Monday, 21 May 2012

Nettle Up-date

Remember my weed and nettle post from ages ago? Back then I promised that there would be an update "shortly", by that I didn't mean two months later. The reason for the delay is that I simply forgot. I just discovered the pictures on my laptop in a folder named something that would never suggest that the content was nettle related. Anyway, now that I've found them I might as well show you what happened to all those nettles.

I used a very big handful of nettles, a big handful of sticky weed and a handful of mixed herbs from my garden to make this very green soup.

I washed and finely chopped the greens.

Then I fried a finely diced onion in a little rapeseed oil, added a diced potato and some vegetable stock before adding the greens. After bringing the soup to a boil, I simmered it for about 10 minutes, then blitzed it and added a spoonful of home made yoghurt.

The result: something nice enough for me to say I'd have that again.

For my nettle pesto I blanched some nettles for about 2 minutes in boiling water (to take the sting away) and then squeezed out as much water as possible.

I put the nettles in a food processor, along with some garlic, chopped walnuts, grated Parmesan cheese, a little salt and a good splash of olive oil.

This is what it looked like once processed:

It tastes delicious on toast ...

... and mixed with pasta.

Definitely something I'll make again.

I cooked another batch of nettles for quite some time in the slow cooker in order to make some cordial.

After straining out the liquid, I added loads of sugar to it and filled the resulting cordial into sterilised bottles.

Definitely something I'll never make again as it tastes really horrible, but I guess that's a lesson learned. As I don't want to throw it away and I also don't want to drink it, I thought I'd give the concoction another chance by trying to turn it into wine, but so far it's refusing to ferment, so I guess it will have to go.

Last, but not least I made some nettle beer using this recipe. This actually turned out much nicer than expected (after the cordial failure). 

Boiling the nettles:

"Harvesting" the liquid:

Looking less pleasant:

All bottled:

And enjoying it:

It's a rather unusual taste, but not in a bad way, it's quite refreshing.

That's it, these were my adventures in nettles. 
After all that I can't believe I still haven't dried any nettles for tea, so I think I'll be going out to harvest some more nettles soon.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Little Moments of Madness

This week at work has been very mad and hectic, to a point where I turned a little weird:

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Goblin Blood

I've recently developed an obsession with fruit curds. For years I didn't even know what they were, actually I don't think they exist in Germany, and when I moved to the UK and found out about them I just thought it sounded very odd and therefore never tried it.
Last Christmas however, I decided to use up some eggs from my chickens and the last few lemons that were left from my bulk buying at the time for a couple of jars of lemon curd for Jamie's parents' Christmas hamper. There was a tiny bit left that didn't fit into the jars, so I tried it and that was all it took - now I'm hooked.
Since then I made a couple more batches, but always lemon flavour, so I thought there must be other things one can do and with that my imagination went wild and ever since I've been thinking up the strangest flavours. Whenever I eat something sweet I begin to wonder what that would be like as a curd, no longer stopping at fruit.
The main reason behind this obsession is that curds are an awesome way to flavour yoghurt, apart from fresh fruit or honey of course and since I've started making my own yoghurt a few months ago, dreaming up curd flavours suddenly made sense.
My first experimental and slightly mad sounding curd flavour I tried (after all the lemon ones), I bet you guessed it, was: Sweet Woodruff!

I followed my usual method for making lemon curd in a slow cooker and simply substituted the lemon juice with some water that was strongly infused with sprigs of sweet woodruff and I also added a few finely chopped leaves of woodruff to the mixture.
It tastes extremely nice, but I haven't tried flavouring any yoghurt with it yet, although I'm convinced it's going to be delicious.
As I went a bit overboard on the food colouring (again) and the curd didn't actually set for the first 48 hours (it has now), the whole thing looked more like a Halloween decoration, so I made some alternative labels:

The full moon reference is actually a fact, which makes the spooky labels quite apt.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Sweet Woodruff Ice Cream

As I consumed my last helping of super yummy sweet woodruff ice cream today I realised I never shared the recipe with you.

If you'd like to try it for yourself here's what you should do:

Pick about 15 sprigs of sweet woodruff and allow them to dry in the shade for two to four hours - this will bring out a more intense flavour.

Add your sweet woodruff sprigs to 200 ml of full fat milk and warm up slowly in order to infuse the milk - do not allow to boil.

Once you've reached a flavour strong enough to your liking take the milk of the heat and allow the mixture to cool down. Then strain the infused milk into a mixing bowl and add a splash of green food colouring if you like.
While this is cooling down further whip 200 ml of whipping or double cream.
In a separate bowl mix 2 egg yolks with 70 g of caster sugar until fluffy.
Gently mix the milk, cream and egg-sugar mixture together and pour into your ice-cream maker (if you have one) and set to churn for 30 minutes. Your sweet woodruff ice cream is now ready for you to enjoy or for further freezing.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, simply freeze your mixture and remove from the freezer every 30 minutes to fluff up with a fork, then return to freezer and repeat until the right consistency is reached.

And here I am enjoying what I believe to be the best ice cream flavour there is:

Saturday, 12 May 2012

An itsy bitsy teeny weeny Cardigan

As my boss is a brand new dad I decided to make his little daughter the tiny sleeveless cardigan that was featured in Crochet Today's March/April 2012 issue.

I used some yarn I already had in my stash. I ended up making the sleeveless version because I ran out of yarn. I'm not sure why I had this in my stash in the first place as the colour isn't something I'd normally choose. My guess is that I bought it because I needed a tiny amount to make a toy or something as only a very small amount was missing from the original 100g skein. Anyway it's all gone now and it turned out very cute. My boss seemed to like it and promised his daughter would be wearing it soon. Oh, I do hope he's going to show me a picture of her in it.
He gave me a very cute Thank-you card with a lovely picture of his daughter wearing the cardi.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Although today's weather here didn't exactly suggest the beginning of May (more like early February if you ask me), I celebrated Beltane aka May Day with a couple of glasses of Maibowle. 
Maibowle or May wine is a traditional German drink for this time of the year. If you would like to try it, simply add a some fresh strawberries to a bottle of chilled white wine and infuse with a few sprigs of sweet woodruff. Go easy on the woodruff as it's slightly poisonous and can be overpowering - about 12 sprigs per bottle is enough.

Hope you all had a good May Day. Enjoy the rest of it.

Blessed be.