I was over at a friend’s place for dinner last night and I felt a silent revolution happening!
There has been a real move over the past few years to ‘grow your own’, with community gardens and allotments popping up all over the country. There has also been a large increase in the growth in vegetable and plant seeds. Why? I think its mainly due to the fact that people want to start getting reconnected with the food they eat and want to become more involved in the process.
Living in a flat I am fairly limited to what I can grow – but I have pots of garlic, tomato plants and spring onions currently trying to grow with a lack of water and attention! However, yesterday morning I went out with a basket and pair of rubber gloves and went nettle picking! I got out my scissors and topped the first couple of leaves growing on the nettle bunches growing at the side of a very quiet country road. If you are going to go picking – try to avoid busy roads or nettles that look like they could be growing in an area with run off from local farms.
When I arrived at dinner, I realised my friend had been out on Garretstown beach picking periwinkles. We boiled the periwinkles in boiling water for a few minutes, allowed them to cool, and them poured over a sauce of sauted onions, garlic and white wine – sensational.
We also spoke last night about how our mothers and grandmothers had been brought up on food that came straight from the land and were attached closely to the seasons. Having nettle soup in the Spring acts as a tonic for the liver and kidneys, containing a number of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
So here is a ‘home picked’ healthy eating recipe for nettle soup. I used cream yesterday but if you want to reduce your intake of saturated fat for healthy eating, use yogurt instead.
- A bag of nettle tops (about the size of a football)
- 2 big potatoes - chopped into small pieces
- 2 onions - chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons of yogurt (or cream)
- Each nettle top should contain about 4-6 leaves. De stalk and place the leaves only in a bowl - you'll need to wear gloves!!
- Sauté the onions in a little water for 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add the chopped potato, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the nettle tops, the paprika, the salt and pepper and cook for 12-15 minutes.
- Once the potato piece are soft, remove from heat and blitz with a hand blender or in a liquidiser.
- Stir in the yogurt or cream (blitz again if you wish) and season a little more with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Wheat free, gluten free and sugar free