All posts tagged: Herbs

LohiKeitto – that’s Finnish for a traditional, creamy, buttery, indulgent Salmon Soup.

To me, the best soup ever. As summer turned to Autumn overnight last week, as school started and there was a distinct nip in the air, I needed something comforting to herald the new season. I used to live in Finland and this soup was taught to me by an elderly Finnish lady who grew up in Lapland in the very north of the country, where calories are properly necessary to keep out the cold. This has them in abundance but don’t let that put you off. Just promise yourself an extra long run next week.     Traditional Finnish Salmon Soup (and home-made bread) (as usual, my measurements are a guide only – add to taste) 200g onions, 800g waxy potatoes, 150g Butter, 2 litres of Fish Stock, 6dl of double cream (I acutally used a bit more than this, well quite a bit more, as I love it), sea salt, a tiny pinch of all-spice, 4/5 Bay leaves, depending on size, 500g skinless and boneless salmon, loads of Fresh Dill to taste Method Simmer …

“Bake me like one of your French Girls” – unctuous, sexy, Baked Camembert

Sexy, unctuous, indulgent, calorific loveliness… that is baked camembert. What’s not to love? Today, a simple supper of Baked Camembert and charred Ciabatta, with raw carrot and radish on the side, to cut through the richness and, of course, a large glass of Pinot. Heaven. One cheese was baked in my ceramic baker and the other in the small wooden box that it came in (minus the wrapping of course). There’s no real difference except that the hot ceramic pot keeps the cheese softer for longer, however, as we ate them so fast it wasn’t really an issue…. For the first cheese I sliced a cross in the top rind and pulled it back a little, pushed a couple of crushed cloves of garlic into the cheese and then poured in a large splash of white wine, I seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and a couple of sprigs of rosemary from the garden, On the other, crushed chilli peppers and black pepper, with rosemary (yes they are rosemary sprigs, not spiders, in the pictures). …

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 …

Tasty Little Tarts with Colston Bassett Stilton, Smoked Bacon and a smidgen of Sorrel

Sorrel is in abundance in my garden, in fact, all the herbs are so lush this year, the combination of rain, sun and warmth has worked its magic and the pots are overflowing. Sometimes known as “Spinach Dock”, Sorrel is an ancient herb native to this country, with a range of historic medicinal uses, but it is hard to find many recipes that embrace it. It is a sour herb, it is true, and probably a bit of an acquired taste, it should not be eaten to excess, and it is really only the small and tender green leaves that are digestable, once the red tinges appear on the leaves and stalks, it is time to admire if from afar. Sorrel is used in Eastern European and Russian kitchens much more frequently, here it seems a little neglected. With so much flourishing in my garden, I set about combining it with some smoked streaky bacon, and wonderful sharp and creamy Colston Bassett Stilton to create these tasty little tarts. The local fox has recently dispatched …