Friday, 18 April 2008

Go Wild in the Suburbs!

So there I was trying to sort out the veg patch so I could get my onion sets in and I had an epiphany! An epiphany about nettles (I am nothing if not prosaic). Why should I dig those pesky nettles up when I could eat them? I am not the kind of girl to turn down free food, ever, and I knew that during the war nettles were seen as a valuable source of iron and vitamin c. I also knew that country people would feed nettle soup to their children every spring as a sort of tonic and to be honest with you we could all do with a tonic in our household at the moment...blimey have we had more than our fair share of lurgy this year!

Anyway, I gently fried a couple of onions in butter, added a stalk or two of chopped celery, three potatoes and some chicken stock and simmered the soup until the spuds were soft. I then added three (well-gloved) good handfuls of nettle tops, simmered for another three or four minutes, blended it and added cream. A very nice soup it was too! My sister, a sophisticated individual (she has a cashmere poncho) , said it was delicious, and who am I to argue! Oh, need I say, if you decide to go nettle hunting avoid places popular with dog walkers! YUCK!Today was the day I decanted my sloe gin. I've been giving home-made presents to my friends and family for a few years now, and God bless 'em they've looked upon the gifts with a quiet indulgence. However, when I was picking the sloes last October they were terribly excited at the prospect of sloe gin as a Christmas present and a little disappointed a the fact that it would be Christmas, 2008 before the gin would be at its best. I should have known that the way to their hearts and minds was through the liberal application of booze. Therefore, I MUST MAKE MORE BOOZE! I am going to venture into making elderflower wine, rather than cordial, this year. I think a well stocked cupboard full of hedgerow wine would help any family occasion go off swingingly. With this in mind, has anyone out in blog land actually made hedgerow wine before? All tips will be gratefully accepted!!!

Here's picture of my gin. The jar at the front is my own personal supply of the "mother's ruin" and was made with damsons, mmm, jolly nice!


Anonymous said...

My granddad used to make nettle wine and dandelion wine, I will ask him for his wisdom, they were pretty strong tasting but lovely too.

I remember really liking sloe gin, but haven't bought it for years.

'Mother's ruin' lol, did that refer to 'London' gin or was it sloe gin?


Dulce Domum said...

I think "Mother's Ruin" refers to London gin rather than the more dignified sloe variety.

BTW. The brand of gin I used was from Aldi and called (get this) "Oliver Cromwell". Now what would the Lord Protector have thought about that? lol! Although, he may have been a secret gin drinker...

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

Mmmm..your soup looks yummy! I would love to try fresh nettles sometime, but for now must settle for nettle tea *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Lol, well considering his puritan sensiblities I'm not sure he'd be well pleased :)

I was going to quote Edmund Blackadder's puritan auntie from the episode 'Beer'...but maybe not ;)

Have a great weekend.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Amy
If on your travels you find fresh nettles, I'd definitely give the recipe a try!

Hi Linnet
LOL! Oh, yes, don't repeat that on me blog! However, I just want you to know that I always eat my turnips the way God intended...

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha I'd forgotten about Baldrick's turnip...oh lol yes that's made me laugh now.

Zillah said...

Another great variation along the sloe gin lines (she said, modestly, as she created the idea herself) is bramble vodka. Pick blackberries, purchase vodka and use in the same way as sloes and gin. It has the great advantage that you can use the blackberries to make extremely yummy chocolates when you decant by combining with dark chocolate.


Dulce Domum said...

Hi Linnet

I actually forgot how funny Blackadder was until you metioned it. My favourite episode was the one with Tom Baker as the mad sailor..."them's a woman's hands..."

Hi Zillah

Blackberry vodka! Oh wow, and you invented deserve some kind of award!

Anonymous said...

Aharrr! You have a woman's mouth, milord! I'll wager that mouth never had to chew through the side of a ship to escape the dreadful spindly killer fish!