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Spring Recipes

by Daphne Lambert

In spring, after winters rest there are so many new flavours and colours to add to your dishes, gather some before spring turns into summer!

Chives add a soft onion flavour, chervil adds a sweet aniseedy touch, and young dandelion leaves add a bitter undertone. Sorrel is a sharp tasting cleansing herb, lovage is warming and soothing and shiny green ransom leaves are packed full of medicinal properties as are nettle tops.

The pale yellow flowers of primrose and small violet flowers add a burst of spring colour.


Shiitake mushrooms with wilted greens

Dandelion salad with miso-ginger dressing

Salad leaves with pickled radishes & shallots

Leek & asparagus salad with wisteria blossoms

Hop shoot risotto

Nettle pesto
Sorrel frittata

Vanilla panna cotta with sweet violets

Rhubarb & hemp smoothie


Shitake mushrooms with wilted greens

serves 1

125g fresh shitake mushrooms

olive oil

handful of spring greens - dandelion, watercress, chard, wild garlic, sorrel.

splash of tamari

salt and pepper

Cut the mushrooms into thick slices. Cook the mushrooms in a little olive oil over a medium heat for 4 minutes add the greens and allow them to wilt, add the tamari, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a bowl or on a piece of toasted rye bread.


Dandelion salad with miso-ginger dressing

serves 4

1 large handful dandelion leaves torn into small pieces

1 lettuce torn into small pieces

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped chervil

1 tablespoon toasted pine kernels


juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon sweet white miso

1 dessertspoon grated ginger

120ml olive oil

dandelion flowers

Mix the leaves, herbs and pine kernels together in a bowl, blend the dressing ingredients together. Toss the leaves and dressing together, divide between 4 plates and top each salad with dandelion flowers.


Salad leaves with pickled radishes & shallots

serves 1

handful of salad leaves

6 radishes

1 shallot

1 dessert spoon ume plum seasoning

black pepper

1 dessert spoon olive oil

Finely slice the radishes and shallots, toss with ume plum seasoning.

Pick over salad leaves and pile into a bowl.

Season the radishes well with pepper, mix in olive oil and pour over the leaves.

Leek & asparagus salad with wisteria blossom

serves 4

6 leeks

8 asparagus spears

olive oil

100ml veg stock

juice & zest of 1/2 lemon

salt and black pepper

wisteria blossoms (wisteria blossoms are the only part of the wisteria plant that's edible)


Prepare the leeks, cut off the green tops and reserve for soup. Small leeks -leave as they are; medium leeks split in half lengthways and larger leeks split in half then cut into 3cm chunks.

Oil an oven proof dish, tightly pack in the leeks, pour over the stock, splash a little extra oil on top, cover with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 20 -25mins or until tender. Lightly steam the asparagus.

Divide the leeks and asparagus between 4 plates. Add the lemon juice to the juices left in the leek dish, along with a splash of olive oil and salt and black pepper to taste. Spoon over the leeks and asparagus and top with the wisteria blossoms


Hop shoot risotto

serves 4

A big handful of tender young hop shoots (picked when about 8cm long)

300gr wholegrain arborio

1 leek cut into rings

2 medium shallots chopped
1 litre well flavoured vegetable stock
olive oil
salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons grated hard cheese like Parmesan - optional


Gently cook the leek and shallots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft.

Add the rice and cook for a few minutes.

Add 1/2 the stock and cook adding more stock as necessary for about 30 minutes.

Whilst the rice is cooking quickly blanch the hop shoots by plunging into boiling water for 30 seconds and then into cold water. Drain and set aside.

Once the rice is cooked turn off the heat cover with a damp cloth and leave to sit for 5 minutes.

Season  as necessary. Add the hop shoots  a splash of olive oil and the optional cheese.


Nettle pesto

150g nettle tops (top5/7 leaves)

25g roughly chopped walnuts

1 clove garlic finely chopped

200ml olive oil

salt & black pepper


Bring a pan, large enough to take the nettles ½ filled with water to the boil. Add the nettles and cook for 1 minute. Drain through a sieve over a bowl to save the cooking water. Immediately plunge the nettles into very cold water. As soon as they are cold, remove and squeeze them dry

Put the nettles into a food processor along with the walnuts & garlic. Process together for 30 seconds then slowly trickle in enough oil to make a loose paste.

Season your pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Dollop on any savoury dish. Will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

The reserved nettle water is a nourishing drink.


Sorrel frittata

serves 4

125g sorrel, stalks removed and shredded

25g butter

50g strong hard cheese, grated

8 eggs

salt & pepper

1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 5.

Melt 25g butter in a pan and wilt the sorrel for 1 minute. Beat the eggs and stir in the sorrel and grated cheese. Melt the tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan and, when foaming, pour in the egg mixture.

Cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, or until the sides begin to set. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 – 12 minutes or until set and golden.


Vanilla panna cotta with sweet violets

serves 4

500 ml organic barista oat milk or alternative plant-based milk
4g agar agar powder soaked in 2 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 vanilla pod

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
pinch of salt


Place everything into a pan and slowly bring to the boil.

Simmer gently stirring for 5 minutes, whisking most of the time - this is important to ensure the agar agar sets.

Strain into a jug and pour into individual dishes (or moulds if you want to turn out)

Leave to set for at least two hours or overnight.

Serve with sweet violets scattered over the top


Rhubarb & hemp smoothie
Serves 1 generously or 2

150ml  kefir

2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds

110g poached rhubarb

1” piece of ginger grated

1 or 2 young lovage leaves


Combine the kefir, hemp, rhubarb and ginger in a blender, blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass, top with lovage leaves & serve.


Charity no 1141277

Founding member : Daphne Lambert

Patron: Romy Fraser

Trustees : Bill van Marle, Laura Ellison, Sue Fleming, Candida Dunford Wood

1 The Byres

Wellingham Lane



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