Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Nettle Soup

On Monday morning I arrived at Cook House to open up, I glanced down the side of the containers and went to pick up some rubbish, at the same time noticing glass everywhere and my heart sank. It's really pretty soul destroying when you work hard at something and people decide to just help themselves. I'm pretty resilient most of the time but waiting for the police, surrounded by mess and glass, I felt pretty fed up and disheartened...

But then this morning an old man appeared at the door of Cook House with a bunch of flowers. It was Bill. A few weeks ago I found myself again on the phone to the emergency services as Bill, one of the tour guides from the Victoria Tunnel next door, had tripped in the road outside. He had hit his face on the curb and couldn't move, lying in the road outside Cook House. It was a bit scary as there was so much blood, but luckily a young doctor happened to drive past and put everyone at ease, eventually taking Bill off to hospital himself...

Bill is ok thank goodness, his face is fine but he has broken his shoulder in three places, yet is on the mend. Standing in the door of Cook House with some flowers. So I'll just concentrate on the lovely Bill's of this world and not the toe rags.... and on soup, because that always makes you feel better in times of trouble.

Did you know you can pick young nettles with your bare hands and they don't sting you? Don't blame me if you do get stung, but I've tried it and found it to be true,... most of the time... I picked about a carrier bag full. 

Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and about 25g of butter in a big pan. Add 3 sliced leeks, thoroughly washed, 3 sliced onions, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and a big pinch of salt and sweat gently for about half an hour. Then add two large potatoes, peeled and diced, and leave to sweat for another ten minutes. Cover with a litre or so of either water, ham stock or vegetable stock, whatever your preference. I like to use the stock from simmering ham hocks, diluted down with water a bit so it's not too salty. Simmer everything until the potatoes are soft.

Finally add the nettles, again thoroughly washed, and grass picked out... I sometimes add a bit of spinach too depending how many nettles I've picked. Simmer for a couple more minutes then blend until smooth. Add lots of black pepper and the quantity of salt will depend on which stock you have used, keep adding in small quantities until it tastes delicious. You will probably need to add more stock or water too until it is the desired consistency. And there you have it, nettle soup, delicious, free ingredients and restorative...

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear that you've been the victim of 'toe rags' which is of course a marvellously generous term to use for them. But quite right...focus on positives and enjoy Bill's flowers and the warm feeling that comes with knowing you did the right thing and happened to be there at the right time. And the soup too of course!


Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x