Hello friends, the October rains and winds coming in hard from all angles in the garden can only mean one thing, winter is well and truly on its way. As I write this I can't help but glance out at my poor garden as it takes a hit from the weather. After our freezer fiasco earlier this summer when we lost all of our spring and summer stored crops (one of our small children must have turned it off without us knowing) we have been frantically trying to restock. All hands have been on deck to harvest the last of the food from our allotment, potatoes, corn, beans and onions. But the elements are now against us. Naturally there is still loads of work to be done before we can bid the garden a find farewell for the winter, gently close the doors and wrap up in our blankets, but even with the best of intentions to record autumn and winter display for pots , on days like today when you are blown back into your home by the wind it only makes sense to turn to the kitchen.
October is when I gather my winter herbs to bring into the home - there is something warming about having your herbs to hand in the kitchen during those long winter months, instead of venturing out in the ice cold winds. Meanwhile, herbs such as rosemary can be given a hard prune in winter when they lay dormant and can have a light prune any time of the year.
The kitchen is my sanctuary in winter, just as much as the garden is my sanctuary in summer. I barely talk to my kitchen in the hot summer months, other than to raise hats while making everyone a salad. But in winter it becomes my hearth. With a chair next to the oven where either of my two small children can watch and learn and join me, the kitchen becomes alive again. Cakes, bread, stews and all sorts start to fill the house with smells and character again. But my favourite, above all, is the British roast. Chicken, beef, pork, mushroom and sage wellington, it is all magic.
So the one main staple we have in our kitchen (aside from our mixer) is the herb salt. Fresh smelling, easy to use and full of vigour, it is permanently attached to my right hand living next to the hob, always in arms reach. The best part for me, is you can make and design your own herb salt whether it be for fish, chicken, beef, stews or even herb biscuits. It's right there, like an old friend that never lets you down.
I should add too, it makes a wonderful gift for Christmas. It is cheap to make (if you grow your own herbs then only the Salt is needed to buy in and a jar to put it in). And we should normalise this, we should bring back the traditions of gifting home made goods, hand sown kitchen towels, sourdough starters. With the cost of living the way it is, why not set a trend this year by giving someone in your family a chutney you made with your tomatoes or make them some herb salt. The added bonus is it will last up to 12 months if stored properly!
So here is my step by step video of how to make herb salt. Please let me know if you give it a go, I would LOVE to hear what creations you make!
As always friends
Happy Gardening, and also Happy Cooking.