Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Freshly cut herbs

Most of my front garden is dedicated to herbs, which is quite a contrast to my next door neighbour's garden which is mostly dedicated to gravel, dotted sporadically with dandelions and thistles. I like my herb garden so was somewhat surprised the other morning when my neighbour knocked on the door to ask me if I could cut back the herbs that were overhanging her garden. Of course I said I would and later went out to see what she was fussing about. Yes, the herbs were definitely overhanging but in what I would consider an attractive way. Nonetheless, I was obliged to meet her wishes and cut them back.

Funnily enough I had also noticed this week that the postman was now taking a slightly different route to my front door. The reason for this became clear when I stood on my doorstep this afternoon and looked up my normal pathway - now almost completely closed up by herbs on either side - quite pleasant to walk down on a warm day but less so in the wet. Clearly, the herbs were getting out of control. With this in mind, I bought pack of sausagement and a few more onions; if I had to cut them back then I wanted to make use of what I could.

After school I said to my girls that I was going to trim back the herbs in the front garden and I would really appreciate their help and if not help, then company. Then, armed with shears, I nipped around the my neighbour's garden a began snipping. I was soon joined by my girls and my eldest got stuck in to scooping up the cuttings and loading them into the wheelbarrow. My youngest plonked herself down on the gravel and began playing. After several minutes my eldest said to her sister, "Are you going to help?" to which she replied, "I'm company." That made me chuckle.

They continued to help and provide company for the next hour as we trimmed back both the overhang into the neighbour's garden and the footpath. It was quite a heap of herbs in the wheelbarrow by the time we had finished but I also had several bundles for the kitchen. We were just finishing the sweeping up when my husband arrived and as he wheeled the lot around to the compost bins, I took the saved herbs indoors to sort them out.

My first job was to put the lavender flowers into a pot as a lovely centrepiece of the table. It both looked and smelt gorgeous. I didn't add any water to the pot and so over the next few days the flowers will slowly dry out and become preserved dried flowers, retaining most of their lovely colour and fragrance.

Next, I chopped up the sage and mixed it with finely chopped onion, breadcrumbs, sausagement and a bit of salt and pepper to make stuffing. This I placed in the freezer in handy portions. Tomorrow I shall use some of the rosemary to make herb mustard - this is lovely smeared on lamb before grilling or roasting it. Later, a couple of sprigs of savory went into the pan with the freshly picked broad beans we had with dinner.

Herbs are growing rapidly at this time of year so should you find yourself in need of trimming some back, enjoy the cuttings in the kitchen.

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