Monday, 5 May 2014

WILD FOOD WEEKENDS: JACK-IN-THE-HEDGE SAUCE

garlic mustard on the left, borage on the right

One of my earliest memories of helping my mother in the kitchen was preparing the Sunday roast that we'd have religiously every week, to "set us up for the week ahead" as she said. On the weeks when lamb was the Sunday roast one of my jobs was to make the mint sauce. First I'd pick the mint leaves from the abundant clump in the garden, then wash it and chop it with the kitchen scissors, then I'd dissolve a little sugar in hot water in the cut glass jug (that was used almost exclusively for mint sauce) and add some vinegar before stirring in the chopped mint leaves.


This time of year garlic mustard is abundant in gardens and hedgerows, a tall plant with pretty white flower and jagged leaves that when crushed smell a little of garlic and taste a little mustardy. It is also known as Jack-in-the-hedge. You can chop the leaves and add them to a mixed leaf salad after washing, with calendula and borage petals for colour.


In Richard Mabey's book Food for Free, he suggests making a mint sauce as I did as a child with the young leaves of garlic mustard, mint and some hawthorn buds. He also suggests eating it, as the Welsh traditionally did to salt herrings, although we much prefer it with Welsh lamb!


We made our Jack-in-the-hedge sauce the same way as my mother taught me adding a few crushed hawthorn buds and garlic mustard leaves to the mint, washing them first, I used white wine vinegar instead of malt and we serve it in a cut glass jug too!

3 comments:

  1. Delicious. Reminds me so much of helping my mum too. Elinor x

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  2. Thank you! You've solved a mystery. I've been trying to work out what garlic mustard was, using my wild flower book. Just picked a bunch to make some sauce for tonight. It used to be my job to make the min sauce too. We always had it in a cut glass jug, too.

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  3. One day I'm going to come across somebody with the same talent for photography as me - one day -- until then I'm going to have to put up with people who get things in focus, have great light, don't cut off bits such as heads or hands and continually make the pictures look interesting.

    I miss putting sugar in mint sauce - that's how I was taught to make it too - however my wife stamped it out years ago...

    not convinced about putting half a hedge on my roast though...

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