Last night's Supper Club was a joy, we had a full house of lovely people, good food, merriment and conversation flowing between everyone. After nearly a year of doing secret suppers, I still find it funny how a room full of strangers soon become friends with the aid of food and wine. The evenings merriment was aided somewhat by a small wine tasting for those attending, given by the lovely Guerilla Wine Tasting Team.
Needless to say I was feeling slightly fuzzy headed this morning. After a few cups of the Yorkshire Amber Nectar, I had what some people call 'a moment of clarity'.I quickly got my act together and headed out on to Hackney Marshes in search of some nettles.
I've waited curiously for a whole year, wondering what nettle soup tasted like and the best way to cook them. After going Elderflower picking last year with a Swedish work colleague, they were delighted to find masses of unpolluted young nettles in the middle of the Marshes. They quickly picked a few bags full and more or less ran off home straight away to make some soup. Apparently their Grandma use to make it for them when they were children holidaying in Northern Sweden, and always use to top the soup with grated hard boiled egg.
With the sun shining and an amble through Springfield Park,I managed to find a huge patch of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)pretty close to the canal. With a sharp intake of breath, a pair of washing up gloves and some strange looks off a few people. I quickly filled up two carrier bags with minor stinging damage, thankfully.
Once home I filled the sink up with cold water and donned the rubber gloves once again to give them a rinse. Turned the radio on and started cooking to the dulcet tones of Jarvis Cocker, with the sun beaming in through the kitchen window.
Nettle and Wild Garlic Soup
One large stock pot - this makes about 5 liters (I got carried away picking nettles)
2 x white onion
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
3 medium floury potato's King Edward or Maris Piper is fine
2 carrier bags of stinging nettles
Medium bag of Wild Garlic - another spring delight
1. Finely chop the onion and garlic and sweat in a pan with a knob of butter.
2. Peel and chop the potatoes into small pieces and add to the onions and garlic, and cook for a further 15/20 minutes.
3.Pour some veg stock into the pan and add the nettles to the pan.If needed add more stock, making sure that the stock covers the nettles (Covering the nettles and then cooking them takes away the sting).
4. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for a few moments until the nettles are wilted down, at the last moment I also added a bag of wild garlic that I had bought at the local Farmers Market the day before.
5. Turn the heat off and add Maldon,Black pepper,nutmeg and a dollop of Creme Fraiche.
6. Blitz in a blender or with a hand held.
7.Once blitzed, season to taste and heat through gently.
Then serve with a small amount of Creme Fraiche and Freshly ground pepper or grated hard boiled egg.