Friday, May 1, 2009

Nettles Abound!

The populace is concerned: The recession swings forth with reckless exuberance. Ireland has the gold in its grasp for the highest food prices in Europe and nobody seems to know why.
I think perhaps the problem starts with the corpulent leader of the nation, Mr Cowan, who takes home a snug salary larger than the president of the United States. Political theorists have never held to the naive belief of leadership by example.
There's also the embarrassing countenance of Madam Harney, his health minister— talk about an oxymoron. I don't know what they eat, but even a fleeting glance taken as they rattle and prattle on the television tells you that all's not well on the Emerald Isle.
Obviously they don't have to concern themselves with something as rudimentary as a personal food budget. But for those of us that do, and are tired of handing over our euro to the supermarket barons, I would like to offer a recipe—my sisters' version of nettle soup.
Nettles, which are still free for the taking, can be found almost anywhere on the island at any time of year. But it is the young ones plucked in the spring that are especially good.
Imagine, if suddenly, our concerned populace flatly refused to purchase the overpriced lettuce and spinach in the supermarket halls and instead scoured the fields and parks and river and canal banks, the back gardens and government gardens for tender spring nettles? Prices, along with Cowan and Harney, surely would plummet to more reasonable if not handsome levels.
And, because of its many health and economic benefits, I would like to extend the offer of my sisters' nettle soup recipe not only to the prime minister but also to his health minister. I would suggest they eat it twice a day every day for forty days to regain their sense of health, humility, good looks, vigor and leadership.

Catherine's Nettle Soup.

Toss some peeled diced potato and spring onion together with some melted butter in a pan to soften. Add a little parsley and/or some other fresh herbs. Using rubber gloves take the top tender leaves from freshly foraged nettles. Wash them with cold water. Add to the pan and steam them for a few minutes. Add water or stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and puree the lot.

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