I popped out of the Kitchen once again, on a balmy July evening, to listen to award-winning herb grower and florist Rachel Petheram speak at the School of Artisan Food on the best way to care for and propagate kitchen garden herbs. This year I have in my garden, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Marjoram, French tarragon, Lemon Thyme, Thyme, Catmint, Sorrel and Sage and something which tastes wonderful but I can’t remember what it is. You can’t beat cooking with fresh herbs, can you?
Rachel talked us through the medicinal properties of many of these herbs and showed us the compact herb garden at the rear of the School’s kitchen. In the middle of this little herb patch was a huge Lovage plant. I had no idea they grew so tall! Someone in the group suggested a little lovage would go a long way in a Bloody Mary. This I must try.
Rachel is an engaging speaker and clearly very enthusiastic about her herbs, many of which she uses in floral arrangements and wedding bouquets. What a wonderful idea! She has inspired me to look after my herbs better. It must be said, I plant them, eat them and pretty much neglect them. Now I know I should be cutting them back, stroking and tickling them (I not joking!) to encourage Thigmomorphogensis (airflow to you and I) and feeding them with a “cannibalistic” tea made from steeping their own trimmings for 3 days. This brew is already cooking nicely on my decking (with a few pea pods thrown in for good measure).
We rounded the evening off with some lovely herb breads baked at the School and once home, I topped my evening with large mug of hot Lemon Balm tea, which is supposed to relax you (hence the name, of course). I cut the Balm in the (almost) dark around 10pm, I didn’t realise how many tiny bugs were on the leaves till I came to empty the leftovers this morning. A lesson in remembering to wash your leaves carefully before making tea!