Never eaten stinging nettles? Bethan from Decorator's Notebook wants to persuade you with this recipe for nettle and wild garlic soup. YOU WILL NEED 2 large handfuls freshly picked nettles 1 small bunch wild garlic (about 12 leaves) 1 tablespoon butter 1 leek, washed and sliced 1 onion, peeled and chopped 3 potatoes, peeled and diced 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg Salt and pepper
INSTRUCTIONS Fill the sink with cold water and add a large tablespoon of salt. Wearing rubber gloves, add the nettles and wash thoroughly. Separately wash and thinly slice the wild garlic leaves. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion and leek. Cook gently until soft then add the potato and nutmeg. Cook for a further 5 minutes then pour in the stock. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Add a splash of water if it needs it. Next prepare the nettles. Put a large saucepan of water on the hob and bring to the boil. Get a bowl of iced water ready. Blanch the nettles for 2 minutes in the boiling water before removing with a slotted spoon and plunging into the iced water. Drain and set aside. When the potato is cooked whizz the soup with a stick blender until smooth. Add all the nettles and most of the wild garlic, reserving a little to garnish. Blend for a couple of minutes more, then season to taste. Serve with crusty bread garnished with a swirl of natural yogurt, a pinch of nutmeg and a few strands of shredded wild garlic leaves.
Photographs and recipe: Bethan John for Decorator's Notebook