I nibbled on these nettles in Amsterdam, a week ago. Nettle-picking tip: pick the leaf, grasping only its outside and fold into a parcel, stings safely within. The top leaves were not stingy at all.
Appropriately, this was Be Nice to Nettles week (14-25 May), which aims to change our perception of nettles from an inconvenient weed to the healing nutritious herb it is.
What a strange world we live in, where nettles are not valued and other weeds with beneficial effects also get a bad press.
The nettles in question faced Vondle Park’s bandstand. You can glimpse its reflection in the picture above. (Don’t you just love an empty bandstand? Although abandonned, it promises spectacle).
Next to the bandstand is the Blue Treehouse, a cafe serving dishes such as fish pasta salad. Spaceship-like, it’s on two circular levels, surrounded by the leafy trees of May. A dj played grooves until it got dark.
We snacked a lot in Amsterdam, grazing from foodie delicatessens, or fuelling up with falafel or chips with mayonnaise, after dancing at the Bourbon Street jazz club or Cafe de Hortjes.
Twice we had an Indonesian rijsttafel, a Dutch-colonial rice feast with many dishes and most fiery.
Restaurant Kantjil & de Tijger (Spuistraat 291) was the one for me (see left below). I loved the use of tofu in the vegetarian variety. My big discovery was seroendeng, finely-shredded toasted coconut, a condiment I must have – now.
We travelled by rail and sail with Stenaline. Amazingly reasonable, it was £150 for two, including Liverpool Street-Amsterdam trains and a dinky cabin for one North Sea crossing.
We stayed on the Amstel Botel, moored excitingly right next to the Greenpeace boat (see below). This is on redeveloped docks with a free municipal ferry (carrying city-folk and their bikes) to the train station.
To paraphrase Eloise, oooooh I absolutely love Amsterdam.