Wednesdays Words of Wisdom: Herbs
I think it was growing rosemary in window boxes outside my first London flat, that started my complete fascination for growing things to eat. It was upstairs, and being Victorian, had window sills on the outside. The kitchen window caught the sun for a good few hours each day and one Sunday morning I bought a beautiful terracotta box from S&J Evans of Ezra Street at the back of Columbia Road flower market, and filled it with sweet little rosemary plants. Soon, the rosemary box became one of several containers, subsequently on sills outside the bedroom, bathroom and sitting room, and I had a complete herb garden. I never grew anything ornamental, just things with a culinary purpose. The wonderful range of shades of green did look very pretty and smelt divine, but aesthetics were not the main reason for the pots.
This tendency to grow food, now bordering on obsession, has followed me around the various places I’ve lived over the years, until now, when in addition to my my reasonably sized urban garden and local allotment plot, I still chose to grow my herbs as close to the kitchen door as is practical, still in containers and I cut and use them as often as possible in our cooking.
So it is a delight to review this River Cottage book about herbs, the tenth in the series and I’m thrilled to add it to the Woolly Green bookshelf. Nikki Duffy the author, has crafted a useful resource for any gardener, newbies or those slightly more seasoned like me.
Half gardening reference book, half cook book, it sets out growing information next to recipes in which there is plenty of practical culinary advice. After explaining the essentials of growing and looking after herbs, there’s an A –Z of common and some of the more unusual species, followed by a selection of versatile recipes…some interesting ones too, such as fudge made with fennel (a tasty alliteration) and raspberry vinegar with geranium (yes really!)