Copious amounts of mint have been dried, frozen and made into tea already but still there is an abundance to be used. So mint sauce is today’s kitchen craft.
Chop leaves finely (don’t blend or it will be a purée) and steep in boiling water for a couple of minutes to tenderise them. Meanwhile, mix 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar and a pinch of salt, scale up this mix so you have enough to cover the leaves.
Drain the leaves and rinse in cold water to stop them ‘cooking’ then put them in the jar/ saucer before pouring over the vinegar mix. Ready to use in half an hour, will keep in clean jar for weeks.
Liven up peas, potatoes, carrots, chicken and of course goes well with lamb.
Two handfuls of mint stick-blended with half a cup of sugar. Three cups of water with another cup of sugar brought to the boil. Mint mix added to water and simmered for 10 minutes. Left to stand then double filtered before bottling.
Great in cocktails, with sparkling water, in herb tea, over ice cream or yoghurt.
Another ‘why haven’t I made these before’ moment. Easy, cheap and delicious.
My recipe came from bbc good food. Batter made with egg whites added at last minute. I added some baking powder to increase the bubbles and it was lovely. Rather than chives I added some tarragon leaves but, frankly, any herb or none would do.
Fry dessert spoonfuls of the batter in an oiled pan, flipping when bubbles appear. Makes about 20 – 24. Just don’t snack on too many while cooking. Can be reheated or frozen.
Fabulous donated fruit needed to be used so, using searches with different combinations of my supplies generated a few kitchen experiments …
I started with fig, date and marrow chutney then plum frangipane tarts. Then a look through ‘save room for dessert’ prompted plum and blackberry bars.
I roasted some plums with fig and rosemary to have cold, made some plumbrillo (pictured) to have with cheese and then put the rest of the plums into the favourite spicy Chinese style plum sauce. This batch turned out super spicy!!
Finally a trawl through the ever reliable bbc food site brought up slow slow cooked marrow and butter bean ideas. I switched out the suggested fennel for chili. Really brilliant discovery.
‘Why didn’t I know that before?’ Making your own vanilla essence is super easy, saves money and provides a quality ingredient that you don’t need to go to the shop for. BUT it isn’t instant so I am making this now for use in winter cooking.
Easy peasy make: cover vanilla beans with vodka for at least two months. I used 2 and a half beans in a 1/3rd of a litre bottle.
Do your research on quality of beans and proportion of bean to alcohol but it is that easy.
My advisers (bloggers and diy’ers galore) tell me you just top up the bottle with more vodka to make this a perpetual supply…
At this time of year our herb pots provide more than we can use so I like to make fragrant posies. This time I used some well soaked oasis to support the stems in a wide necked pot and found they lasted much better than in water.
The things we find during a lockdown cupboard clean…in this case a big bag of walnuts gifted by our neighbours last autumn. Determined to put them to good use here are some of the recipes I found on walnuts.org (California walnuts promo site)
Walnut pesto (replace pine nuts in the classic recipe)
Walnut and Parmesan ‘cream’ a veggie pâté alternative
Walnut ‘meatballs’ where mushrooms are used
Walnut honey butter, a sweet chunky ‘peanut butter’