If plants were people I would have been locked up many years ago for murder. I have tried many times to grow my own herbs and vegetables but every time I touch a plant it dies, that’s why it’s time to act fast before history repeats its self.
I have been trying to grow my own herbs for a few years now and I’ve tried it all. I’ve bought seeds and planted them; they grew a little and died. I’ve tried already planted herbs from garden centers; they grew a little and died. I’ve tried growing the herbs from a supermarket that you use and then replant and guess what? They died.
So when I was offered some basil & mint plants from a friend I was a little apprehensive as I knew what will happen to them. I’d end up killing them. So much to my surprise 4 weeks later they are still alive and my first harvest is ready to pick (once I’ve got passed the slugs)
In a past post (
shameless plug for another post) I commented on how salt is a big factor in changing the taste between home cooking and restaurant style food. I would also add to that home cooks do not use enough herbs.
You find the recipe you want to cook for your dinner and it’s time to hit the shops. Meat – check, Vegetables – check, Wine – of course 2 bottles, Dessert – chocolate of course, 10 different types of herbs at £1 a pack – of course not.
Who in their right mind is going to spend £10 on herbs? not me (I’d rather spend that on gin, but that’s another story). So this is where the dish starts to fall down. You might get the look of the dish, the feel of the dish but the taste just won’t be there.
So should we all be out in our gardens tendering to our allotments or ripping up the local train tracks to make raised beds? No, we just all need to know what herbs to use and when.
Thyme – I use this when I roast almost anything. Meat, potatoes and vegetables
Rosemary – Again great with roasted meats (especially lamb), potatoes & vegetables.
Sage – Pork & butternut squash go great with sage.
Coriander – Anything with spice, Indian, Chinese & Thai.
Flat Parsley – Good for garnishing your food and in mash potatoes.
Tarragon – Chicken or new potatoes.
Basil – Any type of Italian food.
Mint – Lamb dishes, dessert, salads & mojito.
So what have I made with my first harvest of basil & mint? Pesto. Pesto is a simple dish but like many other simple dishes people either complicate it or mess it up.
1/2 Bunch mint
1/2 Bunch basil
2 Cloves of garlic
50g Parmesan (vegetarian option if you want vegetarian pesto)
150ml Olive oil
Blend all in a food processor and hey pesto it’s ready.
Jazzed Up Method
Place garlic in olive oil and warm up in a pan. Allow to cool and set aside. Place pine-nuts in a dry frying pan and roast. Allow to cool and set aside. Place the herbs, Parmesan & pine-nuts in a blender. Remove garlic from oil and add to blender. Use the garlic infused olive oil to thin down the pesto to thickness you want.
Serve with just about anything.