A Hume

A Hume
A Handful of Herbs

A Handful of Herbs

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Flavour Packed Recipes to Ward off the Chill

 

Each month we bring you a recipe or two – something seasonal to tickle your taste buds – and sometimes we seek inspiration from our friends. We’ve had Lamb from Ballymaloe, Crème Brûlée with Golden Glengoyne from Monachyle Mhor, Peach & Almond Cake from Genevieve Taylor and today we bring you a couple of herby whoppers from Anna Lamotte and her Aunt, Gillian Booth, at Scotherbs.

 

Anna Lamotte with Chef Neil Forbes

Anna Lamotte giving a Slow Food Herb Masterclass at Cafe St Honore with Chef Neil Forbes in September 2013.

 

Scotherbs are a family herb farm close to Dundee – the largest grower of fresh herbs in Scotland. They sell to the usual big name supermarkets, so chances are high that you’ve torn a few of their basil leaves to scatter over your tomatoes, or perked up your Thai curry with a smattering of their coriander.

 

Like many good ideas, the seeds of Scotherbs were sown over a glass, or two of wine one long memorable evening, when Anna’s Grandmother, Sylvia Wilson- an accomplished home cook in the Elizabeth David tradition – made the unlikely, yet prophetic suggestion that her husband grow and sell herbs. It was to her husband, Robert Wilson’s great credit that he acted on Sylvia’s somewhat radical idea. At the time, in the mid-80s, it was a far from obvious move for a fifth generation dairy farmer.

 

Today, Scotherbs is a 250acre operation growing a huge variety of culinary herbs, outdoors in the fields, or in the 72 polytunnels. The business is overseen by Anna’s mother, Shona Lamotte and remains steadfastly a family enterprise.

 

Anna’s involvement is implicit, as a child she rolled around in the farm delivery van, and today as a trained cook and graduate of Ballymaloe Cookery School she leads cookery workshops and herb Masterclasses. She also assumes responsibility for Scotherbs many educational outreach programmes, including a project with Perth High School to create a Market Garden where pupils can grow produce to sell at the local farmers market.

 

Thanks to Anna and her Aunt, Gillian Booth for these delicious, herby creations, seasonal treats for low key autumn dining.

 

Meatloaf with Porcini & Bacon

 

A Handful of Herbs from Scotherbs.

A Handful of Herbs from Scotherbs.

 

Meatloaf seems to have fallen from favour, which is lamentable considering how delicious it can be. As children we used to have it with mash potatoes and overcooked carrots these days I’d serve it with something zesty like a root vegetable winter slaw or the Ottolenghi salad we featured a couple of months back.

 

Ingredients, Serves 4

 

70g of white bread
Milk
25g of Dried Porcini Mushrooms
2 Medium-sized Leeks

30g Butter
A handful of Chopped Parsley
400g of Ground Beef
75g Smoked Bacon
2 Cloves of Diced Garlic
Handful of grated Parmesan

You will need a loaf tin or terrine approximately 10 x 12cm and a sheet of greaseproof paper.

 

Pre-heat oven to 200ºC/Gas 6.

 

Tear the bread into rough chunks and place in a dish with enough milk to cover. Leave till the bread is thoroughly saturated with milk. Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover them with warm water. Slice the leeks in half lengthways and then into small dice. Wash thoroughly in a colander with cold, running water.

 

Melt the butter in a deep pan; add the leeks and the chopped parsley. Leave them to soften over a low heat. The leeks should not colour. You can prevent this by placing a disc of greaseproof paper over the leeks, so that they partially steam.

 

Remove the leeks from the heat; add the beef and the bacon, diced into small pieces. Leave the meat to brown nicely on the underside before stirring. Add the chopped garlic and the mushrooms, drained of their soaking liquid and roughly chopped. Wring out the breadcrumbs and stir into the mixture with plenty of salt and pepper and the grated Parmesan.

 

Push the meat into the lined tin and smooth the top flat. Fold the paper over the top and place the tin in a roasting tin. Pour hot water into the roasting tin, to come halfway up the meatloaf. Place the roasting tin in the oven, and leave for an hour until fully cooked through.  Leave to settle for 10 minutes before turning out and carefully slicing.

 

Rosemary and Blueberry Madeira Cake

 

The rosemary’s warm aroma is an extraordinary addition to this cake, bringing out the blueberry’s subtle sweetness.

 

Ingredients

250g Soft Butter

200g Sugar

3 Large Eggs

300g Flour, sifted

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

3 tsp Fresh Rosemary Needles, chopped finely

4 tsp Milk

A Handful of Frozen Blueberries

2 tsp Demerara Sugar

A pinch of cinnamon to top

 

Preheat the oven to 170oC/Gas Mark 3.

Cream the butter adding the sugar slowly until it is pale and light in texture

Measure out the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour after each egg to stop the butter mixture from separating, and then add the vanilla. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the rest of the flour mixture and chopped rosemary needles before thinning the mixture out with the milk.

 

Finally, carefully fold in the frozen blueberries attempting to not turn the whole mixture blue as they defrost! Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan and sprinkle the Demerara sugar and cinnamon over the top before putting it in the oven. Bake for 1–1¼ hour, until a knife comes out clean and the top is a lovely, cracked, golden brown.

 

This cake will keep well – if it lasts!

 

* Try swapping the Rosemary for Fresh Mint and Blueberries for Chocolate Chips ~ a delicious Chocolate & Mint alternative *

 

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