HERB RECIPES

Gar­den­ing ex­pert and TV per­son­al­ity Ju­dith Hann, who left her life in the Lon­don me­dia to es­cape to the Cotswolds, weaves to­gether de­li­cious, imag­i­na­tive and sea­sonal herb-en­hanced recipes in her lat­est book. In our first ex­tract here, she shows how herbs

Cotswold Life - - NEWS -

Imake a lot of pre­serves: for my­self, to give as presents and to sell for char­ity. We have a mixed or­chard and a lot of soft fruit, so it is a vi­tal way to con­serve any of the har­vest that I can­not give away! Dur­ing the win­ter months we en­joy the tastes of sum­mer and au­tumn through pre­serves, which give some­thing ex­tra to our food.

There are a few rules to fol­low. Home­made pre­serves are of­ten made with vine­gar, so are less sus­cep­ti­ble to bac­te­rial in­fec­tions like bot­u­lism. But al­ways use ster­il­ized jars: wash, rinse, then put up­side down in an oven heated to 110°C/225°F/GAS ½ for 30 min­utes, and fill and seal while still hot. If the jar lids are old, line them with parch­ment pa­per. Choose good-qual­ity, un­blem­ished fruit and veg­eta­bles.

AP­PLE AND HERB JELLY

When the ap­ple trees in our or­chard are groan­ing un­der the weight of their fruits, I make jars of ap­ple and herb jelly us­ing a va­ri­ety of herbs, in­clud­ing mint, sage, tar­ragon, mar­jo­ram, laven­der, rose­mary, le­mon thyme, scented gera­ni­ums, rose petals and also a few jars spiced with chilli, pep­per­corns and bay. The ap­ples can be wind­falls, crab ap­ples, cook­ers or sharp eat­ing ap­ples. The mint jelly is good with lamb and I of­ten glaze the meat with it be­fore cook­ing. The sage jelly is used in the same way with pork, while chilli jelly is par­tic­u­larly use­ful as a glaze.

2kg/4lb 8oz ap­ples, washed, peeled, cored and quar­tered

juice of 2 lemons gran­u­lated sugar (see method)

2 hand­fuls of your cho­sen herb, plus ex­tra for iden­ti­fy­ing the jelly in the jar

Cook the ap­ples in the le­mon juice and 1.2litres/40fl oz/ 5 cups of wa­ter for 30 min­utes un­til re­duced to a pulp. Put the pulp into a jelly bag and leave to drip overnight. Mea­sure the juice into a pan and add 450g/1lb sugar and 2 hand­fuls of the herb for each 500ml/17fl oz/gen­er­ous 2 cups juice. Stir over a gen­tle heat un­til the sugar dis­solves, then boil hard for about 10 min­utes. Skim, sieve to re­move the cooked herbs, then pour into the ster­il­ized jars (see above) and add a sprig of herb or 1 tbsp chopped herb to each jar.

Makes about 900g/2lb Prepa­ra­tion: 50 mins, plus overnight drain­ing Cook­ing : 45 mins

POACHED PLUM AND LE­MON VERBENA SAUCE

This is a marvel­lous lemony plum sauce, which can be used with pud­dings or made into a savoury, fruit sauce for dishes like pork or roast duck.

400g/14oz plums, pit­ted

1 large sprig of le­mon verbena (about 40 leaves) about 175g/6oz/1 cup sugar, to taste (you shouldn’t need to add more than this)

Put the plums in a saucepan with a tiny splash of wa­ter – just enough to stop them stick­ing. Add the le­mon verbena and sugar and sim­mer the plums un­til they are break­ing down. This might take up to about 30 min­utes, de­pend­ing on how ripe they are. Sieve to leave a smooth sauce and trans­fer to a ster­il­ized jar whilst still warm.

Makes about 500g/1lb 2oz Prepa­ra­tion: 15 mins Cook­ing : 30 mins

Taken from Herbs: De­li­cious Recipes and Grow­ing Tips to Trans­form Your Food by Ju­dith Hann © Nour­ish Books 2017, com­mis­sioned pho­tog­ra­phy by Tamin Jones. £20.

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