Friday, 15 June 2007

Herbacious


The Organic bag has been delivering huge bunches of wild herbs recently. Bronze fennel, chives, lovage, red sage, mint. Beautiful aromas and vibrant colours. Herbs in my house have often been subjected to the usual fine chop and garnish. But with such an array of amazing seasonal herbs, I thought it a shame to not do something that would sing the herbs as the main ingredient.

Cooking with the seasons is becoming more and more important to me. I've mentioned before the delights of having a small Organic bag delivered to your door. It is a mystery gift which beholds all manner of produce to make your creative juices flow. Herbs are so delicate, and British weather being British weather means their window of availability is short. But why not just look forward to the seasons and it's produce rather than sourcing it all year round? It makes life just that little bit more interesting.

This simple recipe is perfect for a simple starter or a snack with a nice cold bottle of beer. Make a batter using plain flour, a pinch of mustard powder and freezing cold beer or sparkling water. Then combine your fizzy gloop with huge amounts of finely chopped herbs and perhaps a spring onion. That is what I did. I also served mine with a Tzatziki as we were having Greek food for main course. But this would go perfect with plain mayonnaise or an Aioli. Herbilicious.

P.S. I'm dedicating this one to Sir Freddie of Great Big Veg Challenge fame as he hits the H for Herbs mark - keep it going Freddie, you are an inspiration!

British Herb Fritters

A large bunch of seasonal herbs, any you can get your hands on, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped

For the batter
200g plain flour
300-350ml of freezing cold beer OR sparkling water

A pinch of English mustard powder
Salt and pepper
Rapeseed oil

1 - Finely chop your herbs and spring onions.
2 - Make the batter by placing your flour in a bowl along with a good grinding of salt and pepper and a pinch of English mustard powder. Make a well in the middle then, using a whisk, thoroughly whisk until you have a silky smooth batter the consistency of double cream. Mix the herbs and spring onions into your batter.
3 - Cover the bottom of a non-stick pan with the rapeseed oil and heat to just under smoking point. Add tablespoons of the herby batter and fry until crisp before flipping, around 2 minutes each side. Place onto kitchen towel to absorb some oil then serve hot with your accompaniment of choice.

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