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Cinnamon Basil and Cantaloupe...

Cinnamon Basil

In May I went a bit crazy at the Detling Garden Show and bought a load of plants. I am happy to report they are all thriving despite the ever present threat of snails. Even though I have invested heavily in copper snail tape I know I must remain vigilant – especially around my basil plants.

One of the stall holders had a vast array of interesting herbs including at least 10 varieties of basil. Most of these I had never heard of and I was keen to try some of them out. I smelled them all and gave each one a little taste (when the stall holder wasn’t looking of course). The one that really stole my heart was Cinnamon Basil.

It has a strong spicy aroma and it actually tastes just like cinnamon. I adore this herb!

Never having used it before I wasn’t really sure whether you could cook with it or what other ingredients you could put with it. After lots of exploring I found some brilliant sites and recipes that I will try.

First of all Ramona Werst has an absolutely amazing website dedicated to her love of basil (and what’s not to love about basil!) Please check out her site, Ramona’s Basil Garden here. I fully intend to try many of her recipes but first on my list is her recipe for Cinnamon Basil & Lime Icebox Cookies.

Another recipe I can’t wait to try is Steamed Mediterranean Mussels With Cinnamon Basil Ouzo And Feta Cheese from the i.food.tv website. My mouth is watering already.

Last night I was in need of a quick and simple dessert. A forlorn looking cantaloupe was beginning to languish in the back of my fridge (thank you Dr. Weil for reminding me it was there).

I had a few slices with plain Greek yoghurt and cinnamon basil on top. This was actually the first time I had used the basil so it was nice to have it in such a simple way. The flavour really came through – it’s actually quite addictive.

Cantaloupe with Greek Yoghurt and Cinnamon Basil

Now I am looking forward to using the basil in all sorts of recipes. I will keep you posted!

Oh and as for the cantaloupe seeds – I am drying them out alongside my apple seeds and will try growing them as well!

Cantaloupe Seeds

Traditional English Parsley Sauce...

Feeling confident after my triumph with a basic beurre blanc sauce, I decided to try my hand at a traditional English parsley sauce. This is a tasty sauce to have with white fish or salmon cakes and we enjoyed it very much with some smoked gammon. Essentially it’s a basic white sauce with the addition of freshly chopped parsley. When researching recipes I found that many didn’t include a squeeze of fresh lemon juice but it really gives the sauce added zing. I wouldn’t make the sauce without it now!

There is nothing quite like going out to the garden to gather fresh herbs to cook with. Parsley grows quite easily and makes a lovely addition to any garden. If you don’t already grow your own herbs then it’s definitely worth giving it a go! Check out this site for some amazing gardening tips.

Parsley, one of my all time favourite herbs is full of taste and great health benefits. Among other things it has Vitamin C, Iron and is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Folate. Try adding it to salads, burgers, omelettes, fresh juices and soups. You can even sprinkle it on pasta and rice dishes as well as over pretty much anything!

So if you want something special to accompany your fish dish or gammon then look no further! This parsley sauce from the Good To Know Recipes website is a real winner!

Here is the recipe from their brilliant site:

Parsley Sauce

Ingredients

• 425ml full fat milk

• Bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped (but keep the stalks)

• 1 bay leaf

• 1/4 onion, thickly sliced

• 5 peppercorns

• Pinch of nutmeg

• 20g plain flour

• 40g butter

• Squeeze of lemon juice

• Salt and pepper to season

Directions

1. Put the milk, parsley stalks, bay leaf, onion, peppercorns and nutmeg in a heavy-bottomed pan.

2. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and allow to go cold. This will help to infuse the milk before making the sauce.

3. Slowly melt the butter in another saucepan. Add the flour and stir continuously for a minute so that you cook out the raw flour flavour. Remove from the heat.

4. Strain the milk through a sieve to remove the infusing ingredients and slowly add the milk to the butter and flour mixture. Keep combining a little more milk every few seconds until you’ve added it all. You should now have a thin, lump-free sauce.

5. Return the pan to the heat and stir the sauce until it starts to thicken. This will take about 5 minutes.

6. Once it’s thick, remove from the heat. Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

7. Serve your parsley sauce with salty roast gammon and new potatoes, crispy fishcakes or grilled white fish.

Enjoy!

Parsley Sauce

Parsley Sauce