my deck as it is bathed in golden sunshine, it is reminding me of happy times that have passed, the welcome warm rays are what we all need after a winter that has brought us so much misery and hardship and wrecked and ruined our beautiful countryside with wave after wave of storms.
With this dawn of late Spring comes new life and new hope. It awakens a new hunger for foraging in me that has been dampened down all through winter.
This is the season of new life, where tiny shoots peep from the sleepy earth. There is an abundance of food growing all around us, most of it we don’t know or we don’t see. One of our favourite hobbies as a family is to head out and gather wild food. We have the added advantage of living in such an area as The Ring of Kerry, it is unspoilt, the air is clean and we can choose our outdoor shopping from mountainside, meadow, forest or shore.
Last Sunday my husband and I tried to shake of the sleepy winter cobwebs and headed out with our two boys on a hunt for Wild Garlic. This is one of my favourite things to pick. It is so versatile and grows in abundance on the woodland floor. You can usually get it’s distinctive garlic smell from quiet a distance away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_ursinum.
My twin boys are 6 and are hardened foragers already. I can’t describe the feeling of happiness and contentment that I get when I watch them pick this tender green leaf from the spot where it grows and pop it in their mouths and then watch them chew with satisfied grins on their little faces. This is how I teach my children about food.
Our trek last Sunday brought us along the windy road from Kenmare to Killarney, through Molls Gap, past Ladies View with The McGillicuddy Reeks looming over us and The Lakes of Killarney beneath us. This road never ceases to amaze me. It changes with the seasons, the trees change their looks on what seems like a whim and the mountains and lakes are always chasing shadows. This time of year the peaks will be snow capped and the buds will be coming into bloom. The deer are down from the higher spots on the mountain and laze on the verge and the wild mountain goats catch me by surprise each time I glimpse them through the trees. Some of our favourite haunts around Killarney are Muckross House, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall. We spend hours wandering here through the lush woodland gathering with the different seasons, wild garlic, wild mushrooms or berries.
Muckross Abbey, I had never been and wanted to explore it. We parked our car and walked for quiet a bit to get to Muckross Abbey. Walking along the lake through open meadow feeling invigorated with every step and working up an appetite all the way.Derick had told me recently about
What I stumbled upon last Sunday was Three-Cornered Leek, it is very similar to Wild Garlic but it’s flavour is slightly different. You will see that the flowers are different, the leaf is thinner, it doesn’t have a strong garlic smell and has a gorgeous onion flavour. I soothed my soul and fed my family very well that week with a delicious soup made of Potato and Wild Leek. What better way to feed you family and evoke happy memories in your children than to spend a Sunday afternoon exploring a beautiful old Abbey and gathering food on a woodland walk.
Recipe for Potato and Wild Leek Soup Recipe
- 500g potatoes chopped,
- 3 big handfuls of wild leeks chopped,
- 1 onion
- 1 litre chicken stock.
Sweat the potatoes and onion for 5 mins.
Pour over the hot stock and add the leeks.
Summer uncovered until potatoes are soft ( this keeps the green colour )
Season with salt and pepper and blitz.
You might need to add more stock as potatoes thicken.
You can really use as much or as little leeks as you please.
Guest post by for The Ring of Kerry by Karen Coakley of Kenmare Foodies.
Kenmare Foodies are Karen Coakley and Derick McMahon. They are the founding members and organisers of the 2012 and 2013 Kenmare Food Carnivals. They are available for food demonstrations, cook offs and event management consultation.