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We had a reasonable, for here, amount of rain before the shortest day of the year, and now we have warm sunny days and cool damp nights, the result of which is that the countryside is blooming with Spring plants and flowers. Many of these are edible and begging to be foraged. There is wild garlic and asparagus on the hillsides, and by the sea, samphire and ice plants.

Part of the mesembryanthemum family, these succulent faintly salty leaves are delicious in salads. It’s easy to see why they have the name iceplant as they seem to be covered in tiny glistening ice droplets.

These plants like the Sandy soil near to the sea and are frequently found next to Samphire. Pick the tender shoots that are sprouting at this time of the year. You may have to part the sturdier tough stems at the top of the plants to find the more tender leaves underneath.

Give them a good wash in two or three changes of water, and then they are ready to use.

This salad has a particularly delicious dressing which perfectly complements the iceplant leaves.

Iceplant Salad & Soy Sesame Dressing

150 grams ice plant leaves

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds to garnish

I had garlic cloves which I had roasted with vegetables the day before, but if you are starting with raw garlic, fry them very slowly in a little oil until they are soft.

Mash the garlics in a small bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the sesame seeds and mix well.

Slice up the iceplant leaves and put into a salad bowl. Add the dressing and mix well.

Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve.