Tag: alexanders

Hogweed Pakora

Hogweed shoots are my favourite vegetable in the Spring. They can be steamed but they truly come into their own when fried. I often just fry them in butter until they start to crisp and brown. They’re big butter hogs though and can sometimes be slightly greasy. This is where deep frying them quickly in a light batter comes into its own. I often make delicious hogweed tempura but this year I’ve done a twist on them to make some wild curried hogweed pakora. 

Many people don’t realise that many of our native wildflowers produce spicy seeds. A full list can be found here in my Edible Seeds and Wild Spice Conversion Chart

Hogweed pakora with wild garlic raitaHogweed pakora

Traditionally gram flour (from chick peas) and semi skimmed milk would have been used to make pakora and you can use these to replace the ingredients below if you don’t have foraged supplies from last year. You can also use coriander instead of hogweed, cumin instead of Alexanders, curry powder instead of the milk caps and just plain salt. However, the version I made uses ingredients that could all be foraged – except for the sunflower oil to cook them in!


  • 225 grams of chestnut or acorn flour
  • 300 grams of hazelnut milk
  • 10 ml sea buckthorn juice (lime substitute)
  • 10 ml magnolia syrup (ginger substitute)
  • 1 tsp ground hogweed seed
  • 1 tsp ground alexanders seed
  • 1/2 tsp powdered curry milk cap mushrooms
  • 1 tsp Apiaceae salt (salt ground with mixed Umbillifer seeds)
  • 3 handfuls of hogweed shoots
  • 1 handful alexanders leaf (parsley substitute)
  • Sunflower oil for frying


Trim your hogweed shoots and remove any soil. Push them together on a chopping board and chop them roughly. Remove the stalks and finely chop the alexanders leaves.

In a mixing bowl, put the flour, spices and salt and mix together. Add the juice and syrup. Then slow add the milk, stirring to avoid lumps, until you have a batter the consistency of thick cream. Then add your chopped hogweed shoots and finely chopped alexanders, and mix them in, until the batter is evenly distributed. 

Fill your chip fryer with sunflower oil, insert the wire basket and set the temperature to 180C. The oil must reach the right temperature before you start. Alternatively, if using a stovetop pan, heat the oil until a small drop of the batter sizzles immediately as you drop it in.

Using a dessert spoon, scoop up a flat spoonful of the mixed batter and using a second spoon to release it, roll a dollop off the spoon into the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Then lift the wire basket and allow to drain before lifting them out into a serving dish.

Serve while still warm with a wild garlic raita. 

Alexanders Soup

Alexanders 'Smyrnium' Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


Serving Size: 320 ml

Alexanders 'Smyrnium' Soup

A really delicious fragrant soup that makes the most of the few greens available in January and February. Exceptionally tasty!


  • 4 large heads of alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum (stems peeled)
  • ?1 large parsnip?)?
  • 1 bunch of wild garlic Allium ursinum or wild leeks A. paradoxum or A. triquetum
  • ?6 strands of dulse? Palmaria palmata
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil?
  • 2 litre of good stock?
  • 1 tablespoon of birch bolete or porcini powder
  • Salt and pepper.


  1. Use a potato peeler to lightly scrape your alexanders stems and wild parsnip root to remove the outer fibres. Trim any roots off the wild garlic.
  2. Chop the onion and gently fry until translucent in coconut oil.
  3. Then add the chopped parsnip. Fry for 3 minutes then add the stock and the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Take off the heat and cool.
  6. Once a little cooler, use a stock blender to blend the ingredients or, if very cool, transfer to a blender or food processor.  
  7. Season with salt, pepper and a spoon of bolete powder.
  8. Reheat before serving.
  9. Garnish with a leaf spring of alexanders and some tiny wild leeks.


You can also make this using wild angelica or wild lovage later in the year.

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Unlike many of the other Umbillifers in the family, alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum prefers the cooler months and will quite happily keep producing bright green leaf over winter from November on. After Spring, these become too woody to eat which makes it the perfect choice of foraged vegetable for early February. That is, if you can find it! While common down south it is not widespread in Scotland but can be found in Edinburgh, Fife and East Lothian.

For eating straight as a vegetable, peel the side stalks and cut off the smaller branching stalks, and together with the leaves, steam for 7 minutes. Then add butter, salt and pepper! Or try this lovely soup above.

Alexanders soup