Just imagine you’re on the banks of the Danube when you make Trish Maccurrach’s fish soup. And make the most of British wild food with an easy nettle soup.
You can make your soups in a big kotlich pot or Dutch oven using a tripod over a campfire, but you can always adapt to whatever cooking method you prefer.
Riblja cobra (fish soup)
Our recipes are usually written for two (so that you can multiply as needed). Kotlich cooking, though, is really best for a crowd of friends or a family meal, so the recipes below serve up to six.
- Special seasoning – powdered sweet paprika, mild curry powder, chilli powder, chopped celeriac leaves and root (you could use lovage or celery salt too), mixed herbs and dill. If you want to cheat, Trish says you can find a ready-mixed seasoning in central European shops.
- First light your fire and set up the tripod. Put some oil in the Kotlich and place over the fire
- Fry onion in oil – 1 large onion per kilo of fish
- Add plenty of green peppers chopped
- Add a small amount of water to cover peppers and simmer for 5-10 minutes
- Add fish, around 250g per person, cut into joints and cover with water. Any fish is good, but traditionally it would be riverfish.
- Add 1-2 green peppers whole.
- Add plenty of tomatoes
- Cook slowly for 30-40 mins
- Half way through this process add your spice mix and, at the end, a good amount of sweet crushed pepper.
- If it’s not thick enough, thicken with cornflour.
Recommended reading for foragers and lovers of wild food
Don’t forget your camping spice tin
Make yourself a neat camping box of herbs and spices and you’ll never have to rummage in your kitchen bag again.
We all have our own essentials and favourites, so pick and mix to suit. Wholefoods Online is a great source of all kinds of herbs and spices and mixed blends in sensible quantities for refilling your camping kit and for home. Here’s what we always have:
- Curry powder
- Mixed herbs
- Chilli powder
- Chinese five spice
- Garam masala
- Whole spices – cardamom, star anise, cloves
- Smoked paprika
- Dried lime leaves
- Sesame seeds
Get all your herbs and spices together in one easy storage container and you can stop rummaging! Look for a metal tin or box like our transparent lid one and fill it with smaller spice tins. Or buy a readymade set.
The Indian masala dhaba are an option too, but you need to make sure the tin is airtight.
Nettle soup has a very subtle flavour. To keep the deep green colour, it’s important not to overcook it.
If you’re kotlich cooking at home, it’s nice to blend this soup till smooth. If you’re out in the wilds, then just chop up your ingredients very finely or use the hand-powered Zyliss processor.
- Gather your nettles with scissors and rubber gloves. Choose only the tops of young nettles. Pack them down until they fill a big mixing bowl.
- Put the Kotlich over the fire with some oil and gently fry 4 cloves of garlic, 2 medium onions and two chopped medium potatoes.
- When the onions are soft, cover with stock and simmer till the potatoes are tender. Stir regularly.
- Add the rinsed nettles, a couple of bay leaves and more liquid to cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes
- Remove from the heat, take out the bay leaves. Whizz till smooth (if you’re using a hand-blender)
- Decorate the bowls with a swirl of sour cream and flowers.