13 September 2008

Whats in the Garden?

From the bay leaf to the tiniest strands of saffron, discover what makes Spanish cuisine so special.

"Herbs and spices are derived from strong aromatic plants, which have been cultivated for thousands of years to add flavour and colour to our everyday cooking. Herbs are usually the leaves of wild plants that grow locally, but spices are considered the more exotic of the two and tend to be imported from the Far East or the Old West." READ MORE

Here is a trio of what is in the garden this year. It is by no means a large garden but we utilise a lot of pots and planters for the patio. This year we constructed some terraces (being on a hillside) so with luck, next year will yield some great vegetables.

Above - Bay Tree, these do grow quite large but take a few years, an old bay can reach 35ft high and be equally wide. Below, good old basil (well used!), a fabulous herb with a multitude of uses - when its Italian night its pasta and pesto sauce... very nice.

Peppers...(ok not a herb but just as important in Spanish cooking) seen drying on the front of most houses in rural villages during late summer, a real splash of colour in every sense of the word. Peppers fair quite well in the campo as they are quite hardy. Parsley is something we use a lot of but the broad leaf variety struggles in the poor soil in the area.

We also have the unbeatable mint - standard mint and peppermint, the locals use the latter for water, simply place a sprig in a bottle of mineral water overnight for a very cool refreshing glass of water the next day, subtle and works well.

Aromatic Guide to the Spanish Kitchen

Roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary - one of our real favourites during the winter, probably one of the best examples of where herbs compliment meat. Full Spanish recipe coming up soon.


Anonymous said...

We just have little bay bushes in tubs! Your bay trees look huge! Looking forward to your recipe for roast lamb with rosemary and garlic. I wonder if it will be similar to one that I make....

Orce Serrano Hams said...

Hi Sheffy, the bay trees are approaching 6ft tall, a great asset in the kitchen with beef recipes etc, bay just adds that something special to stews/hotpots etc