All posts tagged: garden

Gorgeous Gooseberries, pucker up!

Gooseberries always remind me of summer, and not always in a good way – as a very young child I always associated them with prickled fingers and face-pukeringly sour berries, but once¬† baked in an old-fashioned crumble, with lots of custard, they were, and still are, a joy. My father still grows tonnes of them in his garden in Lincolnshire and so I returned home from a lovely traditional Sunday Lunch at my parents’ house, last weekend with a huge bag of gooseberries and what seems like thousands of redcurrants (more of them later).So what else to do but make jam. This summer the weather has been so glorious, with sun and rain in equal amounts, the gooseberries are actually sweet. Yep, you can actually eat them raw without the inside of your mouth losing all sensation. So if yours are the same, I suggest you reduce the sugar quantity a little in this recipe. Well, I call it a recipe, more of a process really – fruit, sugar, lemon juice,water, heat. That pretty much …

Proper Mushy Peas with Mint Sauce – a Nottinghamshire delicacy. Yes, really!

Mushy Peas are eaten across most of the UK –¬† the only proper accompaniment to Fish and Chips. But let’s be honest, Nottingham owns the mushy pea. Mushy Peas with mint sauce are as Nottingham as the 700 year old Goose Fair that returns every October (and peas are eaten there still, and in some quantities) and they are eaten as a perfectly acceptable stand-alone snack, Fish and Chips are one thing, but a pot of steaming mushy peas with mint sauce on a cold winter’s day is a small joy unparalleled. The Victoria Market still has a stall (or it least it did until recently) that sold just that – a delicious tub of peas and mint with a plastic (used to be wooden) spoon to eat them with. To love this is to know Nottingham, once of you’ve got this, “aye up mi duck” as a friendly greeting, will not be long behind. Now, I know it is the height of summer (and what a fabulous summer it is so far) but I …

A Lovely Talk on Herbs by Rachel Petheram, but remember to wash your Lemon Balm first..

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 …

Fresh Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea – from a Nottinghamshire Garden

The heat, sun and rain has meant that my herbs this year are the most verdant and healthy I have seen for years. The pots are positively overflowing with greenery. What better use to put them to then, that a herb tea. I am not a fan of commercial fruity “infusions”, it’s got to be said, always prefer a good cup of “builder’s tea” to be honest, but on the hottest day of the year, this fresh and simple tea, hit the spot just right. And, what a pretty colour! Lemon Verbena has the most amazing flavour of Lemon (I know,what a surprise eh?) but truly, it is an arrestingly strong scent that can flavour teas, recipes, ice-cream, sorbets, vodka (going ty try that) and even flower arrangements. Easy to grow in a pot (it doesn’t like the cold and damp though), it is a native of South America brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 17th Century. It was traditonally said to aid sleep and, more recently, considered a great anti-oxidant. Recipe Large …