This hardy invasive edible can be foraged throughout the winter and early spring and is used as a wild alternative to garlic, spring onion or chives. Blend it in with some strong cheddar to create a moreish and comforting cold-weather treat
On a cold and lifeless winter day, a comforting cheesy scone with some melting butter slathered on top is never out of place. And, it happens to form a particularly harmonious marriage with the wild allium three-cornered leek (Allium triquetrum).
This is a minimal-effort recipe that takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and needs only 15 minutes in the oven. The leaves of the three-cornered leek are simply finely chopped and blended in with the cheese scone mix. If you are new to foraging, this recipe is a really accessible way to introduce wild foods into your cooking, and is usually a big crowd-pleaser with family and guests.
Three-cornered leek (or 3CL, as it is often abbreviated) is an invasive edible, so it can often be found growing in prolific swathes and picking it is actively encouraged. Do remember, however, to always check the by laws of the land you are collecting it from and also never uproot any plant without the landowner's permission.
Three-cornered leek is best picked in early spring, before flowering, when the leaves are tender and the flavour is strongest. Although it is a relatively easy plant for novice foragers to identify, when picking at this time of year, it is possible to confuse three-cornered leek with other woodland species, such as the poisonous bluebell or snowdrop. Check our foraging guide for some help with ID points.
Ingredients (makes eight to 10 scones):
225g plain flour
50g butter, cut into cubes
1.5 tsp baking powder
100g grated strong cheddar
40g finely chopped three-cornered leeks
1 tsp English mustard powder
Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan and line a baking tray with parchment.
- Sift the flour into the bowl and rub in the cubes of butter to form a crumble-like mixture.
- Stir in the baking powder, mustard powder and salt.
- Break an egg into a measuring jug and pour in the milk to make up to 150ml of liquid. Whisk well to combine.
- Stir into the dry ingredients and combine to form a sticky dough. It's best to reserve some of the liquid and then add as needed to make sure the mixture doesn't come out too wet. If it does, simply add some more flour until the right consistency is achieved.
- Turn the mixture out onto a floured board and use your hands to flatten.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out eight to 10 rounds of approximately 1 inch thick.
- Place on the baking parchment and brush with the left over milk, then sprinkle on a little grated cheese
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Serve with butter
Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!