This story isn’t about me. It is about Jam, and a patch of nettles.
When he was nine or so, Jam got the reputation for being a bit of a wild boy. A group of older boys in school wanted to show him who was boss, and so they attacked him, throwing him into a patch of nettles. Which would be fine if you were fully clothed, but English schoolboys had to wear those little shorts (and a little cap too) which meant that his legs were exposed, and quickly covered in painful welts. He went home, crying to his dad that it hurt and he was embarrassed and that he didn’t know how to get them back.
I think most parents nowadays would do their best to encourage their kids to take the route of moral superiority. But Jam’s dad had raised him doing martial arts, reading him gory ninja stories before bed every night. So he explained to him that the next time this happens, all he needs to do is pick the smallest one and kick the absolute crap out of him. It’ll scare the others so much that they won’t come near him again. But in the mean time, what he needed to do was to stalk the group, one by one, and beat them into oblivion.
So he did. He stalked each one of them, and beat them up, until he’d exacted revenge for their brutality. They tried to bully him one more time, surrounding him in the school playground. So he did exactly what he’d been taught- he picked the smallest one, and kicked him in the face so hard that his nose broke and bled everywhere.
The playground of Dane’s Hill school for boys was a safer place after that.
And all because of a little patch of nettles.
I didn’t know this story until I planted a patch of nettles in the back garden, and Jam was incredulous that I’d actually want them around. I guess if I’d been traumatised by them in my youth, I might feel the same way.
This recipe is super easy, if you have a blender of some kind. I have one of those hand-held stick blenders, and the bottom detaches and re-attaches to a miniature food processor. This thing is one of my favourite things in the entire world, and it’s really inexpensive. If not then you can use a food processor, blender, or even a knife to chop everything really fine. Just watch out for those nettles.
I made my own pasta- using a gluten free flour mix and my regular old pasta recipe. If you’re doing GF pasta, watch out- the dough dries really fast and it is difficult to come together. Instead of doing fettucini as originally planned, I ended up doing ‘random shapes at the thinnest this dough will go’. Which was still delicious, but not necessarily pretty.
2 cups nettle leaves
1 chunk gouda
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
juice and rind of 1/2 lemon
Put it all in a blender, and blend for about 15 seconds. Easy peasy :).