Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Making hay...

Sorry to be so terribly British but the weather really is the topic of the moment. Who can believe this on going heat wave (can you have an Indian Spring?) No central heating needed for several weeks and when I look back at the snow drops gathered just a few short weeks back, these forebearers of warmer weather and a life lived once more out of doors, seem oddly passé.

Today I've returned to my foraging habits (never say no to free food) and, having stumbled across an old recipe from Lady Ridley (not sure where I got this from but, I can assure you, it was not hand delivered) I decided to give it a go.

Lady Ridley's Nettle Soup
1 lb potatoes
½ lb young nettles
2 oz butter
1½ pts chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt & black pepper
4 tablespoons sour cream


Cook the peeled, chopped potatoes for 10 mins in salted water. Drain.
Wash & chop coarsely the nettles (Only pick the new, young tops,using gloves!)
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the nettles and stew gently for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and heated stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.
When all is soft, cool slightly & purée in a blender, adding seasoning and the sour cream.

One tip I will add, when harvesting from lanes and gardens, if the ingredients smell like cat pee - theres a reason for this...

This good weather has also brought the walkers out en mass. Every village has a walk or two that is particular to their commune and Sunday mornings are now happily spent deciding which one to go on. The Marche de perce neige (snow drop walk) is our villages' walk and kicks off the season the first sunday in March. Last year I only managed three walks so I'm aiming to beat that record. So far Mireille (lovely neighbour) and I have walked 10k around Montmelard and Trambly (more like trembly by time se got back) and tomorrow we're heading over to one of the well known wine villages here abouts- Viré. As the walks are usually themed, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a glass or two of their finest will pass my lips at some point. The 'snacks' are always a high point as illustrated. 

OK, soups all finished and I've got a couple of willing friends (guinea pigs) to give it a go. Thumbs up for the soup and the home mage rolls - and another lunch out doors.

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