Lady’s Smock is a very pretty, delicate meadow flower, also known as the cuckooflower as it blossoms in April and May, at about the same time that cuckoos are heard. It has a special place in my heart as it was the first flower to blossom after we moved into our present house, 10 years ago.
Once known as bittercress, it used to be grown as a salad herb but has gone out of fashion. As the name implies, the leaves of this plant are very spicy and a little goes a long way! Try adding the leaves to salads, soups and even mashed potato.
Rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron and magnesium, Lady’s Smock is a member of the mustard family. Mustard oils stimulate the circulation of the blood to the skin, the liver and the kidneys and also relieve rheumatism.
Lady’s Smock Welsh Rarebit
Olive oil for frying
30g fresh young nettle tops
30g Lady’s Smock leaves, plus a few flowers for decoration
100g crème fraiche
120g strong Welsh goat’s cheese, chopped
120g Caerphilly cheese, grated
Black pepper, to taste
2 large slices of crusty bread
Heat the oil in a pan and add the nettles and Lady’s Smock leaves. Cook for a few minutes until wilted. Cool, then chop and mix with all of the crème fraiche and half of each of the cheeses and some black pepper.
Toast the bread lightly, then spread each slice with the mixture, top with the rest of the cheese and grill until bubbling. Serve with more black pepper and a small sprinkling of the flowers.