Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Geoffrey Winner! Eighteenth Centurey Nettle Soup and the Latest Exciting Project!

Well - Hello there!
Sorry - this is a bit of a long winded post - lots of photo's though!
Hope everyone is well - sorry its been a while since the last post - its all been a bit hectic around here!
What with Hubby P's manky bad leg, Family to stay (Robert and Gary) over the Bank Holiday and all the usual - too much to do so little time!
I managed to put the names in a hat for the Geoffrey badge/badges (I made another one) -
Da da - Tra la - And the Winner is/winners are :-
Kath at Juicy Fig (juicyfig.blogspot.com/)
Decadent Housewife at (www.Dailydecadent.com/)
So Ladies - you Lucky Things You! A Geoffrey badge will be winging its way to you as soon as you send me your address details!
Geoffrey's very own Number One Fan's!

I received a thrilling present this weekend (early Birthday present - or bribe? not too sure of the possible motive?).
Non the less - thrilling, a wonderful - just can't put it down book.

Its very basically about a lady - Fiona J Houston who decides to live for twelve months as if she were living in the Eighteenth Century - fascinating reading. She re-establishes an old cottage with all the furnishings, pots pans and whatnot of the Eighteenth century, grows the relevent crops, makes her own gowns and petticoats - etc.
I find it all so interesting - and the book has lots of receipts for typical dishes, and instructions/ 'how to' make everyday items - string from nettles, ink from oak apples. Wonderful stuff!

This is Fiona dressed in her petticoats doing the laundry!
So - thus inspired - and immediately wanting to run away and live in the Eighteenth Century
- I just had to try the Nettle soup!
Now I must say it isn't really a new thing for me - we have eaten nettles a few times. Usually when I have been on a 'health kick' as Hubby P calls it, I would rather say - eating Healthily - Nettles are full of iron and vitamins - its something to do with their roots reaching down a long way and sourcing all the good nutrients from the soil.

So here we are - first pick your nettles (I picked a good colander full) - you want young nettles - or just the tops. Wash well, you can see I have discarded the tough stems.

Fry a couple of onions in a good knob of butter (I used some shallot-y things I had in the veg basket) Until they soften, add your nettles and 'wilt' - I added a splash of water and put a lid on the pan.

Peel and chop up small, some potatoes - I added a bit of butternut squash too, add this to the nettles with a good 1 1/2 pints of water (I added a veg stock cube too - not that for a minute I think they had stock cubes in the eighteenth century!)
Then bring to the boil and simmer until potatoes are soft - I seasoned well with salt and pepper too.

Now you cant have a good soup with out some nice bread - so I had made some earlier in the day, nice and crusty - ideal for soup.

Once your potatoes are cooked through take either your masher if you are staying true to your eighteenth century soup - and mash like fury, or - as in my case, reach for your trusty blender - and give it a good whizz!

Eat bowlfuls of it with bread and lashings of butter! It is very tasty - I urge you all to try it!
It has yet to be launched on Hubby P - he was a little dubious when he peered in the bowl, although I reminded him we had eaten it before, and he tried a little spoonful from my bowl and declared it ' Splendid!'
And such wonderful health giving properties (don't know about the huge amounts of butter on the bread - but its a start!).

Now the exciting project!!
Hubby P came home with these!

Lots and lots of windows - given to him by a friend who had intended to make a greenhouse, but decided against it. So - Hubby P says 'do you fancy a greenhouse' - 'Ooooo Yes Please' says I!
I had one for years and it was so useful - grew wonderful stuff, but sadly it died a death and we pulled it down before it fell down.
Well luckily we had lots of strapping young men (all home grown) visit for the Bank Holiday, and they - as keen as ever to help out Poor Hubby P with the Manky Leg - decided to set to and build the greenhouse.
As you can see it needed much standing with hands on hips - hard thinking to utilise the windows in the best way.

Much holding of bits of wood, playing - Ops sorry - that should be 'Using' the cordless drill.

As you can see they did remarkably well - I think its all to do with the amount of tea they drank - kept the brain refreshed and 'drilling power' up!

They did all this in an afternoon - as you can see the sun was getting low in the sky - they didn't stop until it was almost dark!
The next day they built another section (the front with the doorway), we - Hubby P and I, have been left to put the roof on, hopefully this week - I have bought the tomato plants - not that there is any pressure to get it finished you understand!!

Charlie cat was sat watching us - its a grand life!
I will keep you posted - hopefully have the tomatoes in soon, how yummy, home grown tomatoes!
xxx Must be bed time! Bye for now! xxx


  1. Really cool stuff in this post - coveting that greenhouse. I'm going to make your nettle soup but not tell anyone what it is.

    I am excited to have made the draw and will wear your badge with honour!

  2. Ohhh can't wait to watch the progress of the contents of the greenhouse. I had one made out of window frames, many moons ago and spent hours in there..sigh happy memories. I'd love another one, but our gardens way too small sadly. Glad to see you survived the car boot in that wind on Sunday !!

  3. My Grandad had a couple of ace greenhouses he made out of window frames, they lasted forever !!
    I've never had soup but have tried nettle tea which was very refreshing.
    Twiggy x
    PS Twiglet went on his first ever school trip yesterday, the highlight for him was eating lunch in the same room as a half pig skeleton :)

  4. Greenhouse envy.....actually it looks more of an Alpine House which is sooo posh.

    You are all so industrious!

  5. woohoo!!! than you thank you thank you!!!!

    Will e-mail you my address very soon!

    Love the green house - it is going to be brilliant - you should get yourself a grape vine, plant the roots outside the greenhouse, and bring the main stem up inside - then you can have another 'project' hick!


  6. Great post: congratulations to your Geoffrey winners. Loving the greenhouse, not too sure about nettle soup though lol!

    Shirl x

  7. I was just looking at teh huge amount of nettles growing behind our kennels today and thinking I'd ahve to give em the chop.
    I might behead them and boil them up now. LOL.

    Thats a very green greenhouse you've got there!

  8. the soup sounds grand!

    my neighbour gave us some homemade soup and i was quite looking forwards to it until i teasted it
    :( she had used carrots, potatos and parsnip all of which i love but she had added loads of stock cubes which made it so salty and it just tasted like stock cubes :(


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