Monday, 26 May 2008

My Herb Garden

I took a few photos of my herbs in the garden this evening before they completely make a meal for the slugs. I am afraid my basil has already been their breakfast, dinner and tea, thus I have no photos of it. Must remember to buy another in the supermarket tomorrow and spread a good portion of snail corns on the earth.


Parsley: probably one of the most well known. I usually buy the plant - have tried growing it from seed, but it is a tedious work, takes at least 3 weeks until they start growing and then they only grow slowly. I think it was the only herb my mum every grew and she used it for the sauce when she cooked eels. A sort of delicacy in the East End of London, buying live eels in the market, chopping them up and cooking them in water flavoured with all sorts. My mum always sprinkled parsley on the eels afterwards. Yes, I like eels, although a taste from the past - Switzerland has no coast line, so no eels. I generally use parsley for a sprinkle on the cauliflour or in the salad sauce.


Chives: One of my favourites. If you like a slight oniony taste then go for it. Just cut of the stalks and cut finely with scissors into your salad sauce or sprinkle it over the potatoes. Just keep cutting it to encourage it growing again and don't let it flower. It has beautiful flowers and worth cutting for in a vase, but then the stalks get a bit tough afterwards. One of the few you can leave throughout the Winter and it grows again in Spring if the frost does not get to it.


Sage: I like to cut the leaves of the sage, let it simmer a bit in melted butter on the heat and have the butter sage sauce with paste like tortellini, nudels or even spaghetti. Of course with a roast together with other herbs it is perfect. Just cut off a stalk somewhere - it will grow back again, but don't forget to hold it under running water. Aphids love to sit on the stalks and leaves enjoying the taste.


Thyme: I am a bit careful with that one otherwise everything smells of tyme, but in a bouquet garni tied together with other herbs it adds to the fine flavour. If I bake tomatoes in the oven I usuall just cut a complete tomato across the top and put a sprig of thyme and a leaf of sage in it to add to the flavour.

Wild Marjory, Origano

Wild Marjory or Origano: I am not sure what to call this one but I believe it is one and the same thing. I bought the plant some years ago as Origano, but it is a marjory sort of thing. It is one of those that take over in the garden if you don't cut it back now an again or give it to the neighbours. My neighbour also now has a garden full, so she is giving it to her friends and relations. Of course the main ingredient when making a spaghetti sauce, but a bit disappointing. It just does not have the strong taste that the bought origano has and you should really only add it to the sauce towards the end of the cooking time. I just let is grow, it just seems to belong.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm: At least that is what the dictionary said. I really only know the names of these herbs in the German language through usage over the years, but it does have a distinct lemon taste and when the leaves are small they are very good chopped up in the salad sauce again. I have never actually cooked with it, but there are recipes which use it. It is another plant that likes to take some space over in the garden, but can easily be kept under control. The fresh green leaves in Spring are the best.


Rosemary: Just as I thought I had them all I discovered this one. It is my rosemary which usually does die off during the Winter, but thanks to a nice warm cover I put over it in Winter, it is now 3 years old and does flower now and again. I like to use rosemary with chicken or lamb, just cut a twig off and stick it in the meat. Or with other herbs in a bouquet garni.


Spearmint: I found this little remainder in a corner. I did have a lot of ordinary mint in the garden once, but really had to rip it out as it would have taken everything over, although a twig of mint in hot water in a glass with some sugar does made a nice peppermint tea, or it is handy for the mint sauce to go with the leg of lamb. This is spearmint and if you taste or smell it you think you really have some chewing gum in your hands. The leaves are more round the the usually pointed mint leaves.

So that was what I found growing this evening in the garden. No, I am not a super cook and am glad when everyone eats what I cook. I just like playing around with herbs a bit - perhaps my ancestors were witches in the middle ages?


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