Tasty Bites for April laziness – with the Herbs!
Spring is sprung and many people are out in the garden ‘doing stuff’! If, like me, you prefer being outside to being in the kitchen, then this is the month to bridge that gap between slow cooking of hot, warming, food and the ease of a quick BBQ! In Spring, I always go for tasty bites. Warm. But quick to make.
I am a great believer in not using supermarkets if you can, and instead supporting the amazing small food businesses that we are lucky enough to have in and around Northamptonshire. And this month I would like to introduce you to Waterloo Cottage Farm (http://waterloocottagefarm.co.uk). You will know that I am a huge believer in only eating meat that has been ‘kindly lived and kindly killed’ and this amazing place meets those requirements for me. And, being an ex environmental lawyer, organic is the way to go for me. So off I popped for a visit and returned with enough goodies to make my first Tasty Bites for Spring!
Pork and Garlic Chives bites
What do you for each person?
1 large cabbage leaf, some butter/oil/lard, a slice of pork, a few Garlic Chives. And a pan!
How do you make it?
Wilt your cabbage leaf so that it is malleable enough to use as a wrapping. In your choice of butter/oil/lard, gently cook your pork in the pan. Chop a few Garlic Chives (if you don’t have Garlic Chives, use garlic and onion – you will see now why Garlic Chives are so great as they avoid all that peeling and chopping!). Place your cabbage leaf on a chopping board, place your cooked pork in the middle of it, with your Garlic Chives on top. Wrap it all up in the cabbage leaf. Cut it in half. Welcome to your very tasty bite (or 2!)
A home made ‘lemonade’
Would you like something refreshing with that, to quench your thirst after all that outside work? Try making your own ‘lemonade’ using Lemon Balm (or Lemon Verbena or both!). There are a number of different ways of making it depending on which herbs you have, how intense you like the taste, and whether you would like to add sweetness.
- Simplest way is to make some herbal tea with your Lemon Balm, leave it to cool. Drink it as a cold tea. Add Lemon Verbena or Lemon zest (if you have a lemon but the point about this drink is that you can substitute Lemon flavoured herbs for lemons) if you wish as part of the tea making brew. Add sugar, (or Sweet Cicely or Korean Mint which are great sugar substitutes) if you have a sweet tooth.
- Or, for a little more of an intense flavour – take a pint of water, add about 10 long stems of Lemon Balm/Lemon Verbena to the water, bring it to the boil and then gently simmer it for about 10 minutes to get a more intense flavour than with the tea. Add sugar if you wish or the sugar substitute herbs already mentioned (I don’t as I prefer a tarter lemon flavour than a sweeter one). Make sure you don’t let it burn dry! Then let it cool. Drain it to remove the leaves. Add some fizzy water (for those of us of a retro era, the good old Soda Stream comes in handy here..) to taste.
I always make too much, and let it go cold, and then put it in freezer cubes. Ready to add to fizzy water on another occasion.
And, if you are ready for that gin and tonic at the end of your gardening exploits, add some to your gin and tonic for a burst of ‘lemoniness’…
Did you know?
Herbs are great for lazy cooks! Like me… I lose the will sometimes to peel and chop garlic and onions (a combination I love) so I always grow Garlic Chives which combine both flavours. And sugar substitutes such as Sweet Cicely and Liquorice/Korean Mint are great for that sweetness of taste if you don’t have sugar to hand.
This month’s herbs encourage laziness! Garlic Chives, Common Chives, 3 types of Lemon Balm. No more chopping, peeling and, in the case of lemons, having to go and buy some! You can find them listed here: http://hawkwellherbs.co.uk/herb-of-the-month and you can buy them at the Farmers’ Markets here during April: http://hawkwellherbs.co.uk/how-to-buy
Where can you find the herbs this month?
Market Harborough Farmers’ Market – Thursday 4th April
Thrapston Farmers’ Market – Saturday 6th April
Olney Farmers’ Market – Sunday 7th April
Oundle Farmers’ Market – Saturday 13th April
And look out for the new cookery courses coming up in Sudborough soon!
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