- It is time now to take care of your large flowering Chrysanthemums. Take them into the greenhouse. Remember is is important to avoid cold draughts. On of the dangers of this time of time of year is the foliage could be affected with mildew. Just watch for it and deal with it by using fresh cow’s milk diluted with water to a 10% solution. Just spray it on.
- In the garden you must always think; where do you want to be in ten weeks time. So if you want flowers in the spring, then plant bulbs now it is not too late.
- Cooking With Herbs
Herbs are an essential ingredient in cooking to add flavor as well as a garnish. Many top chefs recognize the importance of fresh herbs in their dishes to the extent of having their own herb gardens from which they can grow and pick only the freshest and best herbs for their cooking. Every country has it's favorite herb that is used extensively in their cooking and often becomes synonymous with that style and flavors of that country. For example Basil is recognized for Italian dishes while Coriander is often used in Indian dishes. Here are a few examples of how cooking with herbs can give dishes their unique flavors.
Basil is a versatile and widely used aromatic herb. There are many varieties of basil; some have scents reminiscent of pineapple, lemon, cinnamon or cloves. In Mediterranean regions, basil and tomato is a classic combination. However, one of the most popular uses of Basil is for making the classic Pesto sauce. This can be used on pasta dishes, fish or meat, pizza etc. It is an extremely versatile and easy to make sauce.
Recipe For Pesto.
125g pine nuts
125g parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
1 large bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
200ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
1. First toast the pine nuts by placing them in a dry frying pan on a medium heat until just browned.
2. Put the cheese, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and basil in a food processor and blend until all the ingredients come together in a smooth mixture. This should only take a few seconds.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Your pesto can be stored in a jar in the fridge for up to a week if not using straight away. Pesto can also be frozen for longer life by placing it in ice-cube trays and freeze.
Mint sauce is a thin savory sauce made from chopped mint, vinegar and sugar. It is traditionally served in England as an accompaniment to roast lamb.
25g/1oz fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
This sauce could not be any easier, but makes all the difference to a lamb dish.1.Place all the ingredients in a bowl together and leave to steep for 30 minutes to allow the mint flavor to develop.
For a finer sauce, put all the ingredients in a blender for a few seconds.
Parsley is a multi-purpose herb that no kitchen should be without. As it is so versatile it can be used not only as a garnish but for flavoring food and as a vegetable. There are two main varieties of parsley: curly leaf and flat leaf. Both can be used for the same purposes although flat leaf parsley has a slightly stronger flavor and tends to be favored more in Mediterranean cooking. One of the great easy dishes that uses parsley is Tabbouleh. This makes a great accompaniment to meat or fish dishes or as a stand alone salad.
25g/1oz bulgar wheat or packet of couscous
2 large, ripe vine tomatoes
large bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves only, washed, dried, finely chopped
small bunch fresh mint leaves, washed, dried, finely chopped
1 small red onion, peeled, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
1.Place the bulgar wheat or couscous into a mixing bowl and either follow the packet instructions or cover with 50ml/2fl oz of boiling water. Stir, then set aside covered in cling film for 20 minutes, or until the bulgar wheat has absorbed all of the water. You can always add a little more water if it is too dry.
2. Skin the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain, peel and discard the seeds. Cut into quarters and place in a serving bowl.
3. Add the mint, onion and parsley to the tomatoes and mix well until combined.
4..When the bulgar wheat has absorbed all of the water, remove cling film and fluff it up with a fork until the grains are separated. Add the bulgar wheat to the tomato mixture.
5..Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil and add the salt flakes to taste. Coat all the ingredients well in the liquid.
This is delicious served with hot crusty bread or flatbread.