Lilly Higgins’s soda bread toasts with Macroom burrata, smoked salmon and wild-garlic pesto

This pesto is also delicious stirred through pasta, drizzled over pizza or mixed with mayo in a roast chicken sandwich

For the past few weeks I’ve been on the lookout for wild garlic. Waiting for the leaves to unfurl and the promising scent to permeate the woodlands. On my last visit the leaves were too small, sparse along the banks of the stream. Best left to grow a little more until they blanketed the area in the dappled shade, fighting for space alongside dock leaves and clumps of three-cornered leek. It’s now coming into season and in full force, so keep an eye out for its wide waxy leaves, white flowers and distinctive garlic aroma. Always be sure what you are picking: rub the leaves together and smell them.

There’s something special about foraging, picking wild food and making something delicious from it. I always feel more connected to the seasons, at one with nature, all thanks to some green leaves.

Burrata is another seasonal speciality. When you see it, snap it up. I bought Macroom buffalo burrata from Olives West Cork via Neighbourfood Food here in Cobh. Seek out Irish-made burrata, if possible, for guaranteed freshness. You’ll find it in some larger supermarkets at the cheese counter or in speciality delis and Italian shops. Essentially it’s made from mozzarella and cream. The scraps of cheese curds and fresh cream are all gathered together and used to fill a pouch of stretched curd. It’s then gathered at the top and twisted to seal. It’s rich and luxurious, best eaten fresh and simply, with a drizzle of good oil and crusty bread.

The next best thing to burrata here would be a really good-quality, fresh mozzarella or labneh cheese to dollop on top. I’ve used toasted soda bread here for an Irish twist. Make your own or buy a good-quality soda bread. The texture is fantastic with the creamy cheese. Wild garlic pesto brings a bright flavour. (Of course, you can use a regular basil pesto instead.)


This wild-garlic pesto is delicious stirred through pasta, drizzled over freshly baked pizzas or mixed with mayonnaise and slathered over roast chicken for the most perfect sandwich. Pour a thick layer of oil over the top of the pesto to seal it from air if you’re not planning on using it right away.

Recipe: Soda bread toasts with wild garlic pesto, burrata and smoked salmon

Lilly’s Kitchen Tips

1. Smoked trout is a really sustainable fish option and so delicious. I love smoked rainbow trout from Goastbridge, Kilkenny.

2. Use a salad spinner to wash and dry foraged greens. Treat as you would salad leaves.

3. When making pesto, use toasted seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin in place of more expensive pine nuts.