This soup is a great favourite in the spring when the nettles are young. Nettles are full of minerals and vitamins which purify the blood. In the country, nettle tea was also drunk, made by pouring boiling water over chopped nettles, boiling for about 15 minutes, then straining and adding milk and sugar. This was often given to children who had measles. It is said to have been a favourite of St Columcille. Nettle soup is still served in some hotels in Ireland; this recipe is from Declan Ryan, who was chef-proprietor of the much-starred Arbutus Lodge, Cork - sadly no longer in existence. Use gloves and a scissors when cutting the nettles. Do not gather them from sprayed verges or after the end of May as they will be too tough.
These little parcels certainly know how to make an entrance. When you serve them, make sure you get your guests to open the parcels themselves, to reveal the steaming mackerel inside. You can use this method with any fish; it’s nice served with a little rice.
From: Kitchen Hero: HomeCooked
My home town of Howth is famous throughout Ireland for its fish. Along the west pier there are plenty of fishmongers to choose some of the freshest fish for supper. This wonderfully creamy seafood chowder always reminds me of home and with a few slices of brown bread with Irish salted butter, I'm there in an instant.