Friday, February 18, 2011

Things That Make Me Happy No.1

I know it's not gluten-free, or Melbourne related, but I've decided to do a few entries on things that make me happy. Just those small, enriching things that make you smile and sound like a nerd when you bring them up in everyday conversation. Included in this category are tea, teapots, fondue sets and the topic of today's blog... Herb Gardens.

I love my Herb Garden. I'm not afraid to say it. I don't care if I sound crazy when I'm caught out talking to my herbs, or berating the spiders who are currently trying to house in it. There are few feelings as nice as using your own home-grown herbs in your cooking. Whether its bay leaves in your home-made stock, basil in home-made pesto, or mint in your own Mojito concoctions.

My current herbs include Rosemary, Basil, Mint, Bay Leaves, Chives, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Sage, Lemongrass, Parsely and Oregano.

See if you can recognise which is which!

I know herb gardens seem like a lot of effort, but trust me when I say they're not. I'll be honest, I've killed a few seedlings in my time. I may be the only person who has successfully managed to kill mint, widely regarded as the weed of the herbaceous world.

I got a little greenhouse from Bunnings, which keeps even basil alive in winter! I know, I was surprised too.

The trick with a herb garden is just to keep an eye on it. Pluck any dead leaves, try and remember if its rained recently or not. I always make the mistake of over-watering, and then over-compensating by leaving them in spots that are too sunny. Learn from my mistakes!

You'll (hopefully) notice straight away the difference in your food taste quality. I'm sure lots of you buy fresh herbs for special occasions, but when you figure out that a herb seedling costs the same as the fresh bunch, a garden starts to seem more and more appealing. Plus it gives you added bragging rights! 'Oh that flavour? That's just fresh picked basil that I've nursed from a seedling to the flourishing plant you see before you.'

All I can really say is that the amount of joy you get from using your own herbs in your (hopefully) delicious cooking is inestimable. Flavours are stronger, colours brighter, shiny things shinier. And ignore people who tell you you're a 'nerd' or 'grandma' for caring about your herb garden. Just tell them you're 'earthy.'
(Thanks Mom!)

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