As the days get longer and the skies clearer small flowers begin to rear their heads. On damp riverbanks and across dappled forest floors carpets of elegant green leaves crown themselves with bursts of pure white, star shaped flowers.
These leaves are the first sign of spring in the kitchen. Wild garlic, sometimes called bear's garlic, is a foragers treat but for those of us who don't always fancy donning their wellingtons and traipsing around the woods it's always available in our vegetable fridge for the next couple of months.
As the name suggests it's a close relative of regular garlic but is perhaps more fragrant and, once cooked, becomes quite delicate. The chopped leaves become irresistible scattered over anything pan fried with a squeeze of lemon or can be mixed together with butter to slice thickly and leave melting into a hot steak.
The season is short, only until early June, but can be stretched out by infusing olive oil or mixing up a rustic pesto with garlic leaves, hazelnuts and Parmesan. While they're fresh they're best with lamb or chicken, other seasonal delights like Jersey Royals or early asparagus and wonderful in an omelette or risotto.