Nettle Soup

We love nettle soup and from about April you will find nettles at Greenhill. You can do a cut down version of this soup, which is equally delicious. You can miss out the leek, rice and yoghurt. I would use three for four cloves of garlic, but I love garlic.

Around 150g nettle tops (the tops are more tender but you can use the other leaves)
 30-35g knob of butter
1 onion, peeled chopped
1 large or 2 smallish leeks, trimmed, washed and finely sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp white rice, such as basmati
1 litre vegetable (or chicken) stock
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 heaped tbsp thick, plain yoghurt, to finish
1 small bunch chives, to finish

Pick over the nettles, wash them thoroughly and discard the tougher stalks. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-low heat, add the onion, leek, celery and garlic, cover and sweat gently for 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until soft but not brown. Add the rice and stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the nettles, stirring them into the stock as they wilt, and simmer for five minutes or so, until the rice and the nettles are tender (very young nettle tops will need only two to three minutes). Season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Purée the soup in two batches, reheat if necessary and check the seasoning. Serve in warmed bowls, topping each portion with a large dollop of yoghurt and a generous sprinkling of snipped chives.

Fougasse Recipe


500g (1lb 2oz) very strong bread flour

350ml (12 fl oz) luke warm water

10g (1 heaped tsp) yeast (fresh if possible) or 5g (½ level tsp) dry

6g (1 level tsp) sea salt

Makes 4 

Preheat wood burning oven in the Steading (follow the instructions). Rub the yeast into the flour (or mix in if using dried yeast). Add the remaining ingredients and the water. Mix for a couple of minutes until the dough starts to form. Transfer the dough onto your working surface. Continue to mix the ingredients by stretching out the dough and folding it over onto itself. Keep working the dough until it comes cleanly away from the work surface and is not sticky. Lightly flour the work surface, place the dough on the flour and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel. Rest the dough for a minimum of an hour. Turn out gently onto a well-floured surface. Be careful not to deflate it but expect it to spread out to cover a square of your work surface. Generously flour the top of the dough, cover with a clean tea towel and rest for five minutes. Using a plastic scraper (or a thin wooden spatula), divide the dough into two oblongs then cut each piece again into three roughly triangular strips. Make 1 large diagonal cut in each piece of dough, making sure you cut right through to the work surface but not through to the corners. Make 3 smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the central one. Gently open out the holes with your fingers and shake off the excess flour. Lift onto a lightly floured wooden paddle and slide into the hot the oven. Watch carefully. Rotate as necessary to get an even bake. It should only take about 5 minutes. Try varying the recipe by adding olives, herbs etc. Also coat the dough with oil before you put it into the oven this will give a good colour.

Pizza Recipe

The flour is critical to a successful pizza. I use Caputo Pizzeria flour, but you could use  "00" flour from your local supermarket.

The Dough (enough for 3 to 4 pizzas)

450grams of flour, 250grams of warm water, 10grams of salt, 2grams of fresh yeast

Dissolve the salt in the water then add the yeast and mix until it has dissolved also.Add the water solution to the flour. This should take about 5 minutes adding some at a time and mixing the water and flour with your hand. The final consistency should be quite sticky. Create a ball and leave it to rest for 5 minutes.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Then puch and push it out to rectangular piece of dough. Roll it up like a swiss roll and then turn it back on itself to form a ball. Rest it for 5 minutes and repeat three more times.

Divide the dough into three or four equal pieces. Four if you like thin pizzas. Create balls by folding the dough under itself. Place on a lightly floured tray (seal side down) and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for 4 to 8 hours. The dough should have doubled in size.

Push out each dough ball wiith your fingers by continually rotating the dough. Keep doing this by rotating and stretching the dough using the palm of your hand and fingers. I like the edge to be slightly thicker and this will happen naturally. You could roll it out to get it very thin and crispy. My eldest son says that he has witnessed this in Naples.

Put your pizza on to a lightly floured wooden paddle and then put on your toppings.

Place in very hot wood fired oven do not put it too close to the flames because it will burn in seconds. Place it about 150mm (6 inches) away. Rotate the pizza by about 90 degrees after 20 to 30 seconds using the metal paddle. Keep checking and rotating as necessary. It should take a total of about 90 seconds to cook. Enjoy!