WALL OF FRESH FLAVOUR

WALL OF FRESH FLAVOUR

A vertical herb garden wall display above a work surface where food is prepared is both an attractive and practical addition to the kitchen. Within easy reach, the herbs can be plucked when needed. Glass jars make ideal containers. Since there are no drainage holes, stones or pottery shards should be placed at the bottom of the jars before the soil is added. Herbs grown from seed need to be planted in a pot first and allowed to mature before being transferred to the jar. A diamond shape cut from plywood, slightly larger than the jar, is fixed to the wall in the desired position. A strip of leather is used for the wall bracket. The jar is held in place while the strip is wrapped around it and screwed into the wood on either side. It should fit snugly around the jar to keep it in place. The process is repeated for the other herbs.

SCRUB WITH A GENTLE TOUCH

From her workshop at Willowood Farm in rural Lincolnshire, Amanda passionately sources and makes beautiful, eco-friendly products and homeware. This set of two dish scrubs are handmade from natural, organic jute, packaged in recycled card. The texture of the chunky knit is ideal for cutting through grease without damaging the crockery surface. Inspired by the countryside and a desire to be more environmentally aware, the scrubs are long lasting and designed to be reused.

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CHERISHED VEGETABLE

During a 7th century battle, legend says that the Welsh distinguished themselves from the Saxon enemy by wearing leeks in their hats. Their victory elevated this humble vegetable to national status in Wales. Long before, leeks had been prized by the Romans as a cure for a sore throat, and Nero was said to have eaten them in huge quantities to help improve his singing voice. Part of the onion and garlic family, leeks soften and reduce in volume as they caramelise, creating a subtle, sweet flavour. They are prepared by removing two outer layers and the coarse green tops. The roots are trimmed off, but the end kept intact. To remove trapped dirt, the leeks are split in half lengthways, the leaves fanned out and then rinsed. For thin, young ‘pencil’ leeks served whole, a ¾in (2cm) deep slit is cut into the tops and the leeks rinsed. Leeks more than 1in (2.5cm) in diameter are likely to be tough.

A TREAT FROM THE HEDGEROW

With their clusters of small, purple-black fruits, elderberries are a common sight in early autumn among the hedgerows of country lanes. The berries can be used in pies, crumbles or lighter desserts, such as this mousse. The juices will stain clothes, so an apron is recommended when cooking with elderberries. To make 4: Take 200g of elderberries and remove the stalks using the prongs of a fork. Wash and then combine the berries with 75g of raspberries in a saucepan. Add 2 tbsp of water and cook over a low heat until the berries are soft; approximately 5 mins. Tip into a food processor and add 120g of sugar, pureeing until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp of lemon juice. In a small saucepan, combine 1½ tsp of gelatin with 60ml of cold water. Let it stand for 1 min, then cook over a low heat, stirring until dissolved. Add this to the berry mixture, stirring to combine. Cover and leave to chill for 2 hrs. After chilling, beat the berry mixture until foamy, using an electric mixer. Gradually beat in 250ml of cream in a slow, steady stream until thickened; approximately 2 mins. Divide between four glasses, cover, and leave to chill for 2 hrs. When ready to serve, break up two meringue nests into pieces and divide them between the mousses, dropping them on the top. Finish by sprinkling over a few dried rose petals.

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