This recipe comes from my brother Rory O'Connell. During the 5-6 weeks when wild garlic is in season, it is woven in and out of the menu at the School every day. There are two types of wild garlic: the wider-leafed Allium ursinum, which grows in shady places along the banks of streams and in undisturbed mossy woodland; and Allium triquetrum, with long thin leaves, which grows alongside roadsides and country lanes. The latter is also known as the three-cornered leek or snowbell because it resembles white bluebells.
Preheat the oven to 300°F and brush the inside of eight deep ovenproof cups or ramekins (approx. 3 oz) -- we use deep shot glasses -- with melted butter.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream and milk with the egg yolks and the finely grated cheese. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Whisk again. Add the wild garlic to the custard at the last minute and immediately pour into the cups or ramekins.
Fill a roasting pan with hot water and put in the cups; the water should come about two-thirds of the way up the sides. Cover the tops with a sheet of parchment paper. Depending on the depth of the cups, bake for 30-45 minutes in the preheated oven or until the mixture has just set. A skewer inserted into the center should come out clean when they are ready.
Serve decorated with some wild garlic flowers, if using, and a few fingers of plain toast or triangles of Melba toast.
From 30 Years at Ballymaloe by Darina Allen © 2014 Kyle Books.
Chef Dan Barber, author of The Third Plate, says we need a food system that is both delicious and sustainable. "It's about the system that supports a whole ecology," he says.