I was invited by Jocelyn from Grow Eat Heal to an event last night, where I got to speak about my passion – herbs, and not only how to use them for food and medicine, but importantly, how to grow them in such a way…
Do you have a glut of tomatoes and zucchini in the garden? Tired of making relishes, sauces and jams? Try this wonderful soup! So quick and easy, dealing with kilograms of produce at a time - and even if you don't eat soup over the hot summer months, this freezes wonderfully for those cold autumn and winter days that are looming.
- 2kg Heirloom Tomatoes, roasted, skinned and de-seeded (I use a food mill)
- 1kg Zucchini, chopped
- 2 Onions, chopped
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Flour to thicken (if needed)
- Roast halved tomatoes in the oven until soft and juicy and skins are just starting to blister
- Fry chopped onion in a knob of butter and dash of olive oil in a soup pot until translucent.
- De-seed and skin and chop into onions
- Add chopped zucchini
- Add chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste
- Cook for half an hour until zucchini is soft
- Use a stick blender to make a smooth soup
- If your soup is not thick enough, you can add flour or corn flour to thicken it up a bit. Cook through.
- Serve with crusty bread and cheddar cheese
If you have never had lavender as a food herb before, I encourage you to give it a try! I love the slightly bitter floral taste it gives, especially to something sweet. While a few people cannot get over the fact that lavender is mostly used as a cosmetic or fragrance herb (making them feel like they are eating their grandmother's soap), the flower actually has a long history of being used as a culinary herb with old recipes of the famous French herb blend 'Herbes de Provence' calling for the inclusion of lavender blossoms.
The best culinary lavender to use, is English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Many cultivars of this species plant exist, many specifically created by the horticultural industry for long flower stalks, greater bloom time, specific colors, or deep fragrance. Personally I like the plain one most, but 'Grosso', 'Hidcote', and 'Lady' all do well too.
The other lavenders are not poisonous per se, and are all digestible, they have a bitterness and camphor-like taste that does not pair well with food. But in a pinch, if you don't have English lavender, my degree of use will be as follow: first Lavandins (Lavandula x intermedia), Allard's lavender (Lavandula x allardii), French lavender (Lavandula dentata) and then Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas). I don't think I'd ever go as far as to eat fern-leaf lavender (Lavandula multifida), so keep that one just for prettiness' sake.
- 1 3/4 cups white sugar
- 8 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 5 stalks lavender flowers fresh, or half a teaspoon dried blossoms
- Combine sugar and 1 cup water and lavender in a small saucepan and boil to dissolve. Leave to cool with the lavender flowers.
- After a couple of hours, remove the lavender stalks and strain the flowers.
- Add the lemon juice to the cooled syrup and the remaining water to taste.
- Keep in the refrigerator
- Enjoy ice cold on a hot summer's day
A culinary match made in heaven – butternut and feta and sage. Add in the nutty taste of burnt butter, and throw in some pasta, and you have a meal on your hands that would make any Italian Nonna proud!You can use any culinary sage…
It is undeniable – there’s an undercurrent rising in the soil, teasing seeds awake, nudging dormant perennial roots, and tickling growth buds on shrubs and trees. It’s the feeling of spring, and although the Lady herself (whether you name her Ēostre, Flora, Yarylo, Thallo, or…