The Noble Bay - January’s Herb of the Month

 

Keeping Winter at Bay

Bay has been used for hundreds of years as a spicy, warming addition to soups and casseroles. Did you know that it can also impart great flavour to desserts, scones and a variety of pulses?

 In our January box and on the website we have lots of Bay-based goodies for you to try.

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Bay leaves – For a herb that has been much in evidence from ancient Greek and Roman times, that is easy to grow, evergreen providing Winter colour and possessing a unique sweet and smoky depth, fresh Bay is seriously under-appreciated in our cooking and in our gardens. Try using fresh Bay leaves not only with your soups and casseroles but in your baking and, better still, in your desserts. We’ve given you some Bay-infused cheese scones to try. This month’s recipes include a delicious AND healthy pulse, greens and mushroom dish (happens to be vegan as well, you veganuarians) and a naughty-but-hey-it’s-only-very-small panna cotta with caramelised apples. More ideas on the website too!

Seeds: Jekka’s Red Orach – Ready to be sown indoors in February or outdoors in March, here’s an unusual and tasty leaf that can be used in place of spinach or as a salad leaf. Hard to believe we don’t all have this as a staple.

Hot tip though: if you’re growing it outside contain it in some way as it can be a prolific self-seeder. Very pretty but slightly annoying if it really gets going.

British Herb Kitchen Sorrel Pesto – What you get if you combine sharp sorrel, cheese and toasted walnuts. Perfect for an easy pasta, rice or grain dish or in place of butter in your sandwiches. Add some freshness to the Winter table. We use a non-animal rennet cheese so it’s suitable for vegetarians too.

British Herb Kitchen Bay-infused Cheese Scones with Chives –Warm these and serve with lashings of butter or with MORE cheese and our Pickled Pears.

British Herb Kitchen Juniper and Bay Pickled Pears – English pears pickled with Scottish juniper berries and home-grown fresh Bay. These go particularly well with cold cuts or on the cheese board.

Hodmedod’s Organic Split Green Peas – British-grown, perfect for casseroles, soups, stews, dips and dhals, a very versatile pulse that can be cooked without soaking. They can keep a bit of bite in a split pea-based casserole (see the recipe card) or can be cooked down to a smooth consistency for a hummous or a dhal. Great flavour-absorbers, they work well with Bay and with all sorts of other British herbs.

Womersley Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper Vinegar – two of our favourite Winter herbs rolled up into a delicious vinegar. Add extra flavour when deglazing, drizzle over fish before roasting, mix into a stir-fry, liven up your fruit desserts or use in a dressing. Womersley really are masters of the vinegar craft.

 
Verity Russ