This recipe is from Darina Allen’s – Ballymaloe Cookery Course.
This is the most foodie thing I’ve ever made. I foraged for those flowers.
I knew I wanted to do a soup this month. Yes, we have had some sunshine but it’s still pretty cold out there. I was going to do a carrot and cumin soup. I love cumin and I love carrots. It’s funny though how many people only like raw or roasted carrots and they hate boiled carrots. I don’t understand it. I love them every which way – but anyway I decided to take a good look at the other soup recipes in the Ballymaloe Cookery Course.
There is a recipe for Irish Nettle Soup. I had nettle soup once as a child. It was a huge disappointment. I was the kind of child who was always tripping into cradles of nettles – no point knowing that you take a firm hold of the leaves to avoid being stung when you’re just falling on top of them. They were an enemy but an enemy I respected because you just had to be sure and handle them a certain way and you’d be fine. So, I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting – something dramatic and a bit – I don’t know – with the taste of stingingness? – anyway it just tasted like a normal vegetable soup. Very disappointing. So I was pretty sure I wouldn’t choose the nettle soup recipe until I noticed a little variation on the recipe (the variations in this book are often the best option) using wild garlic instead of nettles. I was definitely intrigued by the idea.
A couple of years ago I read a post on some food blog about foraging for food and they mentioned a trip through some woods and collecting wild garlic and it all sounded so in touch with nature and all things real and wonderful… Ever since then, every so often, I find myself half thinking, half dreaming “yes, yes I shall go to the woods and there I shall collect baskets of food, I will live off the land and be one with the land, yes, yes I shall…”
And now armed with a recipe which calls for wild garlic I really spent some time seriously thinking where would those woods with the wild garlic be exactly…
At the same time part of the common green area outside my apartment had become blanketed in these lovely white flowers. I’d never noticed them before.
You can see where this is going can’t you?
Does it count as foraging if you just hop over the porch wall with a scissors and snip, snip, snip? I’m thinking yes, yes it does. Mother Earth has fed me and I am most grateful to her. We’ll even forgive the nettles.
Wild garlic season runs from sort of April through May. The nettles are out in force now as well. The base of this soup is lovely, it’s leek and potato really, so I think the nettles might be very good in this. It’s also important not to overcook the leaves, and I think in the nettle soup that I had as a child the nettles were added at the start, so they had no taste by the time the soup was made.
If you want to try the nettle version just use 150g of young nettle leaves instead of the wild garlic leaves.
A couple of things I did differently to the original (I’m just going to give you the original recipe); I blended the soup the before adding the leaves – rather than after – because I wanted to see the leaves rather than have them blended in; also I added both a blend of flowers and stalks to the soup (when I was added the potato and leek), the only reason I did this was because it was much quicker to grab a bunch of the stuff including the flowers and stalks, rather than just the leaves (yes, I’m clearly made for this foraging life).