Today it’s all about Rosemary. I think I’ve been inspired by my chat with Andy to find out a bit more about this gorgeously versatile Mediterranean herb.
Five facts about Rosemary
1.Wild Rosemary can be found on the cliff tops of Greece, France and Italy
2.Ancient Greeks believed that Rosemary could strengthen memory, a belief that persists today, with newspapers reporting record sales amongst keen students in 2016.
3.It is used in herbal medicine to cur baldness, toothache and headaches.
4. Rosemary is said to have been its name after a a story in which the Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush. When she removed it, the flowers had turned blue, which led to the shrub being know as “Rose of Mary”.
5. Whilst it’s Mediterranean origins mean Rosemary is extremely drought resistant, careful watering is essential during the first year of growth, to allow the root system to mature.
We’re all familiar with Rosemary as part of our traditional roast dinner, but it has a host of other uses. Used creatively alongside unusual cuts, such as lamb belly it helps cut through the rich flavour of the lamb, giving a unique balance to the finished dish. It also works in less traditional dishes, such as Moroccan braised lamb, combining complex layering of Moroccan spices and fragrant Rosemary gives an aromatic finesse, and showcases the marriage between Moorish and Mediterranean cuisine. One of my favourite ways to enjoy rosemary though is in a simple foccacia. For me it makes me think of long lazy lunches, holidays, and most importantly, sunshine.
Here’s the recipe, along with a photo of one I made earlier. I think it’s turned out quite well !
1kg Bread Flour/Strong flour 1tbsp Virgin Olive oil
250g Potato mashed 5 Red Onions
15g Yeast 6 Cloves garlic
750ml Water 2oz Rosemary leaves
- Dilute yeast to paste with some water.
- Place flour, potato & salt in bowl
- Pour in wet ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon
- Cover dough and place in a warm area to rise – approx 1 hr
- When double in volume pour onto well oiled tray
- Slice 5 red onions and 6 cloves of garlic, sweat with 2oz of Rosemary leaves until tender
- When dough on tray has risen to about 1 inch in height tuck onion mixture into dough, sprinkle with salt flakes
- Bake at 185oC for approx 40 minutes