April has come again and the weather here in Brighton is all over the place at the moment.
It's a time when so many of us get coughs and cold, and I finf myself with a tickly cough. I like to see it that my lungs are clearing out and preparing for the year ahead.
And I do love to do a spring clean of my home at this time of year, and it only seems natural to do the same for my body.
I like to take things gently and sweetly, and opt for soups and the occasional room-temperature diluted fresh-pressed juice to give my body what she is longing for.
Today I foraged some wild garlic, nettles, bayleaves and cleavers (the cleavers I made in to a raw juice).
A few Golden Rules for Foraging
Pick away from traffic, roadsides, and where dogs pee!
When foraging nettles, do so only in the spring time. Wear some gloves (I use rubber ones), and snip just the first couple of rows of nettle leaves from the top of the plant.
Don't pull up the wild garlic - just harvest the leaves, and try and pick a few leaves here and there rather than a whole plant. By leaving the bulbs in the ground and just a few leaves from each plant you are allowing the garlic to repopulate again, and if you don't there will be less next year for everyone to enjoy.
Always wash and soak x repeat your herbs when preparing them, for added purity.
I am going to combine the wild herbs with some organic sweet potato, carrot, celery, onions, garlic and watercress.
You'll notice I tend to cook in massive quantities, so just adjust to suit your requirements. In my opinion a soup can never be garlicy enough!
4 x sweet potatoes (peeled)
2 x carrots (peeled)
4 cloves of garlic
2 x onions (chopped)
10 x bayleaves
A large bunch of nettles
A large bunch of wild garlic
A large bunch of watercress
1) Pour 3 litres of water in to a large pan and bring to the boil.
2) Add the sweet potato, carrot, onions, ordinary garlic and bayleaves and return to the boil. Then cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes.
TOP TIP! Count how many bayleaves you are putting in so you can be sure to count them out some the end of cooking time. This way you will avoid liquidising any bayleaves at the final part of the process.
3) Next add your nettles (handle with gloves) and celery and cook for another 15 minutes.
4) Finally add your wild garlic and watercress and turn off the hob, to allow them to cook in the heat of the soup and preserve all their goodness.
5) Season with some salt and pepper and cumin if you like it ;)
After it has cooled, remove the bayleaves and you can then liquidise.
Serve with some cashew, lemon and cucumber dip