Tales from the Northern Forests

Spring Pickings

By Brigitte Franssen
Illustrated by Jef Franssen


Wearing gloves, pick young and tender stinging nettles from an unpolluted spot. Or if you are lucky like me you can simply buy them from your organic farmer.
They can be used to make tea or they can be made into a delicious velvety soup that tastes much better than the ingredients would lead you to imagine.
The recipe below is taken from the book 'Kitchen Pharmacy' by Rose Elliot and Carlo de Paoli.1 It is very easy and quick to make and on top of that very healthy. Nettles are best known for cleansing and purifying the blood but they also contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

Velvety Nettle Soup
quick and easy, plus very healthy

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
450 g potatoes, peeled and diced
225 g tender nettles
1 liter water
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
single cream (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then put in the onions and potatoes. Stir, then cover and cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the nettles, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, then pout in 1 liter water, bring to the boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked. Liquidise. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper and nutmeg, reheat, and add the cream if using. i


Rhubarb is delicious in a quick and easy to make rhubarb crumble. I am still testing different recipes but once I found the best one I will let you know.
Rhubarb is also very easy to grow yourself and will come back year after year. They say you shouldn't cut any of the stems in the first year of planting but I don't really know why.

If you do know why you shouldn't cut rhubarb in its first year, please let me know. Simply click on the mailbox or drop me a note by
e-mailing brigitte@bookoftales.com.

Tip against Ants

When the arrival of spring is announced by ants inspecting your kitchen for little treats and sweets, use a little bit of cinnamon.
Simply sprinkle a bit of grounded cinnamon where they enter you kitchen or use the essential oil of cinnamon leaf to wipe your kitchen surfaces.

Tales from the Northern Forests  >>

  1. Elliot, Rose, and Carlo de Paoli, Kitchen Pharmacy, a book of healing remedies for everyone, London, 1991.
© Brigitte Franssen 2010
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