Sunday, 13 April 2008


Had our first "harvest" yesterday -- if you can call it that -- rhubarb and nettles! I'd been meaning to do something with nettles for ages (well, like, since last year) but just never got around to it and I suppose I was vaguely afraid. (And my fingers are still stinging this morning which is making typing this post slightly uncomfortable!)

First I picked a bunch (about half a carrier bag full) and just washed them and then tossed them in a pan with some butter until they wilted -- like spinach. They require more butter than spinach or kale, but I can tell you that when they are cooked they don't sting any more and they are quite tasty!

Then I got a bit more ambitious and I made a quiche -- and I am particularly proud of this quiche as I know where almost all of the ingredients in it come from...

Butter -- from an organic dairy cooperative about 35 miles from here
Rapeseed Oil -- from a farm in the Cotswolds, about 150 miles from here -- if anybody knows of anybody in Wales making oil, please let me know!
Onions -- from the Coop supermarket in town, but they are organic and according to the label, were grown in Cambridgeshire, about 230 miles from here -- we have got onions starting in the greenhouse now, so I should have my own next year! :)
Garlic -- grown here last year
Nettles -- picked from the patch growing on the edge of the driveway
Cheddar -- Welsh cheese, made about 100 miles from here yn y Gogledd
Teifi with Nettles -- Welsh cheese, made about 25 miles from here
Wholemeal Flour -- stone ground at a mill in Powys, about 70 miles away
Eggs -- from the hens
Milk -- from the farm next door
Mustard Powder -- but it did occur to me the other day when buying some prepared mustard that really I should just grow mustard and harvest the seeds and make my own -- so it's on my list of things to plant this week
Worcestershire Sauce
Tabasco Sauce -- I have been using this same bottle of Tabasco sauce for so long now -- I think I brought it with me from America -- which would make it the item in the quiche with the most food miles!
Paprika -- purchased (locally) by Greg's parents when they were on holiday in Hungary...

I also picked some rhubarb which I soaked in water with a couple spoonfuls of bicarbonate of soda before cooking -- this takes away a lot of the acidity and I only needed to use one spoonful of honey to sweeten this whole batch!

We also opened a bottle of the rhubarb wine I made ages ago -- and it is quite drinkable!

In other wine news, this is a bottle of pear wine that I started back in the summer. I racked it about a month ago and it was quite tasty at that point, so I think I am just waiting for it to clear. But how clear is clear? Can I bottle this yet?

We put the little lamb back up the field with the rest of the flock yesterday morning and are now (with a bit of difficulty) bottle feeding him up there -- it's nice to see them all back together again...

Left to right: 2nd ewe lamb, bottle fed lamb, 1st ewe lamb, pink nosed lamb. There is one more ewe who hasn't lambed yet -- she's got until 28th April, but she's not showing any signs yet.


John Ife said...

What do you mean, "she's got until 28th April"? Is it a case of "deliver or die"?

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

No, no, I just mean that the period of gestation is 147 days, and the last day the ram was with the ewes was 4 December, which means the last day she might have a lamb is 28 April...

Esneider said...

Hey Jessica we use nettles at the restaurant a lot. We get them from farmers upstate. I use plastic gloves to handle them though I have learned that for some reason I am not as affected by them as other people. Mostly we make pies and quiches as well with them. I also think that American nettles don't seem to sting as much as the ones in whales...

The Birdwatcher said...

Excellent stuff. The nettles look very tempting. Your inspiring me to start making my own bread again.

elizabethm said...

I've been wondering about nettles too (we have loads up here) so might take the plunge and have a go. Great looking quiche too.