Saturday, 16 July 2011


Many herbs look good in a flower border. as well as being useful for cooking. I like to have a generous supply not far from the back door. Above are golden marjoram, variegated sage, and Italian thyme. I add a mix of chopped golden marjoram, thyme chives and mint to salads.
Last year I had some in a hanging basket just outside the door so I could reach then without going out in the rain.
Below is a selection of herbs bought recently including wonderfully aromatic Vietnamese coriander and zingy lemon verbena whose flavour seems more lemony than lemon.
I also got dill, chervil, coriander and winter savoury which is new to me. I was on the look out for it after hearing about it on one of Nigel Slater's TV programmes. These have been potted up and are growing fast.

I buy my herbs from the Foxhollow Nursery (click here for location) It's up a narrow track and feels like the heart of the countryside rather than the edge of the London suburbs. It is one of the smallholdings on the Little Woodcote Estate. These smallholdings were originally offered to returning servicemen after World War One as part of the 'Homes for Heroes' in the 1920s
This one has a large selection of herbs so there are several varieties of, say, rosemary or thyme etc as well as the unusual and more exotic herbs. They also grow and sell Christmas trees.

The thymes are in full bloom

and on the right are some Christmas trees.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Cut Rounds

Cut Rounds

I saw these being made on Edwardian Farm on the BBC. They looked and sounded wonderful and I wanted to taste them so I searched for the recipe online and eventually found it. These were made in Devon in Edwardian times although I don't think they had powdered milk then but milk from their own cows. I found this series delightful and beautifully made.

They are similar to scones that are still served in Devon and Cornwall with clotted cream and jam as a cream tea. Splits are also served in Cornwall. These are raised with yeast.

Clotted cream with golden syrup is known as thunder and lightning

I followed the recipe except I only had self raising flour so I used that and added a teaspoon of baking powder. I can't be sure that the amount of raising agent is the same.

I divided the dough in half so one half of my cut rounds are plain. To the other half I added 60g grated Cheddar and 1 tbs chopped herbs from the garden, thyme, rosemary and lavender flowers as I wanted to experiment with a savoury version.

Both versions taste good. The outer crust crisp and the inside more like cake than scone.

Recipe for Cut Rounds by Richard Hunt, Executive Chef, The Grand Hotel, Torquay

Makes 12 approx

500gm Plain Flour
50gm Milk Powder
35gm Baking Powder
50gm Butter
220ml Buttermilk
70ml Milk
(If you like a sweet version add 30gm Caster Sugar)
Beaten egg to Glaze
1. Preheat the Oven to 180c or Gas 6
2. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl
3. Rub in the Butter
4. Mix in the Buttermilk, and Normal milk, bring together until a soft dough is reached
5. Please use your hands, not a mixer, as you will over tighten the dough!!
6. Roll into a cylinder shape about 3 inches across
7. Cut into pieces approx 60gm each
8. Slightly press to a nice shape
9. Place on the Baking Tray and Glaze with egg
10. Bake for 14-18 minutes until golden and risen
The dough must be soft not dry, don’t be afraid to add a touch more liquid if you are not happy with the consistency

Happy cooking!