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Apr 212011
 

I’m developing a bit of a ‘thing’ about using nettles. I love it that I’m not putting money in the supermarket bosses’ pockets. I love it that they effectively cultivate themselves. I love it that they are so nutritious: high in vitamins A & C, contain essential minerals and have one of the highest protein contents of any leafy vegetable.

Above all I love their nutty flavour. So I wondered how I could combine them creatively with some of my favourite nuts, hazlenuts.

Here’s what I developed, a scrummy and attractive nettle & hazlenut tart. It’s in a wonderfully crisp pastry case and uses homemade ricotta in the filling.

Nettle hazelnut tart plated with salad

If you want to know how to make it, read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 18:09
Apr 142011
 

Nettle gnocchi with thyme butterI’ve been looking for more ways to use this freely available and nutritious vegetable.

This recipe makes a vibrant green gnocchi that’s as tasty as it is inexpensive.

If the preparation takes a while, it’s more than paid off with the short cooking time.

One of the keys to success with this recipe is to choose and cook your potatoes correctly so you end up with a dry and fluffy mash.

You’ve got loads of options for sauces to go with the gnocchi. I’ve given you recipes for a thyme & garlic butter and fresh tomato sauces. The ‘classic’ Italian accompaniment is a dolcelatte cheese sauce. While the dolcelatte is yummy, I think pairing a heavy cheese sauce with gnocchi that are themselves surprisingly filling isn’t always a good idea.

Fancy having a go? Read on… Continue reading »

Jun 212011
 

Rotolo on the plateThis pasta is a bit of a show stopper. It looks just great on the plate and there are loads of variations you could make to the filling.

I’d often looked at the recipe in Jamie’s Italy and decided that it was a bit too much of a faff to do.  Then I saw the Rotolo that Maureen at Orgasmic Chef had created. I really liked the result she achieved and so determined to have a go myself. Of course, I wanted to do something a bit different to the recipe in the book with spinach and roasted squash.

I thought hard about colours and took the Italian Flag’s tricolor of green, white and red as my inspiration.

For the green I used our abundant (and free) nettles instead of the pasta.

For the white I used ricotta that I made.

And for the red I used tasty cherry tomatoes.

The nettle filling gives a unique ‘meaty-veggy’ taste with a great slight spicy edge. The tomatoes give a nice squish and flavour with slight acid balanced by the creamy cheese. The lemon-thyme butter was a lovely fresh tasting complement to the pasta.

Want to know how to make this? Read on… Continue reading »

Mar 312011
 

Don’t we all just love things that don’t cost a penny? Foraging for wild food is a way to do this. March is the ideal time to pick nutritious nettles which are jam packed with iron and Vitamin C. You’ve no doubt seen loads of recipes for the ubiquitous ‘Nettle Soup’, which is, of course, lovely. I wanted to cook something a bit different
Risotto on the plateI’ve adapted a simple Georgio Locatelli recipe for nettle risotto to perk up your taste buds. I’ve added the bacon as a seasoning and the dried tomatoes for flavour and visual interest to Georgio’s basic recipe but you can easily make a vegetarian version by leaving out the bacon and substituting for the parmesan.
So how do we cook it…
Continue reading »

Jan 212010
 
I came across the Dark Days Challenge on the ‘Urban Hennery’ blog written by Laura.
Essentially you’re challenged to eat at least one meal a week that is ‘SOLE’:
  • Sustainable
  • Organic
  • Local
  • Ethical
Sounds easy.  That’s what I thought until I went to the shops.  I could get organic but from Egypt or Israel: not exactly local or sustainable in transport terms. And the range of organic stuff in my ‘in the sticks’ shops wasn’t very impressive.
Anyway, I thought some more and found that I had the makings at home already.  It turned out to be a delight and a surprise.  Fish & Chips – well sort of… 

Continue reading »

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