With Autumn beginning to set in here in South Africa, the days are getting shorter and there is a definite nip in the air. In the Western Cape this also heralds the start of our rainy season and with that we find Stinging Nettles springing up all over. These are a real blessing as they contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals – so vital at this time of year for boosting our health. Once immersed in hot water the sting is neutralized and they are safe to use in cooking. DO NOT put them raw into salads tho’.

Hany tip:  If when handling then you get stung then take a piece of fresh bulbine (e.g. Bulbine frutescens) and rub the gel from the leaf over the area. It will stop the sting almost immediately!

Mini Rocket and Nettle Quiches: (makes 6)

For the Pastry base you will need:

100g flour plus 2 Tblsp Ground Linseeds

1 flat tsp whole linseeds

50g cold butter

1-3 Tblsp water (start with a little and add more if the dough is too stiff)

pinch salt

Whizz all together in a processor.

Use this pastry to line 6 small shallow ramekins. Prick bases. Set aside.

For the Filling you will need:

2 Large Eggs well beaten

150 – 200 ml Milk

1 piece / circle of plain or herbed Feta cheese

1 Handful of Rocket leaves chopped / 2 medium leaves of Japanese Red or green Mustard finely chopped / 10 good sized Nasturtium leaves

4 Tablespoons Nettles chopped,

1 large Spring onion

Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese – grated

Coarse salt and black pepper

What to do:

Gently sweat chopped herbs and onion in olive oil. Add to beaten eggs with milk and crumbed feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into pastry cases and sprinkle with grated cheese. Add a sprinkling of Paprika and bake at 200C for about 30 minutes or until set.

Serve with soup or a fresh salad.