Homemade Christmas Gifts

As promised, here is another super simple idea for a stocking filler this Christmas. As you know we have a fabulous herb garden here at the Hundred House, and this recipe is an unusual way of preserving them. The fragrance is delightful and will bring a hint of spring to those dark February days. It’s an unusual idea and a change from more traditional edible gifts.

Fragrant and vibrant herb salts bring freshness to darker days . Use it as a finishing salt, a rub for meats or to flavour homemade stocks.

You can use any herbs you like for this recipe. I’ve created one in a Mediterranean style (basil,parsley) and one with a nod to Morocco, brimming with the freshness of mint and coriander. Anything that you have in your garden will work well, just think about what flavours you enjoy. It’s a lovely way to preserve the very last memories of summer eating .

What you need

  • 3 cups of fresh herbs.
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt ( I used Maldon Smoked Sea salt, but any coarse salt will do)

What to do 

Wash your chosen herbs and dry them thoroughly.

Remove any discoloured leaves

Place the herbs and salt in a food processor and pulse until they are blended together. Go steadily, if you go too far you will end up with a mushy mess !

Place the herbs in a sterilised jar, and store in the fridge. The herb salt will be ready in around 7 days, and will keep for up to six months.

I use this as a finishing salt, or as a rub for my favourite meats. It’ll be a real boon when barbecue season rolls around .

Any herbs can be used, I chose to create two blends based on cuisine of Morocco and the Mediterranean.

Three cups of  your chosen herbs…….

………blended with half a cup of coarse grain salt.

Blend to a coarse grind. Use the pulse setting to make sure you don’t blend the mixture too much.

A pretty ribbon and a handwritten label transform this simple idea into an unusual gift.

This is such a simple make, and a smashing alternative to the swathes of shortbread and chocolates that we are used to. Combine it with a voucher for  lunch or dinner at the Hundred House and you have a perfect gift for any lover of great food.

I hope you enjoy making and giving this lovely gift, remember to subscribe to get our regular updates and recipes. Liking  and following our Facebook page will make sure you never miss a post from our blog.

 

 

 

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Henry’s Herb Blog

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A couple of weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with Henry in the Herb Garden and Vegetable Patch, learning about just a handful of the varieties grown by him and the team.

Over 27 years ago, when Henry and Sylvia first took on and began renovation of the Hundred House, the gardens were not the spectacular site they are today. Henry describes them in their former state, as a mere lawn at the front and a run down vegetable patch to the rear, that had been neglected for a number of years.

Today, Henry alone spends upwards of 25 hours a week tending the gardens, along with Head Housekeeper Libby, and plant expert, Denise.

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You may or may not know that the rooms at the Hundred House, are named after plants and herbs that we grow onsite with Rose Geranium, Fennel and Dill and Anise being but a few.

Golden Marjoram~ According to English legend, Goblins hate Marjoram and should be sewn in one’s garden to ward them off. It is a very hardy plant and grows quickly with a sunny hue and an uplifting, zesty taste. Works very well in tomato sauces and in salads or casseroles.

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Anise~ Over the years, Anise was thought to be a cure for sleepiness when chewed and used as a very early antiseptic. Has a similar flavour to Star Anise, Fennel and Licorice. The seeds can be ground in a Pestle and Mortar and used in Jams and Compots.

Angelica~ Pagans believed that Angelica would protect against negative energies and and promote healing. Identified by its lovely large, star burst flowers. This ‘herb of Angels’, is actually a member of the Parsley family. Candied Angelica is popularly used to decorate cakes and desserts or to flavour Gin and sweet wines.

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Rose Geranium~With a very sweet, rosy scent with minty overtones; Rose Geranium has been used through the ages as an antidepressant. Excellent when used to infuse jams and preserves and can be used in many cakes and desserts.

Buckler Leaf Sorrel~The name supposedly derived from the French word for ‘sour’, Buckler Leaf Sorrel has a tangy, lemony flavour. It can be used in salads, as a garnish, in soups, or compliments fish excellently. Because of its strong taste, large quantities are not needed.

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