June Newsletter 2009

Hi Everyone and welcome to June’s newsletter.

At this time of year, particularly with the warm weather we have been having and the long daylight hours, the herbs tend to romp away. This means they sometimes outgrow the pots they are in, becoming too big, turning yellow or reddish as they run out of food and becoming un-saleable. The more recently potted up herbs look young and green and so the older ones tend to be consigned to the compost heap or taken away by friends to grow on in their gardens. At the end of last month we had about five trays of lemon basil that had ‘gone over’ and were sitting about in one of the tunnels. As we quite often get asked what the different flavoured basils could be used for I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to use it up by experimenting with different recipes.


The Crew with Basil


Everyone was tasked to produce something for Tuesday 2nd June for tasting. It was always going to be interesting given the people and their eating preferences. For a start Nick and Claire are both veggies and wouldn’t be trying anything with meat in, whilst Stu wouldn’t be trying anything without meat in or that was spicy, fishy, exotic…. I could go on. Tony fancies himself as Ray Mears so it is anyone’s guess what he might turn up with. Helard is rather impatient with his cooking, especially chicken, and tends to just sear it with gut wrenching consequences. Jo is a bit of a Ma from the darling Buds of May - lots of home-grown, home-produced food. Zsuzsa maintains there is something wrong with her oven – the three or four birthday cakes she made for Kiran’s birthday being testament to that, so I’m informed and Mike has been walking about with his arm in plaster for the last few weeks after falling off his bicycle in the wee small hours which had absolutely nothing to do with the party he was returning from…. apparently. The sun shone on Tuesday which made it a pleasant task sitting in the sun stuffing our faces. We started with the drinks from Zsuzsa (remember the oven) and Nick.


Serving Up


Zsu’s Lemon Basil Cordial


Heat together 300mls water and 20g sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool and add one sliced lemon and a good handful of lemon basil. Leave for two days strain and dilute with sparkling or still water and ice.


Zu's Cordial

Nick’s Summer Tonic.



Smash ice and lemon basil together in a pestle and mortar – outside preferably as it can be messy. Add 100mls water stir together then strain into a glass adding 10mls Echinacea tincture. Garnish with lemon basil leaves.


Nick & His Tonic


Claire’s Pasta Tricolor


Grate garlic, chop a chilli, chop lemon basil and add to olive oil. Leave overnight for the flavours develop. Cook spaghetti until al dente then add the oil and serve.


Clare's Pasta Tricolour


Tony’s Salmon Wraps


Marinate salmon fillets over night in a mixture of chopped lemon basil, olive oil and black pepper. Wrap in Parma ham and bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Serve with a sprig of lemon basil.


Tony's Salmon Wrap


Helards Tapas


Chop the lemon basil and whack into a tub of soft creamy cheese along with the zest of a lime. Toast slices of ciabatta; put finely chopped garlic on top. Then spread on the cheese and top with seared trout.


Halard's Tapas

Stu & Helard (Tampopo?)


Stu’s Lemon Basil and Honey Chicken


Chop the lemon basil and add to honey. Smear all over chicken joints and leave to marinate overnight. Brown the joints in hot oil and then transfer to the oven at 180 degrees for 25 mins.


Stu's Sticky Chicken


Mike’s Mash


Boil organic potatoes in salted water (skins on or peeled) until soft, drain and then mash with butter, cream and finely chopped lemon basil. Fry pork mince until crispy and add to the mash along with salt and pepper to taste.


Mike's Mash


Jo’s Muffins

Mix dry ingredients together - 150g self raising flour, 75g rolled oats, 1 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, handful chopped chives and a bunch finely chopped lemon basil.

Then mix together wet ingredients – 2 tbsp tomato puree, 5 tbsp oil, 75 mls milk, , four chopped tomatoes, and an egg before adding them to the dry ingredients. Divide mixture between cases or muffin tin and sprinkle 150g grated cheese over them. Bake at 180 for 20 mins.

Jo's Muffin


Loz’s Lemon Basil Syrup for Ice Cream

Put 4fl oz water, 1 tsp arrowroot and 3oz sugar together in a pan and heat whilst stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid thickened. Add two big handfuls of lemon basil – stalks as well- roughly chopped. Allow to cool then leave for twenty four hours before straining. Drizzle over vanilla ice cream.
This goes a deep green colour and looks as though it should taste of mint.

Loz's Syrup

Well, that’s all for another month. Hope you will give at least one of the recipes a go. Next month we thought herby cocktails might be a good one to try – but if you have any suggestions for herbs we could try we’d be glad to give them a go.

Grace & Socks Clearing Up

Enjoy the lovely long summer days.