Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bayzil or Bazzil?

Whatever pronunciation you prefer, fresh basil is a fabulous herb, especially with tomatoes. I used some tonight with a tomato concasse (chef term for a thick vegetable sauce/stew - I did a commercial cooking course some years ago and find that the terms pop occasionally into the brain). It was great, served with veal schnitzels, also made from scratch - hammered, egg and breadcrumbed and fried in a small quantity of olive oil with a little bit of butter for taste. And a green salad on the side - lettuce, cucumber and spring onion. Though it's cold tonight, it has been a beautiful sunny day, so summery fare seemed suitable.

While I like to grow my own herbs, I have not managed to keep a basil plant in production in winter. Even the perennial basil is straggly and I don't like its flavour as much as the traditional one. Thank goodness that some local grower keeps the fruit and vegie market down the hill supplied. The bag I bought this weekend was small, but good quality. Not so, the stuff available in the supermarket. Buyer beware.

While basil doesn't like rain and cold, parsley obviously does. The Italian parsley is huge and even the little pot of curly parsley is flourishing. The mint is doing well too. In summer it tends to die back if it is not watered morning and night. At Bicton we had mint planted in a small header pond and we could always find some to harvest.

Helen gave me a kaffir lime for my birthday, and it has now produced some new shoots and leaves after sitting stolidly in the pot for months. And the lemon grass has flowered. I have never had a clump do that before.

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