In April's The Simple Things we go foraging in nature's larder. Turn to page 64 for Rachael Oakden's tips for gathering treasures from the hedgerows. And then head home and into the kitchen to make this nettle soda bread.
Nettle Soda Bread
Good handful of young nettle leaves and/or wild garlic
½ pint buttermilk
6oz self raising flour (wholemeal or brown)
3oz plain flour
3oz seed & grain bread flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Gather your nettle tips (with gloves on) before they flower. Strip off the stems until you have enough for one large handful of leaves.
Heat oven to 200C/Fan 180/400F
In a blender or large jug, add leaves and buttermilk. Blend until smooth.
Put flour, salt and soda into a mixing bowl. Form a well in the middle and pour in the nettle buttermilk. Quickly mix together with a fork until a soft dough is formed.
Turn out mixture onto a floured surface, lightly need for 2 minutes then form into a round shape.
Put on a floured baking tray. Flatten the top of the dough and score the top in a cross.
Cook for 30 minutes until the dough sounds hollow. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
N.B. You can substitute nettles for ramsons or crow garlic. For a seed top, before baking rub a little buttermilk over the top and add some sedge seeds (found in autumn) or sunflower seeds also work nicely.