Monday, 30 March 2009

food for free

I've been out and about foraging these last few weeks - although we're only just coming into spring, our hedgerows are abundant with fresh foliage. Salads of sorrel, pennywort and the garlicky tips of three-cornered leeks are regularly on the menu, along with alexanders risotto, (first sampled on the Fat Hen foraging weekend) which is fast becoming a staple around here.

There are also new nettle shoots everywhere - the fresh growth makes a wonderful vibrant and earthy soup.


I use the bulbs of three-cornered leek (chopped) as a base, instead of onions, sauteeing them gently in olive oil with a knob of butter. Add diced potato and light stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about fifteen minutes, until the potato is soft. Take off the heat, leave for a couple of minutes, then add the roughly-chopped nettles. Leave to wilt for five minutes, then blend. Season to taste, finishing with some fresh grated nutmeg.


I like mine served with a drizzle of oil. You could add cream instead to make it a bit richer.

I love it - it feels quite virtuous, is velvety smooth and quite delicious!

If you're interested in foraging, check out Fat Hen for foraging and feasting weekends. There's a great newsletter you can sign up for too.

18 comments:

Cottage Smallholder said...

This sounds delicious. I can't wait to try the nettle soup. Thank you.

Pipany said...

Yes Diana, but I was thinking we'll have to go for a walk with Walter and you could show me instead! I know some of the plants - sorrel is a huge favourite of our and nettles are yum too - but don't know three-cornered leek for example. Hmm, then there is Mylor Woods for a woodland forage in the autumn... Have a lovely day very lovely lady xx

sweetmyrtle said...

scrumptious!
x

Ali said...

Aren't they meant to be packed full of iron? Perhaps I need nettle soup as a chocolate substitute...

Gina said...

I have lots of nettle in my garden - I think I'll have to give this a try. It sounds delicious.

Simone said...

The soup looks delicious. I have never heard of three cornered leek!!!

willow said...

This soup sounds lovely. I tried steaming nettles as an alternative to spinach but didn't really like the texture, soup sounds a much better idea.

kristina said...

Oh Diana, I'm so envious just thinking about the sorrel and the alexanders risotto! But we do have a few nettles round the allotments... K x

The Gossamer Woman said...

It sounds delicious, but I would worry about picking plants out of the wild. For one thing, I don't know if a dog weed on one and for another, I can't tell one plant from another here in the Netherlands and would probably end up poisoning myself. I think it is also disallowed here to pick any plants in the wild.

Julia said...

I love the sound of all your foraged-for ingredients! How wonderful, and your soup looks sublime! :)

Enjoy your week
Love Julia xxx

Diane said...

I love foraging - I'm on the look out arounf here for a "guided" Foraging walk. I can identify many things because I used to spend lots of time with my grandparents who always used foodstuff from the hedgerows and fields, but I still have lots more to learn. Ive never eaten nettles though, so I'm going to try your soup, and also the nettle beer that HFW did on his program recently. I'll let you know how it turns out. xxx

JuliaB said...

oooh! I like nettle tea, so I guess the soup is similar? xx

lou said...

What an interesting post, the soup looks so delicious!

The hug was gratefully received…love Lou xxx

P.S I can’t wait to find out more about foraging!

Jacoline (Lien) said...

DELICIOUS !!! And also without meat Great!

silverpebble said...

Wow, many thanks for the links for identification - I don't think I'm too bad at spotting alexanders now. We also have garlic mustard or 'jack by the hedge' around here. It's a brassica I think, but has that lovely subtle garlicky flavour. Have you used it? I also have hairy bittercress growing round the garden. I get really a bit overexcited about food for free!

silverpebble said...

Oh, by the way MANY thanks for the recipe - I'll be trying it this week. Emma x

Stitching At Stone Cottage said...

please could you describe to me what a 3 cornered leek looks like..i have not heard of them, but would love to try the nettle soup receipe. i wonder if we call them something different..

Rebecca said...

Wow! That sounds wonderful!! We've got lots of nettles starting to emerge amongst the hedges on the farm, so I will try out your recipe next weekend!!