The herbs in our little container garden are abundant at the moment. Even the basil has responded to the recent warm weather. This just goes to show that you can have a productive and tasty herb garden no matter how limited the space available. I think herbs are the best thing to grow in pots as they add a lot of flavour to dishes when freshly cut and are happy to be in containers. Vegetables usually require more space and don’t always do well in pots though there are some new varieties on the market. I have some tiny chillies in a pot that are doing well – a little too well in fact as there are only so many surprisingly hot little red chillies I can use. I made some chilli oil to use in my Chinese cooking and I might have to hunt around for a Sambal Oelek recipe.
The sage plant my mother gave me appeared to have shuffled off this mortal coil but it has since resurrected itself and looks vigorous and healthy again. I have been using it in stuffings and terrines and to make the Italian classic Saltimbocca – a piece of veal or chicken beaten out thinly, topped with a sage leaf and prosciutto and fried, prosciutto side down, in a hot pan with butter.
The mint has also been growing abundantly and I have been using it to flavour cous cous and tzatziki and to make tabbouleh. A different way to use mint is to add it finely chopped to cubed watermelon, finely sliced Spanish onion and crumbled feta then dress with lemon juice and olive oil.