120g (4oz) nettles (top 4 leaves only and wear rubber gloves while picking)
60g (2 oz) mixture of whatever you find amongst:
spinach, chard, dandelion leaves, sorrel, land cress, chick weed and soft-leaved herbs such as fennel and sweet cicely. This soup can taste a little different each time you make it.
1 or 2 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
1 leek or medium onion or both, finely sliced and chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 rounded Tbsp mashed potato (or one medium potato cooked from scratch)
1.8 L (3pt) stock (or water with 2 stock cubes)
1 Tbsp veg oil
1-3 tsp sugar or honey (honey is sweeter so you need less)
1 tsp cider vinegar
150 ml (4oz) crème fraiche or yoghurt or soured cream.
1) Wash the green stuff (still wearing rubber gloves) drain and chop it up finely. Nettles lose their power to sting once wilted.
2) In a large pan heat the oil and add the garlic, onion and celery. Cook over moderate heat until all is softened and slightly coloured.
4) Add the green stuff, stir, add stock/water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
5) Add the mashed potato and sugar/honey and stir well until well mixed.
6) Adjust seasoning getting a balance of sweet, sour and savoury. If it seems bland try adding more herbs, vinegar or lemon juice, if too strong add more mash or some milk or crème fraiche. If you like a smooth soup, blend it.
7) Serve with a swirl of crème fraiche in each bowl.
Energy-saving tip: Keep lids on pans between stirs while simmering or wilting
Mary Venning March 2013