Sunday, May 21, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging: Rosemary Redux

We eat roast lamb a lot round here, in the standard permutations of rosemary and garlic, rosemary and anchovy, rosemary, garlic AND anchovy - you get the picture. One of my last efforts included shop-bought rosemary and it was just UGH, nasty and bitter, left me wondering why I'd bothered to put it in at all!

Buying rosemary is a bit of a new phenomenon for me, as I've tended to live in houses with enormous rosemary plants. One so much so, that when meeting a neighbour for the first time, she exclaimed "Oh so you own that rosemary - the entire street helps themselves to it!" And the rosemary we planted in the last house grew so quickly that visitors could snap off a few arm-length branches without any visible effect. So paying $2.99 for a piddly package of rancid rosemary does not thrill me.

But after the last debacle I decided to go raid the fledgling potted rosemary in the garden for a handful of needles. I was cracking open my copy of The Silver Spoon to make the simple Cosciotto Arrosto. The bush withstood the pillage and soon I was happily wrapping the needles in sage and poking them into little slits of lamb fat. Then scattered with garlic chunks and slices of pancetta, a tip of wine and vinegar, it was into the oven for a long roast.

This time the rosemary tasted sweet yet strong. A most pleasing result. And, speaking of which, I am most delighted that I managed to enter Weekend Herb Blogging again, after many missed weekends. Check out the rest at Kalyn's Kitchen!


At 8:42 PM, Blogger Kalyn said...

You're so lucky to have huge rosemary plants like that. In Utah, the rosemary sometimes survives through the winter, if it's a mild one, but not always. This year my plant did come back, but it's still quite small. I love lamb with rosemary and this sounds wonderful.

At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Ellie said...

Ooer, is rosemary a hearty plant to grow? I haven't attempted growing herbs since I tried (and failed) multiple times with basil...

where would you suggest is the best place to get a little seedling from? Supermarket, or is a garden store best?

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Kitekato said...

Rosemary is very easy to grow from a cutting.
When teh bush has some fresh new growth, snip about 5cm from the tip, remove the leave at the bottom,stick it in a pot with some new potting mix. water it daily for a few weeks, and befor eyou know it, your Rosemary will be growing nicely.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Ange said...

Sounds great & agree on the herbs, I try to grow whatever I can on my herb shelf in my courtyard that Michael so kindly built for me. My rosemary is great but have been having great problems keeping coriander & basil alive so if I have to buy them I try & at least get them from a market rather than the dodgy supermarket packs!

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous sher said...

What a beautiful picture!!! Out here in Northern California, rosemary is used extensively as a landscaping shrub, because it's so tough and drought resistant. And it's beautiful too.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger plum said...

Hi Kalyn - it didn't even occur to me that rosemary doesn't thrive everywhere! It's such a hardy herb. They must be some winters!

Hi Ellie - it is unbelievably easy to grow. I've always bought small bushes for $10 or so from garden centres. They've stayed quite small when potted, but once planted, zoom up!

Hi Kitekato - yup the Figman transplanted some of our old rosemary bush here in cuttings and it seems to be coming along nicely.

Hi Ange - yeah at this time of year coriander is a lost cause I think! Pity.

Hi Sher - yes rosemary is used like that here in Australia. I often see it planted in between lavender - two mediterannean plants for a vaguely mediterannean climate!


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