Nettle soup and fish soup – made in a campfire kotlich

kotlich cooking on the river sideJust 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 using a tripod over a campfire, but you can always adapt to whatever cooking method you prefer. You can find out more about Trish and kotlich cooking here.

(Latest update: July 2019)

Riblja cobra (fish soup)

kotlich stew

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 rivernettle soup fish.
  • 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.

Don’t forget your own travelling pantry of spices

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, but here’s what we always have:

  • Curry powder
  • Mixed herbs
  • Chilli powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • 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 ours and fill it with smaller spice tins. The Indian masala dhaba are an option too, but you need one with lids rather than open bowls.

Nettle soup

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 and enjoy a more bitty, but still delicious, version.


  • 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.
  • nettle soup cookingWhen 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.

See our articles on campfire tripod cooking, on foraging in general and our recipes for wild garlic. Lots to read and ideas to inspire you!

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