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Nettle soup

The hedgerows are beginning to flourish, and food is gradually becoming more abundant. Nettles are amongst the first to close the Hungry Gap and this recipe is perfect for making use of fresh, nutritious nettles!


  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh if you have it)
  • 3 spigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 handfuls of nettle tips (if making garnish save a few)
  • 160g baby spinach leaves
  • 1.5 litres of your chosen stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper (for the garnish which is optional)


  • Prepare the onion, carrot, celery and potato by either washing well or peeling, then roughly chop into bite size chunks. They will all be blended so no need to make them uniform. Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and add the vegetables, bay leaves and fresh thyme. Try to remove as many of the twiggy bits as you can from the thyme. If you love fresh thyme which is worlds apart from the pungent harsh dry stuff, as much as I do, go to our Kitchen Secrets tab on the website for a great little tip!
  • Stir the vegetables, coating them in the oil. Leave for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Allow the vegetables to catch a little caramelising them but don’t let them burn.
  • Throw in the nettles and spinach, stir well, and allow to wilt. Add the stock, of course homemade is stock is best, nutritious and you know exactly what has gone into it (see Kitchen Secrets) but so many of us do not have the time or the inclination to make our own stock, so buy one, but we all have the time to read the ingredients. Be discerning, choose the cleanest ingredient deck.
  • Pop a lid on the pot of soup and allow it to simmer for half an hour or until all the vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaves, blend with a hand blender, take care, it will be hot. Put it back on the hob and add the double cream, season to taste.

To make the garnish

  • Pre heat oven to 190C. Dry the nettle leaves. Spread the nettles and pumpkin seeds onto baking tray and lightly coat with olive oil. Sprinkle some sea salt over them.
  • Roast in oven for 5 minutes or until crisp.
  • Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, float a tablespoon of double cream, add the crisp nettles and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the soup. I also drizzled a little saffron to make it even more beautiful, but you don’t have to do this.

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