Festival Of Food – Nutritious Nettle Soup

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of the New Year and Healthy Starts, we’re sharing recipe ideas for healthy, nourishing recipes or anything you would enjoy this time of year. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you’re welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you’d like to share, add it to the linky below.

It wont be long now till we start seeing subtle signs of spring all around us, and when that time comes, so will the brand new crop of Nettles. Yes, Stinging Nettles. They grow in abundance all around us, and are regarded as a weed, but nettles, apart from being very tasty when prepared the right way, offer a wealth of nutrition and are a super food to get you through the winter to spring season changes.

Nettles are a rich green colour, revealing their extremely high iron and chlorophyll content. It is also very high in the minerals calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulphur,

copper, chromium, zinc, cobalt, potassium and phosphorus. Nettles also contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, D, E, and K as well as riboflavin and thiamine.

Nettle soup can be your best friend in the final trimester of pregnancy as you prepare your body for birth, and need to bulk up on blood-clotting vitamin K, which also then transfers to your baby through your breastmilk.

This recipe is my favourite for Nettle Soup, so as the seasons start to change, soon, dress warmly, and take a walk with a grocery bag, a thick pair of gloves and some scissors, and pick your dinner.


Nutritious Nettle Soup
Recipe type: Foraged, Nutrition Supplement
  • Nettles, about half a grocery bag full
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Water, to cover
  • Tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Cream, to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, potatoes and ginger, and fry gently till the onion is translucent and the potatoes are slightly crispy.
  3. Using gloves if you're touching the raw nettles, add the nettles to the pot and cover with water.
  4. Cook until the potatoes are softened, then blitz the mixture in a food processor or blender.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and dish up.
  6. Swirl a small amount of cream into the soup to thicken it a little, and serve with fresh buttered bread for a real treat.


Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.

Stay connected! Be sure to “Like” the Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.

Pick Your Own And Eat It

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer’s Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they’ve learned about their local farmers.


We receive fortnightly organic food deliveries, a frugal luxury that is essential to our family’s healthy eating. We don’t get the box with fruit, however, so every now and then, we like going to one of the many local Pick Your Own farms. Sadly, this, again, is a financial luxury, but as Ameli is growing and able to appreciate it more, I hope we’re able to do so more often.

Last week we went for a fruit picking session, with strawberries and raspberries on the menu.

I love how Ameli engaged with it. I love how initially she needed to check with me whether they were pink enough, or too white, but in the end she was picking all the gorgeous red berries.

I also love the fact that at almost three, my little girl knows where food comes from and that she doesn’t assume it comes from the shelves in supermarkets.

We picked courgette (zucchini) flowers, washed them, stuffed them with Mozzarella and anchovies, dipped them in ice cold tempura batter and deep fried for a deliciously scrumptious dinner.

Does this count as ‘real food’? I don’t know. But I do know we picked it, and we cooked it, and we ate it, and we made an afternoon of family fun out of it, and that’s pretty real to me.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • 10 Simple Ways to Make the Farmer’s Market More Fun for Kids — Lorie at Reading Confetti shares ideas and books to help kids get the most from the farmers market experience.
  • 10 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter About The Importance of Shopping at the Farmer’s Market — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares the ten lessons she hopes to impart to her daughter about the importance of shopping at local farmers markets.
  • Charmed by Two Small Town Markets — Shannon at GrowingSlower was charmed by two small-town farmers markets while on vacation.
  • The Olympia Farmer’s Market (and a giveaway!) — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes and family took a trip to their state capitol to experience a new market. See what they saw, and enter to win a book written about that very market.
  • — Exploring the farmers market by Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writing at Natural Parents Network — with a scavenger hunt!
  • Exploring the Market … Alphabet StyleThat Mama Gretchen is in the midst of creating a learning tool for her toddler and it’s all about the market!
  • Unschooling at the Farmers Market — Megz at Aspen Mama loves building memories as a vendor at the Market.
  • Montessori-Inspired Vegetable Unit — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares links to Montessori-inspired vegetable printables and activities to help your family get the most out of a trip to the farmer’s market.
  • Markets — How sustainable mum has fitted a monthly farmers market into a weekly food shop.
  • The Farmers Market In Under An Hour (“Carl Style”) — Andrea and family at Tales of Goodness adapt their farmers marketing approach to make everyone happy.
  • Tales Of a Troubled Gardener — Sam at Love Parenting writes about her dream of self-sufficiency and her lack of gardening skills!
  • A Few {Of The Many} Reasons Why I Love Our Farmer’s Market — Even though the experience can sometimes be less than peaceful, MomeeeZen shares why she enjoys taking her family to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
  • Experiencing the Farmer’s Market from a Different Perspective — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM had a great time letting her toddler lead the way at the farmer’s market…
  • Ask A Farmer’s Daughter — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter answers questions about her life growing up on a small family farm in New England.
  • Giving Up the Grocery Store — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her family’s summertime challenge to eliminate trips to the grocery store and rely almost exclusively on local, farm-fresh foods.
  • Urban farming and fresh food in the city — Lauren at Hobo Mama takes trips to farms, gardens, and markets within reach of a big city.
  • Market Tip: Get to Know Your Farmers — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finally gets up the guts to talk to her farmers and learns she is among ardent food lovers.
  • New Farmer’s Market Find — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is excited to make a new find at her new farmers market.
  • “The Real World” Grassroots Edition — jessica at instead of institution takes some time out to write a love note.
  • 9 Insider Tips for Farmer’s Market Newbies — Dionna at Code Name: Mama chatted with a few farmers to bring you some insider information on how to get the most out of your local farmer’s market.
  • The Place Where I Can Say “Yes!” — Erica at ChildOrganics gives you a tour of her favorite vendors at her local farmers market and discusses the benefits of creating community through the market.
  • Raw Local Milk — Jorje shares her family’s field trip to a local dairy. Learn what you can appreciate from a small town farm at Momma Jorje.com.
  • Italian Secret Vegetable Soup Recipe — Alinka at Baby Web convinces an Italian Farmer & Cook to reveal a precious minestrone recipe and shares it with her readers.
  • Where do our eggs come from? A visit to Sucellus Farms. — Carli at One Fit Mom takes her family to meet the chickens that have been providing their daily eggs.
  • Beyond the Farm — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and her family enjoy looking beyond the food at the local farmer’s market to see the wares of the over vendors.
  • Magic at the Market — Do you ever take time to really look at the food you eat? Amy at Anktangle enjoys marveling at the beauty (and the utility) of the foods and goods available at the farmers’ market.
  • Farmer’s Market Discoveries — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen reminisces about the discoveries she’s made at the Farmer’s Market throughout the years.
  • Are You Getting the Most out of Your Farmers’ Market? (My List of Not-So-Common “Musts”) — Sheila at A Living Family shares some uncommon ways to squeeze even more joy and connection (and yumminess!) from your local farmers’ market experience.
  • Pick Your Own And Eat It — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares their trip to a PYO farm and the journey from picking to eating her favourite food
  • Mint Cordial Recipe

    It’s a beautiful time of year, and while my dismal garden remains dismal, my mint has grown so thick and fast that the leaves at the bottom aren’t seeing the sun anymore. I decided it was time to do something about it and then to do something with the mint leaves.

    What’s lovelier on a hot summers day than a refreshing mint cordial? Well, I don’t know, but a mint cordial definitely hits the spot.


    • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
    • 500g sugar
    • 2 cups water

    Lightly crush the mint leaves to release some of the flavours.

    Add sugar and water to a heavy bottomed pot and then add mint.

    Bring the mixture to boil for five minutes, then simmer lightly for 15 minutes.

    Cover and leave as is overnight

    Strain the mixture to remove all the leaves, then decant into a bottle and refrigerate.

    You can keep this in the fridge for a few weeks. I don’t know that it will go off, but it’s not worth wasting it anyway!

    Just add to water to taste.

    Enjoy the refreshing yumminess.

    Foraging For Food: Crystalized Lavender

    We moved into a new house this week, and when I say it’s been mayhem and madness, I’m not joking. I’ve spent five days unpacking boxes, and it feels like I’ve barely made a dent. I’m sure it’ll all come together in one smooth motion but till then, I’ve had little to no time for foraging.

    I have put a little time into the garden, however, and put down seed for the grass to regenerate in the bald patches, as well as transplanted some of the herbs from the kitchen. It is trial and error at the moment, and while the courgette plants (zucchini) are doing well in their new home, and the salad is coming on nicely too, the basil has taken it all quite badly and currently looks a little forlorn. I might need to start again on that, and perhaps keep it indoors.
    Read more: Foraging For Food: Crystalized Lavender

    Foraging For Food – Ramson (Wild Garlic) Scones

    While savoury scones aren’t very common in England, they are among my favourite ‘snacks’.  These are actually meant to be popped in the oven with a medley of chopped vegetables, but are equally good on their own, with a little butter.

    Preheat the oven to 200C.

    Place the flour, salt, cayenne, butter and three quarters of the cheese in a food processor and whiz until well blended.

    Beat together the egg and 2 tablespoons of the milk then add to the food processor.

    Pulse to form a smooth, soft dough. Chop up the Ramson leaves and mix them in.

    Form into six balls, and place on a tray in the oven for 20 mins.

    Out the oven, slice, butter, and enjoy!

    Foraging for Food – Yarrow Omelettes And Tea

    Yarrow, or what the Ancients called Achillea after Achilles, the legendary warrior.  In battle, Yarrow was used to speed up the blood clotting and to stop haemorrhaging. Crushed, the leaves can be put directly onto cuts, and used for nose bleeds and earache, and even chewed for toothache.
    Read more: Foraging for Food – Yarrow Omelettes And Tea

    Growing In The Outdoors: Plants And People

    So, here’s something you didn’t know about me: I don’t have green fingers, but my heart does.

    It’s the classic battle between doing and knowing, really.  I love the thought of a beautiful garden, a veggie patch, a herb garden, some sweet peas filling spring with their scent, and roses to beautify the view outside my window.

    In truth, however, I don’t know how to switch on a lawnmower.
    Read more: Growing In The Outdoors: Plants And People

    Foraging For Food – Nettle Soup

    Nettles are a painful annoyance when you’re out and about in fields and forests, and make picking  other plants quite tough, but did you know  that in and of themselves, they are something of a super-food?

    Nettles can be used to increase breast milk supply, eliminate dandruff, and is believed to have anti-anaemic, anti-diabetic, haemostatic and diuretic properties. Nettles lower glycemic levels by lowering blood sugar, so are good for diabetics, and are mildly diuretic, so help the spleen too.* Nettles apparently have the highest iron count of any edible plant.
    Read more: Foraging For Food – Nettle Soup

    Foraging For Food – Ramson (Wild Garlic) Omelettes

    I’m still on the Ramsons this week – there are just so many of them, and so much you can do with them, it seems silly to keep them to one week.  Check last week’s post to find out more about where you can find Ramsons and poisonous lookalikes (which don’t smell like garlic at all).

    Here’s a simple little recipe to try with your Ramsons and a few bits and pieces from the fridge.

    I love Eggs. They are the best thing for turning a bunch of leftovers into a dinner.

    For this Omelette you’ll need as much of each ingredient as you think each person would eat:

    • Mushrooms
    • Onion
    • Ramsons
    • Eggs, 2 per person
    • Salt and Pepper to season
    • Cheese to taste
    • Tomato and any other vegetables (optional)

    Chop the mushrooms and onion roughly and fry until tender.

    Add the chopped Ramsons and cook for another minute or two, till they are wilted.

    Meanwhile, whisk the eggs till they are frothy. Lower the heat a little and pour directly into the pan. This will make the omelette light and fluffy.

    Add a little grated cheese and salt and pepper, and cover with a lid until the egg is cooked on top.

    Cut into as many pieces as you need and transfer carefully on to plates.

    Add a couple of Ramson flowers for decoration and enjoy with toast.

    • The Ramson leaves can also be prepared as you would spinach. The garlic flavour is a lot milder in the spring than the smell of garlic would suggest.
    • Try adding Ramson leaves or flowers to savoury muffins or scones, or you could make Ramson gnocchi.

    Always remember the rules of foraging for food.

    Foraging for Food – Ramson (Wild Garlic) And Ricotta Gnocchi

    Wild garlic is simply delicious stuff. In the spring it has a much milder taste than late in the summer, and unlike it’s commercial counterpart, you eat the leaves and the flowers, not the bulb (although you could).
    Read more: Foraging for Food – Ramson (Wild Garlic) And Ricotta Gnocchi