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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Sheila’s Summer Pudding

One of our customer’s absolute favourites; this superb seasonal dessert is a real show stopper and is really quite simple to make.

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One Pudding serves two people. All you will need is the following:

An even amount of fresh Strawberries, Red Currants, Black Currants, Blueberries and Raspberries.

1Tbsp of Sugar

A splash of water.

A load of medium sliced White Bread.

Fresh cream and fresh Fruit to garnish.

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Begin by simmering the Strawberries, Red Currants, Black Currants and Blueberries in a saucepan, on the hob with a splash of water and the sugar. It is important that you don’t allow the mixture to boil. The fruit should become soft, but not mushy.

Once off the heat, add the Raspberries and leave the fruit to cool.

Meanwhile, cut out tops and bottoms for your puddings, using whatever vessel you are going to use for a mould as a guide (Sheila uses glass trifle bowls). Also cut out strips of bread to form the sides of your puddings.

When your fruit mixture has cooled, pour into a colander and capture the juice in another bowl. Soak your bread pieces in the juice. Do not throw any excess juice away; you will use it when serving your puddings.

Fit your bread pieces around the moulds and fill until they are bursting full of fruit. Place the bread lids on top.

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Find something flat, like a tray, to place over the top of the puddings and put something heavy top to weigh it down. Leave like this in the fridge for one day.

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Once the puddings have set, tip them carefully upside down and out of their moulds. Cut each pudding into quarters using two ‘triangular’ shaped quarters per dessert. Pour over some of the remaining juice and pipe freshly whipped cream between the slices. Garnish with fresh fruit.

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