Today the temperature has been close to freezing. There are almost gale force winds and the sky is a determined dark grey, giving the impression of permanent dusk. Despite this meteorological challenge, the rosemary in our allotment is thriving.
When most of the herb garden has succumbed to the winter temperatures, rosemary remains wonderfully unfazed by even the harshest weather.
Just brush off the snow, and snip off a few sprigs. Rosemary’s savoury flavour and piney aroma adds a welcome freshness to your winter cooking.
As well as providing the perfect seasoning for traditional, hearty dishes like roast lamb and herby dumplings, rosemary also works brilliantly with Mediterranean dishes like homemade pizza with olives, tomatoes and cheese. Rosemary originates from Southern Europe, so it has a natural affinity as well as a long history of being used in Mediterranean cooking.
But don’t limit rosemary to savoury dishes. Its aromatic mintiness adds depth and balance to sweet dishes too. A little chopped, fresh rosemary and a pinch of sea salt added to shortbread dough makes for a lovely marriage of sweet, salty and savoury.
And if you’re looking for a special dish to complete a dinner party – rosemary infused, dark chocolate truffles are simple to make – see my recipe below.
Alternatively, if you’re into your January detox, poach some fruit with a sprig of rosemary and a generous teaspoon of cinnamon – the flavour combination works really well – especially if you include a mix of sweet and sour fruits like apples, grapes and redcurrants.
And for a general pick-me-up, make a simple, rosemary tea (recipe below) – its renowned health properties include being used as an antioxident, memory stimulant and antiseptic. Dark chocolate Rosemary Truffles To make 20 truffles 160ml double cream 10 sprigs fresh rosemary 200g good quality, dark chocolate 20g butter 45ml icing sugar cocoa powder for coating.
- Place the rosemary in a pan with the cream, and heat until boiling. Turn off and leave to infuse for 45 mins. Boil the cream again then strain off the rosemary and leave the cream to cool a little.
- Gently melt the chocolate (in a bowl over hot water). Add the butter, then once it’s melted into the chocolate, stir in the sugar and the cream. Mix well then remove from the heat.
- Cool the mixture then place in the fridge until firm enough to handle.
- Form into small truffle shapes (it doesn’t matter how irregular!), and then roll in cocoa.
- Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them and they’ll keep for about 48 hours.
Rosemary Tea Add 1 sprig of rosemary per cup of boiling water. Leave to brew for 3 – 5 mins. Strain before drinking.