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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Nettles and recipe books

I've finished over the fence!  Now I wait for it to grow over a little so it doesn't look quite so bare and I have visions of neat rows of young stinging nettles along my path and plenty of lovely blackberries - I know it won't actually be like that of course but I can dream.

Why would I want stinging nettles at all I hear you ask?  Well so that I can make soup with them - naturally!  I read about nettle soup in two library books I had earlier this year and I decided to try making some.  I picked a carrier bag of nettles - just the tips and not from anywhere I though any dogs might have been and wearing rubber gloves to do so - and this was my harvest picked over and washed ready for use.

The soup was delicious - even the wanderer who was still with us at the time enjoyed it and asked for seconds. 

All of this brings me to my recipe file - I was inspired to post about this having read of Helen's recipe books On her blog Helsie's Happenings (can't do a link to it for some reason it keeps telling me that a script in it will make my computer unresponsive and I then have to log off) and thought how professional hers looked.  This is mine.  Just an ordinary A4 ring binder with a clip art design on the front and spine.

My recipes are a motley collection including clippings from old newspapers - now yellowed with age,

Some recipes from magazines....

Some handwritten ones...

Some recipes in my Mum's handwriting - it is wonderful to have something which a loved one actually wrote,  the paper she physically touched - as she died nearly 11 years ago there won't be any more of these.  And notice what this recipe is for - nettle beer so more uses for the nettles on my path!!  I haven't actually made this but if I get a crop of nettles I might give it a try next year.

Some of my recipes are written in French - this one my neighbour gave me.  She told me that a clafouti is made with cherries and if you make the same thing with apples it is a flognarde - this recipe was for flognarde.

And here's another French one.

So nothing professional about my recipe book but a collection of recipes from all sorts of places many of which bring back happy memories of the friends who kindly passed their recipes on and of the times when I enjoyed them.  My pages are often splattered with marks and put together in a somewhat scruffy way but it works for me!!  Do you have a recipe collection and if so how do you organise yours?

The wanderer is on her way to spend a couple of days with us - we haven't seen her since she left at the beginning of June and I have been making her favourite biscuits from one of my recipes in the folder along with granola which we made when she was here and she enjoyed.  Shan't be able to make any nettle soup this time though as you really need young green nettles not the 10 foot tall ones I have been pulling up!!

Many thanks for all your kind comments on my last post - I noticed I had suddenly had 2 more followers again and now one's gone so as you all say it's best not to worry about it!  Hope you all have a good weekend - for those in UK hope your Bank Holiday weekend is not a complete washout.  My sister-in-law is camping near Weymouth with her walking group - I wouldn't be too surprised to see her at the door asking for a dry bed as it's been raining cats and dogs all day here!!

PS Many thanks too for all your good wishes for Mr M - glad to say he is on the mend now - must be that Metatone I bought for him!!


  1. You've made a great job of the path Jane, well done, good exercise too!!
    You really wouldn't want to see my recipe book. I started it off many years ago writing everything into it neatly. Then I began just putting clippings and bits of paper with scribbled down recipes in between the pages with the intention of sticking or writing them in at later date which of course never happened!! It's now jam packed with bits of paper and has to be held together with a big rubber band and you can imagine what a mission it is when I'm looking for a particular recipe!!
    Vivienne x

  2. blimey that looks like hard work. I was moaning about our hedge!

    I made nettle soup (and blogged about it) some months back. I got the recipe from Kay and Sime, who also make nettle beer, although I have not tried that! I'm drinking nettle tea, which is meant to be good for the constitution, that's nice too.
    Luckily I have 2 girl dogs, so I never need worry about my nettles being sprinkled on LOL

  3. You made good work of the overgrowth,, well done. As for recipe books,,, I do not have one,, but I think I have an old BeRo book of my mums somewhere.

  4. Nettle soup sounds and looks delicious.

    My recipes are tucked into a folder which once had some sort of order but now is just a crazy confusion of bits of paper and torn out recipes from magazines and newspapers. I really should sort it out (I think that every time I need to use it, but back into the cupboard it goes, same as before!). Strangely, it still seems to work ok.

    I hope you have a lovely time with your 'wanderer'!


  5. Well done with the path, such a difference. I've never picked and eaten nettles but that soup does look delicious.

    Have a lovely time with your wanderer :-)

  6. Oh well done! What a big job that was.
    Interesting about the nettles. I saw someone do it on TV once. I think it was Nick Nairn(? the Scottish cook ). We do have them growing here in our temperate rainforesty type places - found them the hard way on a walk once !!
    Love your recipe book. I have bits of cuttings from magazines etc in a big file but then I usually cook the same old things My mum cooks everything from memory or makes it up as she goes so I don't have any recipes from her. I'll have to get her to write a few down as her memory is not as good as it used to be and we'll end up losing the recipe for her fantastic shortbread etc.
    Tell the Wanderer that it is warming up here in Brissy and we are expecting 25 C today but the nights are still cool. Spring is in the air!!!
    PS. Sorry about the script thing. I get a message too but don't know what to do about it!

  7. My mother used to give me Metatone when I was a child, I'm glad they still make it .. suddenly I don't feel so old after all!
    I've never tasted nettle soup but it's something I keep meaning to make. It's extremely good for you apparently.
    Happy weekend x

  8. Wow you have worked extremely on that hedge, what a great achievement. Hmmm....nettle soup, not quite sure I could make that. I got stung rather badly in France when I was pulling grass to feed a horse. Ouch!!
    I have recipe folders that seem to get bigger each year. I'm trying to stop collecting recipes, not working.
    Anne xx

  9. Thats very courageous of you to make nettle soup! Hope the weather improves, send it to us! Its very dry here, it hasn't rained for over a month and the garden needs a good soak, luckily we have a bore to keep it alive otherwise all i might have is nettles to make soup from ! Lovely to have your mums hand written recipe in your book.

  10. You have been quite industrious. Nettle soup or anything edible made from stinging nettles is a new concept for me. Not sure where I would get some here, however.

    I enjoyed the peek at your recipe binder. I've also got one of those, but not so tidily organized as yours. I have some handwritten recipes from a favorite aunt who is long gone, so I know what you mean about remembering the hands that actually wrote/touched the paper...

    And now I must post this comment and catch up on some of your earlier posts.

  11. What a great job you've done on that avenue!
    Nettle tea is good, too.
    And the super-personal recipe book, full of memories as well as good food. I hope the Wanderer appreciated it all?

  12. Well done on the path clearing.
    That's the second time I've seen nettle soup on a blog in the last few days. I'm going to have to try that one day.

  13. Jane, my recipe book started out with good intentions and used to get filled with hand written recipes.. then I started just shoving the magazine page in the back and it's now a half empty book with a wodge of paper at the back that I have to trawl through every time I want something. They usually fall over the floor but do I learn and sort it out? No, sadly not. Couldn't agree more about the joy of handwritten recipes from friends and loved ones. Very special.

  14. Ooh, I love nettle soup, and I haven't eaten any in years. Must remedy that. We do drink a lot of nettle tea here though, great stuff!

  15. My goodness Jane, you've certainly done a good job clearing - well done!
    Your recipe file is very precious and unique - what a wonderful family treasure it is.
    My 'special' recipies are kept in a folder that My Mom bought me way back in 1969, some written, some clipped but all used and treasured.

    Please pop over to my blog - there is an award waiting for you to collect :o)
    Rose H

  16. Morning jane... blimey, you did really well clearing that strip! I have had nettle soup and yes its very tasty. But i dont pick them myself. Having had my childhood in Oz, i built up no natural resistance to their stings so when i get stung its much worse than most people, sigh! So nettles are dreaded here, and i dont use them, which is a shame.

    I have a beautiful recipe file that a lovely friend made me, i will sort out a pic to show you.

    Leanne x

  17. I love recipe collections like yours, Jane because they have grown slowly over the years and remind you of people and past times. I think the handwritten recipes are so lovely as keepsakes. Your nettle soup looks and sounds delicious...though I have never tried it, maybe I will now!
    Have a happy week!
    Helen x

  18. I have recipes written down all over the place and nothing as organised as a book! I think it is about time I put them in some type of order as I can never find the recipe I want when I need it!!! It is lovely that you have kept the hand writen recipes from your Mum.

  19. I have "proper" recipe books and then the one that I stuff clippings in. Recently I have taken to writing out about six or so at a time into a notebook (in the hope that they will all survive). We had nettle soup once and loved it. Enjoy the Wanderer!

  20. You deserve a rest after clearing out that patch. I've never had nettle soup, but I have had nettle tea - dried nettle leaves combined with dried mint. It was lovely.

    I have both a ringed notebook like yours and a couple of recipe boxes. I love the way recipe books reflect a life with collected bits from people we love or who just pass through our lives.

  21. I've got my mum's old (handwritten) recipe book - it's very dog-eared, but I'd never get rid of it. Every time I open it she always feel close to me again. I find certain recipies and smells evoke such strong memories.
    I'm always ripping out recipies from magazines, newspapers etc. Nowadays I tend to laminate them all - it keeps them for longer, and I can always just wipe away all the sticky marks after I've used them.
    Thanks for your visit over on my blog today - Violet is growing up so fast. She'll be starting school full time next week - I'm going to be lost without her!
    We absolutely loved Wales and will definitely be going back. x

  22. This is simply wonderful! I love nettle soup and it is a lovely coincidence - if you believe in coincidences that is - that you should write about nettles. I have just found out that I am hugely anemic (not the first time) and I have been drinking nettle tea as well as taking my iron tablets. Nettle tea is a fabulous beverage and not just for its iron content.

    I think your recipe book is wonderful; just how it should be packed with happy memories and love no doubt.


  23. I'm planning to feature lots of apple recipes this autumn on the blog. That flognarde might well feature.


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