WHB #52: Rosemary Pesto

October 1st, 2006

This article is part of a larger event, “My Favourite Herb“, hosted by Kalyn’s Kitchen (as a part of the Weekend Herb Blogging series of events). The idea this time around is for me to create a post about my favorite herb with reasons for why, and then display my “best” recipe for it. As Kalyn says, the recipe must be the “best of the best”. That’s a lot of pressure!

Rosemary Pesto Recipe

I have selected Rosemary as my herb of choice. There’s something amazing about this hardy evergreen shrub. It is very easy to grow, and is the first one I started with, around 10 years ago. The same plant is still alive in my garden today, having been transplanted from pot to ground. One sprig of this is enough to transform lamb in water into a stew with a delicious pine scented sauce.

How on Earth can I create the “best” recipe for this herb? Well, to justify my choice, it had to be one which showcased the herb itself - simply creating a lamb recipe with the Rosemary hidden within is not enough. I’ve chosen a Pesto made with Rosemary, as it allows the flavour of the Rosemary to take centre stage above all else, in a simple and uncomplicated way.

Traditionally a Pesto is created with Basil, Garlic, Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Olive Oil. I’ve tried to keep this recipe as close to that original one as I can, however didn’t feel Basil was appropriate - it just wouldn’t work with the Rosemary. Since Rosemary is a very woody herb, it still needed a leafy companion to make this Pesto work. After a little deliberation, I chose Rosemary’s cousin Mint, which works in harmony without overshadowing it’s companion. Mint and Rosemary are both well known as accompaniments to Lamb, and work well together.

I hope you agree with me that this is a simple yet elegant sauce, which highlights the flavours of Rosemary. It is delicious served alongside Lamb in almost any form.

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WHB #50: Heather In The Kitchen

September 17th, 2006

We were fortunate enough to have a couple of weekends away recently, one to the North Yorkshire Moors, and one to a small town called Moffat in Scotland. Both places shared hills, forests, and field after field of purple Heather.

Wild Scottish Heather

As always, this abundance of Heather got me thinking - “Can I eat it”? Surely it’s not so infeasible. Heather honey is for sale in supermarkets everywhere, and Wild Game (such as Grouse) enjoy Heather as the main part of their diet.

It’s been a couple of weeks now since our trip, and that’s given me time to search around for a few of the most interesting ideas for using Heather in the kitchen, a couple of which I’ve posted below as part of my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #50, which this week is hosted by The Kitchen Pantry (usually by Kalyn’s Kitchen).
Of course, if anybody else has any culinary concoctions for Heather, feel free to post them here!

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WHB #49: Wild Mushrooms on Toast

September 10th, 2006

Mushrooms again? Well, it is that season. This weekend me and my wife went to the local forest, and came back (again) reasonably unsuccessful, this time with 3 medium sized ceps. It’s not enough for much of a dinner, but Mushroom on Toast (fried in garlic butter) just about fits the bill.

Sticky Bun Mushroom

Not all is bad though. Last weekend we went up to Whitby (more on this in later posts), stopped off in a forest in the North Yorkshire Moors, and came back with a basket full of Ceps (and friends - like the ‘Sticky Bun’ in the photo above) - which are now hanging and drying happily in our kitchen.

Wild Mushrooms on ToastThere’s more. Spot the ‘WHB’ in the topic? That means ‘Weekend Herb Blogging’, an event hosted by the foodblog Kalyn’s Kitchen. Basically, foodbloggers (which includes me) decide to create a post about herbs (or vegetables, or similar), which is submitted solely for the event. Sounds like fun, so I wanted in!

Anyway, on to the recipe. It’s not even a recipe as such really, but is an excellent way to enjoy freshly picked mushrooms, especially if you have a collection of different types (such as Ceps and relatives, Chanterelles, etc). The mushrooms are fried briskly in butter with a little garlic and sage (which incidentally also grows in my garden), placed on fresh toast, and served.

Simple, but probably the best way to enjoy the uncomplicated taste of fresh mushrooms.

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