Herb-based recipes

In­tense and aro­matic or soft and sub­tle, fresh herbs are an essen­tial in­gre­di­ent. Of­ten used as a gar­nish, here they are the stars of each dish

Country Living (UK) - - Contents - recipes and food styling by ali­son walker pho­to­graphs by clare win­field styling by wei tang

100g caster sugar 450ml clear ap­ple juice 4 large handfuls of lemon balm, plus ex­tra leaves to gar­nish 1 tart ap­ple, tossed in lemon juice

1 Place the sugar and ap­ple juice in a medium pan set over a low heat un­til the sugar is dis­solved. Bring to the boil, take off the heat and add three handfuls of lemon balm – crush the leaves in your hand first to re­lease their aroma. Leave to cool com­pletely.

2 Heat the oven to 140°C (120°C fan oven) gas mark 1. Cut the ap­ple into thin slices hor­i­zon­tally, prefer­ably us­ing a man­dolin. Ar­range on a bak­ing sheet lined with bak­ing parch­ment. Bake for 30-40 min­utes un­til crisp. Set aside.

3 Strain the ap­ple juice and dis­card the lemon balm. Pour the juice into a shal­low freez­er­proof con­tainer – the depth of the liq­uid should be no more than 2.5cm.

4 Freeze for an hour or so un­til ice crys­tals form at the sides (this de­pends on your freezer but the process will speed up as the ice starts to form). Scrape the crys­tals into the cen­tre with a fork. Re­turn to the freezer. 5 Re­peat ev­ery 30 min­utes or so un­til the mix­ture has a grainy frozen tex­ture. Just be­fore serv­ing, finely chop the re­main­ing lemon balm leaves and stir into the granita. Pile into in­di­vid­ual dishes and gar­nish each one with a few ap­ple crisps. The granita is best eaten on the day it is made.

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