Gardeners Green Soup

Well, post number 2, if I get one post up per week it would get things moving  with some continuity once again. The annual Mallow Homes and Gardens show took place last weekend which I attended with two of my grandchildren Jack & Heidi. the weather was a little unkind and some of the time we spent indoors was at the Taste of North Cork. these are a group of artisan producers who showed on the day but I was quite taken by Nibbles Food Emporium, award winning bakery based in Millstreet, Co Cork.
 The Gardners Green soup with Bluebell falls goats Cheese crostini was intriguing, Chef Eleanor Leahy runs the business, is quite interested in foraging and using natural ingredients in her restaurant. The thing that struck me about the ingredients for this soup is, the greens are free and widely available  if picked at the right time,when young and tender.
We often mention the Hungry gap, that lean time between the end of last years crops and the beginning of the new seasons, this is probably how our ancestors coped with it, knowing what was edible and freely growing in the fields and hedgerows.

250grm of young edible plants, nettles ( ankle height)!
Plantain, the young leaves of what we in Ireland call black soldiers
chickweed, goosegrass or better known as Sticky backs
Bitter hairy cress
a few young dandelion leaves.
 Gather these first and prepare, put the nettle leaves in a bowl and pour boiling water over, this removes the sting.allow them to sit for about 30 seconds then drain, cool slightly and discard any stems.
 Clean all leaves by soaking in salted water and then under running cold water.
Roughly chop all leaves and set aside.
daisy flowers are edible and can be used for garnish or in a salad, as can the flowers of chives which are easily grown in a pot at home.

Ingredients for Soup

250 grms of leaves prepared as above
50grms butter
350grms potatoes, peeled and chopped
100grms onion chopped
100grms leeks chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 litre of good quality stock or water
125 ml cream or full fat milk

melt the butter in a large saucepan, ideally one with a tight fitting lid, over a medium heat.
add the onions & Leeks and toss them in the melted butter until well coated
season well, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes
until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.
add the chopped potatoes, cook for one minute,add the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender
Add the chopped ,prepared leaves and simmer uncovered for just a few minutes more.
Be carefull not to overcook at this point as the veg will lose their colour and flavour
Liquidize the soup, then add the cream or milk if using but check the consistency of the soup first, you may not like a thin soup!

These are ones I made at home.
100ml (31/2 fluid ozs)Olive Oil ( I used a seaweed oil)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic ,finely chopped
1/2 baguette
Bluebell falls Goats Cheese
preheat the oven to220C,425 F, gas mark 4
Season the oil with the salt & pepper
cut the baguette into thin slices at an angle
toss the slices in the oil
place them on a baking tray, cook for about 5 mins until a pale golden colour
Allow to cool and they will keep for up to a week in an airtight container ( mine didn't last 2 days )
Spread some goats cheese on each slice, place under grill or in a hot oven until slightly melted
 The soup can be frozen in single servings, before adding the cream  or milk
I find nowadays I like to have a cook- in evening preparing a number of meals and have a meal ready to defrost in minutes when I want it.


Aisling White said…
I’m going to have to try to make that soup- both Jack & Heidi are fascinated with it and the fact you can eat nettles!
Those crostinis look amazing, definitely going to give them a go!
Aisling x
Peggy said…
Its more a Spring soup, as most of those greens are toughening up now, and they are all growing on the bank outside my front door!!!

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