Nettle & Ricotta Cannelloni
Having never eaten nettles before - well lets face it, it doesn't sound appetising - I approached this recipe with trepidation. I used to buy a lovely spinach and ricotta cannelloni down at the supermarket and thought that as nettles were supposed to be a good substitue for spinach I would give it a go, especially with the surplus ricotta I had in the fridge after our cheese making episode.
Bizzarrely it tasted quite nice. The only thing that let it down was pre-bought gluten-free pasta sheets, which I have never used before and am unlikely to ever buy again. I also used equal quantities of ricotta and nettles to make the filling, on hindsight I should have used less nettles as they are much more strongly flavoured than spinach.
There are no weights or measures to this as it was an experiment, now I know it works I may weigh it all out next time I have a go at making it.
To make the cannelloni you will need pre-cooked lasagne/pasta sheets, tomato sauce, nettle & ricotta filling and some grated cheese to spinkle on the top.
Heat together passata, garlic, oregano and basil in a small sauce pan. Warm thoroughly without boiling.
Nettle & Ricotta Filling
Mix together equal quanities of cooked nettles and ricotta.
To Construct The Cannelloni
Posted by OneProudMomma at Saturday, July 31, 2010 6:11 AM
A Glut Of... Gooseberries - Seedless Gooseberry Jam / Jelly
My gooseberry originally started off as a 99p twig from Aldi a few years ago. I now have 2 plants the size of the one above, plus 2 more twigs which have self set themselves this year. I can see in a couple of years time I will be the Queen of Gooseberry Recipes! The gooseberries on the bush above are not ripe yet, they turn from green to a lovely ruby red colour when they are ripe.
I'd picked a colander full of gooseberries one day with the intention of making some muffins or gooseberry fool, but time got the better of me and I needed to do something quickly. As my daughter loves gooseberries but doesn't like seeds in her jam I decided to make a seedless jam, or a jelly as it is called sometimes. As I was in a hurry I didn't get too many photographs taken, unfortunately, but the experiment worked and my daughter rated the result as "the best jam in the world", so I figure it must be worth sharing!
To start with I put the washed gooseberries in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and cooked them for around 10 minutes, stirring occassionally to make sure they didn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once they were cooked I strained them through a muslin lined colander to make sure I got all the pulp and juice without the seeds and other bits. (A similar method to when making ricotta cheese)
When you have all the pulp, weigh it. Place an equal weight of sugar in the pan with the pulp, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and stir.
Bring the fruit/sugar mixture to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, carefully skimming away any foam.
Get your warmed prepared jars at the ready and pour the jelly into them. Place your wax disk on top and seal them after they have had a chance to cool for a few minutes.
This makes a runny jam, which we keep in the fridge. If you want to set the jam so it is firm you will need to add pectin, or use jam sugar which already has the pectin in it.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Thursday, July 29, 2010 7:01 AM
The war on weeds
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:38 PM
Evening Primrose Flowers
You see a lot of Evening Primrose Oil products in the shops, mainly in the form of oil capsules and cosmetics, but Evening Primrose itself is a very easy plant to grow yourself. The oil is extracted from the seeds, however it is not really practical to press your own seeds as you would needs millions of them to produce a small amount of oil. I was fortunate enough to have Evening Primrose introduce itself to my garden after a couple of summers of neglect.
The photo at the top of the page shows the plant during its second year of growth, the year in which it flowers. During the first year of growth the elongated leaves form a rosette close to the ground, it is only during the second year that the flower stalk shoots up.
Even though it is impractical to produce your own oil from home grown Evening Primrose, you can still take advantage of some of the health benefits. The ripened seeds can be collected in the Autumn and once cracked (to help release the oil) can be used sprinkled on bread or used in baking in the same way that you would use poppy seeds. Save some of the seeds and sow them for more flowers in a couple of years time, although if you sow the seeds in the autumn indoors you will have first years plants ready to plant out in the Spring, basically saving you a years growing time.
The flowers, shown above, are edible and taste quite sweet. They can be used to decorate a leafy salad and would look very impressive if teamed up with peppery nasturtium flowers around the top of a summer salad bowl. You need to harvest them first thing in the morning, as Evening Primrose flowers at night and the blooms die off the following day.
The leaves from both the first and second year plants are edible, they are quite pungent in taste and also hairy which may be off putting for some. They can be eaten raw or cooked.
The roots are also edible, although I have read on one website that you should only eat the root from the first year plant it did not go into an explanation as to why that was the case. Other websites I have read about Evening Primrose on have stated that you eat the root from the second year plant. The one thing that these sites do agree on is that the root of the Evening Primrose can be used just the same as a regular root vegetable. Apparently the first year root tastes peppery, whilst the second year root tastes like sweetened parsnips. As I like the sound of the second flavour I'm intending to harvest the root on my Evening Primrose after it has finished blooming!
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 20, 2010 9:47 AM