Daily Archives: 26 April 2010

I’m going to grow my own!

With the launch of our new gardening book – Seasonal Gardening Ideas – I have been totally inspired to ‘grow my own’ this year.

I am not going to try and be too ambitious, as I have never done it before but I am going to start with these fun and quirky Pot Herbs for the Kitchen. They look great and I will have a constant supply of my favourite herbs right next to the kitchen door.

Seasonal Garden Ideas features many more fabulous mini-projects for the whole year and easy enough for anyone to tackle. It’s on sale now just in time for the start of the gardening season

And when the herbs are established try this delicious recipe for Salmon with Minty Salsa taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two.

Win a copy of Clever Cooking for One or Two

Simply enter here before Tuesday 4 May – we have ten to give away. Good luck.

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Herbs for the Garden

Fresh herbs give a great lift to many foods – so grow your own in pots sited near the kitchen for ease of picking. And why not choose some colourful, fun containers to plant in?

Sow seeds in March, or buy small herb plants in April or May, pot up at once and start picking leaves as soon as the plants have grown slightly. Plant in a sunny position. The job will take about an hour.

Plants required
Seed packets or small plants of parsley, thyme, marjoram (oregano), sage, mint and rosemary.

Equipment required
Six small plastic pots for potting up seedlings bought at the garden centre.
Seed tray, modular cell system or jiffy pots for sowing seeds, if using.
Five containers such as the enamel kettles.
Soil-based potting compost and proprietary seed compost if using.
Broken crocks for drainage.
Trowel.

1 Fill the seed tray or modular cell system with seed compost and sow your seeds according to the instructions on the packets, or sow in jiffy pots according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep on a kitchen windowsill while the seeds germinate, then move them outside when all danger of frost is past.

2 When the seedlings are large enough to handle, pot them on into the plastic pots using potting compost and lining with broken crocks for drainage.

3 Or, line the plastic pots with broken crocks and fill with potting compost, into which you have mixed some sharp sand (if using). Then plant your garden centre seedlings, place into the containers and set out in an attractive arrangement. In general, allow one herb per container, but if the container is big enough, put several in together – here rosemary, parsley and mint have been put in the central container.

4 Place the young herb plants outside only when all danger of frost is past. If you’re uncertain, place them outside on sunny days and bring them in at night until the weather warms up enough for them to be left outside permanently.

5 Pick and use the leaves regularly. All these herbs can grow quite large and, by the end of summer, may well have outgrown their containers unless you keep them under control.

Notes
Most herbs do best in full sun. They don’t require rich soil, but they must not be allowed to get waterlogged, so good drainage is essential. Rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram are tough, shrubby plants and can be kept going for years if put into the ground or grown in large enough pots. Mint and parsley are herbaceous and will die down in winter, but reappear again in spring.

Aftercare
Regular picking is needed, and watering with care.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas

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Salmon with Minty Salsa

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
Calories per portion 596 Kcal
Fat per portion 45g
of which saturated 10g
Serves 2

Salmon fillets 2 (approximately 150g (5oz) each), skinned
Lime ½ , grated zest and juice
Butter 15g (½ oz)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cooked rice to serve, optional

For the salsa
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Lime ½ , grated zest and juice
Papaya ½ –1 small, peeled, deseeded and chopped
Avocado 1, stoned, peeled and chopped
Chopped mint 2 tbsp

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. To prepare the salmon, brush the lime juice over the fish. Place a knob of butter on each fillet and scatter with the lime zest and season with salt and pepper.

2 Place the fish on a buttered baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until it is just starting to turn golden in colour.

3 To make the salsa, tip the olive oil, lime zest and juice into a bowl and add the papaya, avocado and mint. Mix well. Season to taste.

4 Serve the fish on a bed of rice. with the salsa spooned on to the plate.

Cook’s tip
If the papaya is large, then only use half of it. Keep the other half wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Shopper’s tip
Make sure the avocado and papaya are ripe to get the best flavours. Buy the fruits a few days early and allow them to ripen.

This scrummy summery recipe is taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two.

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