Anna Lamotte and her sister Kirstin run Guardswell Farm and Guardswell Grows, as well as regularly contributing to The Courier’s food and drink magazine, The Menu.
Whether it’s strictly reserved as a vampire deterrent, crushed and chopped and sliced into everything you cook, or chewed as a whole clove to keep those winter colds at bay, it would be hard to imagine a world, or its food at least, without garlic.
Often bought as a flaky, dried bulb – we generally don’t think about where our garlic was grown, or the manner in which it reached our shelves – which can be said for a lot of what we eat. If you want a good New Year’s resolution, start interrogating your food, and its supply chain…
On the farm this week, Kirstin and Rachel – who run Guardswell Grows – were planting 500 cloves of garlic. It’s hard to even comprehend how, but that little clove is actually a whole bulb “in waiting”.
Once planted in early winter, and left cosy underground, mulched under some leaves, it starts to transform into a grown-up bulb, throwing green shoots up above ground, and sought after “garlic scapes” (which can be stir fried or grilled like an extra tangy spring onion). They are carefully lifted in summer, then strung up to dry out and “set”.
Now that you have a precious, but oft complacently accepted as something every day, bulb of garlic in your hands – how are you going to take full advantage of – not only its brilliant flavour – but wonderful nutritious value.
Slice off the top stem of the garlic bulb – then take some tin foil, and place the bulb atop – drizzle lightly with olive oil then wrap tightly. Place in an oven at 170C/Fan 150C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for between 40-60 minutes – you’ll know it’s done when the parcel feels squishy.
Remove from the oven and squeeze the unctuous roast paste from each clove, and spread it all over crispy sourdough. You can also add it to butter, to make a mellow roast garlic butter, or even fold it into a decadent macaroni cheese.