Herbs

Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread

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My annual herbs: Parsley, Coriander, Chervil, Dill, and Basil; for which, seeds sowed this year, late February/early March and are now quite healthy little plants. As for the Caraway herb, I sowed the seeds much later in April, are now showing good growth, and has provided me with a couple of leaves (each plant) since the last 2 weeks. Caraway is a biannual herb, (it will produce flowers and seed next year) so I will have to wait patiently to see it in full bloom.
 
I do not grow too many of the annual seeds at once, but always use the succession sowing method, giving me fresh annual herbs all spring and summer long. Home grown can be used sparingly, because you will only cut what you need for that dish and personally, own grown herbs are much stronger in flavour , then the shop bought ones, of which some are grown with speed for the demanding market. I have always grown herbs at home, close to my Kitchen, but for the past 2 years slowly introducing them to the allotment.
 
 
At home: all but one of my Perennial herbs are in pots. My 24 year old, Rosemary also called “The Bush”  (so called because it is old and past being called ‘a plant’) is the only herb in the ground. Rest are in pots, come Summer, I will move them around the garden as some respond well to cooler shaded parts of the garden, (for example: Mint, Lemon Thyme) where as others like to sun bathe all day long! (example: Purple Sage, Chives, Oregano).
As for the allotment: all planted this year in one section making my herb section, which also has, my all time favourite herb, the bronze leaf fennel, again sown from seed. Come late summer, I love to harvest and dry the seeds, which are a welcome addition item in my lamb mince marinate and also in an Indian sweet dish called Lapsi ( a sweet dish made from broken wheat, looks a bit like couscous, but golden brown in colour once cooked); an absolute family favourite, fennel seed and raisins are a key ingredient to this dish.
I shall see how they all fare in these open conditions of the allotment.
 
 
This all bring me to using own grown herbs. I much prefer using them raw rather then cooking them to death! But some recipes do call for a longer cook so I just have to go with it, and sprinkle more at the end to get those much loved fresh herb flavours.
 
As summer approaches and hot lunches get pushes to cold winter days. Here is a recipe for a Boursin style cheese using fresh herbs. I have chosen my favourite herbs. I love tarragon and marjoram too but I have only sown the seeds and seedlings are too little, for me to start pinching them. If you like woody herbs (eg. Thyme, Oregano) just pick the leaves as the stems are unpleasant when uncooked. 
Ingredients:
  • 100g  Cream Cheese
  •   40g  Butter
  • Parsley
  • Garlic Chives
  • Oregano
  • Chervil
  • Bunching Onion
  • Caraway
  • Basil
  • Dill    
  • Clove of Garlic (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
I have purposely not given the quantities of herbs, because its all upon individual taste. What you see in the picture above as gone into making this quantity of spread. You may like more of one and less of the other, or none at all. Choose herbs you like the flavours of.
Methods:
  • Soften butter and add cream cheese.
  • Mix well until all butter has blended in with the cheese.
  • Add all the chopped herbs.
  • Mix well and add a little crushed Garlic, Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Spoon mixture into small ramekin dish and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, this not only helps the butter to set again slightly but also the herbs to infuse into the spread mix.
  • Enjoy at home with a glass of wine or two. 
  • Or for a lunch break at work.
 
Enjoy x
Use whatever else you like, add a chopped up pickled Jalapeño to get that warm kick or diced black olives to give it a Mediterranean feel. However you make it, do share your experiences with me; either in the comments below, or on my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
 
 

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