Finders keepers


You will need:
4 tbsp of leftover pickles (my favourites are apple cider vinegar and gherkins)
Chicken or vegetable stock – ¼ to ½ pint
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp of cane or brown sugar
10 chopped shallots
Large knob of butter
2 tbsp of good quality olive oil
Handful of freshly chopped parsley
Your favourite pasta

• Fill a pan for the pasta to halfway with freshly boiled water and add salt.
• In a separate heavy-base pan melt the butter slowly on a medium heat.
• Add the olive oil and shallots then gently fry until the shallots have softened.
• Sprinkle on the sugar, add the salt, pepper and leftover pickles stirring continuously.
• Add the stock and leave to gently simmer while you make your pasta.
• Cook your pasta in the other pan according to the required time – usually around 5 min depending on the type of pasta you have chosen.
• Once the pasta is ready, drain it and drizzle over the pickle pot sauce – then finish with the chopped parsley.
This simple dish is so easy to make and deliciously different. You can create a range of different flavours depending on what leftover pickles you use. For chicken marinade, I like to use leftover chutney with a dash of apple cider, sugar and shallots. I bathe the meat in the mixture and leave for at least 4 hours in the fridge. Then cook it in a greased dish in the oven at a medium heat for around 35 min – so good!

Words by:
Nikki Bawn
Featured in:
February 2022

Creating your own‘pick-me-up’ using herbs and other wild plants is easier than you may think, writes Nikki Bawn of Boggle Lane Foods.

Mother Nature and your pantry are likely to have just what you need to boost your body both inside and out. From herbal baths to healing teas, souped-up soups to zingy dinners, there’s no end to what you can do with the last of your winter pickings, pickles and preserves.

Why not turn your bathing habits into a healing spa experience? Just do a quick raid of the kitchen cupboard and find a little bit of muslin cloth to create an amazing bath bomb. Start with some of the most common and beneficial bath herbs including:
• Rosemary – promotes circulation and is even known to help make limp hair more full and glossy.
• Fennel – known for its detoxifying power and helps solve skin problems.
• Bay – has an array of healing qualities including its role in fighting cancer, plus it smells glorious!
• Sage – can be used to cleanse and clear toxins and stress from the body.

To create your herbal bath simply choose your herb, wrap a good handful of it in a clean cloth, tie it up so that the contents can’t escape and add to your hot bath water – then lie back and relax while nature’s magic washes your troubles away.

Appearances can be deceptive when it comes to foraging for fresh finds at this time of the year. Most of the plants and bushes may look bare or even dead, but peer beyond the surface and you’ll find a prelude to spring. Green shoots are beginning to peek through the decay and leaf litter with promise.
Many herbs and wild edibles are great in tea too and there’s so many available for nearly every health benefit you can imagine.

Cleavers (goosegrass) may be starting to appear and it is apparently the perfect choice to tone your lymphatic system and treat a multitude of ailments like psoriasis, acne and cystitis.

Now is also the time to find newly grown dandelion, one of the most nutritious plants in nature. Team it with young nettles in your teapot, add hot water, then let it steep for 10 minutes or so for the ultimate nutritional hit.

If you don’t fancy rummaging in the wild, there’s a bounty of benefit to be found in bottles of pickles. In fact, one of my favourite dinners has leftover pickles as a signature ingredient that delivers levels of flavour hard to find elsewhere. Great for the digestion and supporting the good bacteria in your gut – so lots of positives here.

Pickle pot pasta, pickle pot soup and pickle pot marinated chicken bring tastebud tingles that everyone will love. If you have pickled gherkins, apple cider vinegar, red cabbage or even chutney, you can create your own version of pickle pot dishes. They’re simple to make and deliver top notch results.

So, whether you’re out searching for newly sprouted treasures like sweet violets – one of the first flowers to return – or you just fancy a forage in the not so far-flung kitchen, you’re bound to be rewarded with ‘just the thing’ to make life a little brighter – naturally!

Of course, it goes without saying that you should always do the necessary checks before using even natural ingredients to improve your health, especially if you’re on medication. Every body is different and may react accordingly, so it is always better to do your research before you start.

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