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