Category Archives: herbs

Mint Marauding and Mooli Pods #gdnbloggers

There used to be a herb bed on the plot, only it is now full of mint. Mint truly is a thug, the cliché is true. Unchecked, it runs riot and takes over. With the unbalanced combination of rain and sun, the plot mint has grown quite a bit. This has meant mint marauding, chopping it back to harvest leaves. As you can see, the bouquets were nearly as big as me, and three large bundles of the stuff were harvested. I guess that you can never have too much mint! Having harvested it all and carried it home, Mama F and I spent a few hours at the dining table stripping the leaves so that it could all be frozen. There are several different varieties, with some smelling like spearmint and chocolate mint in there somewhere too. It would take a proper connoisseur to smell out the different mint varieties.

At the moment, I have vague plans to make mint jelly. Usually, the plot mint ends up in chutney; Mum can rest assured, there is tonnes still left for her to use.

The second half of the day focussed on Mum’s mooli pods. She had found that the radishes that she sown had bolted; as such, there were lots of seed pods.

pods1

These are actually edible, and different varieties of radish will produce seed pods of different potencies. For example, seed pods from Japanese radish have a peppery fiery-ness. In the image above, these are pods from an unknown red variety, and these were quite sweet to the taste.  As you can imagine, I was going a little dotty anyway, having plucked away all that mint. However, as Mum had helped me, I was going to help her. All We had harvested less than half of her entire bolted radish crop, yet we managed to fill three troughs of seed pods. How I did not see seedpods in my sleep, I do not know.

Mum plans to cook up the seed pods; the recipe is in sow grow eat!

Other than mint marauding, I was loitering with therapeutic intent as well. I’ve not een to the plot in a while, so have missed the blooms blossom. Shakespeare is well and truly kicking off, and the glads have finally kicked.  I have the standard, as expected six pears on the tree-it’s always six, no idea why-with tomatoes making slow but certain progress. I’m not holding my breath with the tomatoes; there will be a significantly smaller crop than expected, and no puddles of tomatoes like last year. There are fewer plants, and I don’t think the Roma variety will keep their place on the plot. Marmande appears to be the winner as per usual.  All three of the grapevines are burgeoning; lusciously leafy, there are clusters of grapes starting to swell. With raspberries creaking to an end, I was able to harvest a handful of plump ‘darrow’ blueberries. The other two varieties haven’t so much as sneezed this year, the one plant is turning copper and going to sleep.

 

P.S. yes, I know,  need allotment proof nail varnish.

 

 

Spot of Easter minted/fenugreek lamb

Traditionally, we have had a lamb roast dinner on Easter Sunday. The trend was bucked a little this year, as lamb in question was curried.

You can see the youtube version here.

The home grown element is the dried mint from the allotment. There was an abundance last year, and mum dried it so that she could use it in her kitchen. The fenugreek might be shop bought-we’ve finally run out of the home grown stuff, but plans are afoot to sow and grow more this year-but the mint is the genuine article. There a whole host of different varieties that Mum has collected, so that jar contains several different ones.

And here is Part two of the recipe.

Lamb does take time to cook, and everyone does have their own preferences. Slow cooking tenderises the otherwise quite tough meat and allows the flavours to become deeper.

 

 

Hey pesto: An experiment

The basil on the plot has been used a little bit; but could be used a little more. Whilst the pot is small, and needs to grow-I only bought it recently from urban herbs-there are a small amount of leaves that could be used to make an experimental amount of pesto.

I have never done this before.

The recipe that I have followed is from Jamie Oliver’s Pesto. Rather than use mum’s blender, I opted to use a pestle and mortar. Mainly as it wouldn’t involve too much washing up. However, this way felt a bit more traditional. The garlic and basil are from the plot, the rest of the ingredients are from shop. I have yet to grow a tree for pine nuts.

There was bit of huffing and puffing, in thinking that this might be a bit difficult. That the basil and garlic would need a bit of bashing; or pounding as the recipe directs. I wouldn’t call it pounding, and it wasn’t that hard. The garlic mashed up quite easily, I think the freshness contributed to that. As well as the freshness of the basil as well, it had been washed before hand. The pine nuts were toasted on mum’s tava-this implement is normally used to make her chappatis-and the pine nuts were dry toasted. I may have over toasted a few of them, but that actually added to the flavour.

I deliberately made a small amount; enough for a piece toast, I found.

The taste test?

Lovely. Perhaps less garlic, the recipe does actually stipulate less than I used. I was feeling enthusiastic. And more cheese. Will definitely try this again.

herbs on the plot @urban_herbs

A week ago, I went to BBC Gardeners World Live and I happened upon Urban Herbs you can find details here about them. My mum had sent me out to get some swiss mint for her. I didn’t find any, but I did find some Indian mint-to placate my mum-as well as some sweet basil, orange mint, bronze fennel and french tarrogan. The tarrogan and basi have been potted into the poly tunnel.

Ma has cooed over her Indian mint, so I think she has been mildly distracted by it.

Rosemary re-homing

Mum has rather successfully cultivated two epic sized rosemary bushes. And they were taking over the garden path. So armed with my fork, she dug them up. We then trundled down to the plot with them. Again, she took up a gardening spade and dug two holes to plug them in.

There was a lot rosemary fragrance wafting around.

#NABLOPOMO: Herb Planting on the plot

Did try to plant and cultivate herbs once before. But the plants were small, and I didn’t take perhaps the best care of them. So we are trying again. In the last week, Ma and I have planted rosemary, silver and common Thyme, oregano, spear mint and sage. Ma did try and dissuade me from not planting silver thyme as it looked sad compared to the common one. We have both.

At home, the Rosemary seems to thrive in the clay, so that is my rationale for sinking it on the plot. I don’t particularly mind i if any of the plants spread out, even with the mint. That at least means the ground is cultivated.