Nourishing Nettle & Lemon cake – recipe – foraging

I’m posting this a little earlier than planned as I have had lots of requests from social media for it.

Nourishing Nettle and Lemon cake

Makes 1 loaf cake
2 cups nettles
200g butter
150g sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
zest & juice of half a lemon
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pick your nettles and ensure they are as young as possible and only the top 4 leaves are picked to avoid them being bitter.  
Obviously avoid where people walk their dogs or where vehicles pass! 
Pour boiling water over your nettles and boil for 2/3 minutes.  This loses their sting.
Drain and squeeze them out as much as you can.
Add the lemon juice and blitz with a hand blender, set aside.
Cream your butter and sugar, add eggs, zest, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt.
Incorporate the nettle puree and give it a good mix.
Pop it in to a cake liner/tin and bake for 30 or so minutes at around 180c, testing with a skewer to make sure it comes out clean.  
I had to cover with foil half way through as it browned a little more than I’d like
You can cover with frosting or a glaze, whatever takes your fancy.  I made a glaze of sugar and lemon juice for this one and it was very nice.
Enjoy 🙂

My little family and our new ways

Since we moved to the smallholding, life has changed.  We had a vision of the lifestyle we thought it would be.  A lot of that has come true which is simply amazing.  What we didn’t realise, is how we would change as people, nurturing our new way or life, our values, what’s truly important and what really just doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  We’ve been through some ups and downs as we figure this out, but it’s always worked out.  We have a strong family bond and the smallholding is developing that even further. 
So I thought I would share a couple of things that made me smile recently.
Ste made crispy cakes with rolo chocolates to finish them off.  I’m told the kids helped too 😉  They’ve been taken each day as packed lunch treats.
He’s also started making Sunday lunch for us.  I’m seriously jealous of how well these Yorkshire puddings turned out!!  He’s got a job for life there.

Ste and I collected nettles from the paddock recently and I made nettle soup!  This too is a first and despite my brain thinking otherwise, it was actually ok.  True, I wouldn’t choose it over butternut squash soup, but given its health benefits, I’ll happily eat it seasonally. 

It had a slight tinge of leek and potato – the recipe was from River Cottage website.

I moved on to nettle tea as I’ve read some excellent things about it’s medicinal values.  Only a small batch to start with.  I washed the nettles, boiled then simmered them for a few minutes and strained through a muslin cloth to get rid of the residue.
 It was very palatable!  I was shocked actually.  This is something I will turn back to, maybe drying nettles to allow for all year round availability.  Or can you use nettles any time of the year for tea? 
Grace is also finding her green fingers.  She has a natural curiosity with seeds and plants and enjoys sorting through the seed tray.  She asked me only just this morning if the rhubarb was ok as there’s a ‘big green thing’ growing in it.  I smiled and told her “hopefully”…after all, we’re all learning, so only time will tell! She’s sown some seeds for me too.
Jack likes to take his bike everywhere he goes on the smallholding.  Here he is, a dab hand at carrying a chicken feeder on his handle bars and taking it to get refilled at the feed station.

 Once the animals are fed, he collects the eggs, using any bucket he can lay his hands on to do so.  This one being an empty horse supplement bucket that Jill uses who keeps her horse with us.  It’s a job he can do himself and I like the sense of achievement he gets from it.  Looks like he does too?

So even though some days are hard, most days bring a huge happiness to us all.  Steven and I both work full time as well as run the smallholding, so we like to make sure we step back and smell the roses every now and then, and enjoy what we’ve built up and how our lives are changing.  It’s truly amazing and I welcome every minute of it.