Thrifty tip

IN these challenging times, why not enjoy a spot of foraging?

It’s great fun and supplements out your diet with free food.

Buy a good book to guide you — for example Wild Food by Roger Philips (Pan Books, ISBN 0330280693). The Alexanders Smyrnium Olusatrum plant is in season, the stalks delicious simply boiled and tossed in butter (see Food from the Wild, below).

Cooked Alexanders

Serves 4-6

700g (1½) Alexander stalks (cut close to the ground for maximum length)

1.2 litres (2pt) water

3 tsp salt

Butter or extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

Cut the stems into 4-5cm (1½in–2in) lengths and peel off the thin outer skin as you would rhubarb. Cook in boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes or until a knife will pierce a stem easily. Drain well, then toss in a little melted butter or extra virgin olive oil and lots of freshly ground pepper.

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