Saturday, September 24, 2005

Nettle soup

At the weekends, when we aren't doing anything terribly social, we like to make a pot of soup. This normally involves some of our cheaper vegetables, like carrots and leeks, simmered with a tin of tomatoes, various spices, and some broken spaghetti. Today, however, I decided to be a bit more adventurous; since we came back from holiday, a lot of young nettles have grown in in the garden. Armed with rubber gloves, I harvested the tender nettle tops, and added them to the soup. Apparently, they are very rich in iron. They taste a little like spinach.

I was inspired to do this by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, a wonderful English character who writes on harvesting food from the wild. I was given his book as a Christmas present. It's the sort of book from which you take whatever is relevant; I found the section on using plants as vegetables invaluable. The section on gathering fungi is good too. I can already identify a few fungi, like parasol mushrooms; shaggy ink caps; wood blewitts; puffballs (never seen one); and ceps (always maggoty) but only those which are very easily spotted; there are probably loads of edible fungi that are brown or white, without any obvious distinguishing features, which I won't harvest because I'm scared I'll get it wrong and die a horrible death.

The sections on eating squirrels, rooks, and various types of road kill, I think I'll ignore. I appreciate that killing a squirrel is probably more humane than buying factory farmed chicken in a supermarket, but sorry, Hugh, it's just not me. I prefer my meat in packets.

I also appreciate that some of our freshwater fish deserve more attention than they attract, but I am not going to spend any precious hours of my life sitting by a riverbank, drowning a maggot, and looking like an extra from Last Of The Summer Wine.

Well, I'm proud of my nettle soup. At least I don't have to lower myself to this! Can you really not get a Breville Pie Magic any longer? Not that I'd really want one, oh no...


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha.
Easily spotted toadstools!
Love it.
We had leek and potato soup from the garden last week. That's about all we got from the garden. That and about 57lbs of slugs. Why don't slugs eat nettles?

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