This dish is a bit like an Oscar-award winning ceremony so bear with me while I thank a few people.
Firstly Elena Renier for inspiring me to use nettle tops in a risotto. Secondly Chloë for telling me on a walk over the cliff path at Cockington in north Devon that gorse flowers are both edible – and nature’s cure for depression.
I have always loved the spiky gorse bushes’ bright yellow flowers but when I found out I could eat them – and have a mood-change into the bargain – I was ecstatic! (Or was it the gorse petals I was munching en route?).
So, back in the kitchen, I fried a sliced onion and added a mug of kamut grain (instead of rice) to the hot olive oil. Then I poured in two mugs of water, added a pinch of rock salt and let it all simmer for 30 minutes.
I washed the nettle tops that Mike had kindly helped me pick (another Oscar thank you to him) and snipped the plentiful dark green leaves (six ounces in weight) with scissors so they fitted in the pan. They took about ten minutes to wilt and add their wonderful creamy spinach-y taste.
I love nettles! I cannot believe that eight days ago I was a nettle-picking virgin. My first use in nettle soup is here.
It’s Be Nice to Nettles Week soon (14 – 25 May 2008) when we stop thinking of them as nasty weeds and realise how wonderful they are.
The world faces a rice shortage so can I do my bit by eating kamut grain instead? I have selfish reasons too for I have come to love this bursting-with-health grain.
So, oscar-thanks to the universe for providing good things to eat.
Oh, and universe, while I am in prayerful mode, please knock sense into the powers-that-be to ensure food is shared more fairly and no one goes starving.
Thank you (she says, waving her metaphorical statuette in the air and leaving the stage).