Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Seasonal Recipes: Make Mine Mint


I had such a terrific response in my comments last week when I asked for some ideas for using mint in salads, I just had to follow them up with a post of their own.

As you can see I'm having no problem with growing Tashkent mint - it's self-seeded itself from the pot towards the back of the picture into the much larger pot which is home to one of my apple trees. As this mint likes to spread as well as self-seed, I think it's a good idea to use up this unexpected bounty before it starts affecting the tree.

NevilleB (sorry Neville, I can't link to you) suggested:

Just enjoyed a salad for lunch at a a favourite pub that uses seasonal ingredients - baby broad beans (shelled) with crumbs of fresh sheep's curd and finely chopped mint in a light vinaigrette served with a couple of slices of light and airy focaccia with massive holes! Delicious, I've used goats curd myself which has a a slightly stronger taste, or you could use the mint with small pieces of feta.

Mark Willis suggested Tabbouleh. I've only made this dish using flat leaf parsley before, so I'm hoping this Otto Lenghi recipe is what Mark has in mind.

Regular Salad Days contributor Mel at Ediblethings suggested:

My go-to salad for mint is a Nigel Slater one, with radish, cucumber, spring onion, mint and flat leaved parsley: veg cut chunky, except the spring onions,which are finely sliced; use the whole parsley leaves and roughly torn mint; mix together in a salad bowl; crumble over some good quality feta; then dress roughly with a glug of red wine (or homemade blackberry) vinegar, a larger glug of good ev olive oil, and some pepper. Very, very good. It's always a hit when I serve it at parties. 

Mel has promised me her recipe for blackberry vinegar for Salad Days too :)

Liz, my Salad Days regular recipe contributor from Oz has the following ideas:

Other than tabouleh, which is my favourite salad of all time, try beetroot mint and feta, or pumpkin, orange, mint and quinoa. Luckily she has all her recipes on her fab blog, Suburban Tomato. Liz - your beetroot, mint and feta recipe is on my menu for tonight :)

A quick google of mint and salad resulted in the following delicious sounding recipes:
I also tried to find Nigel Slater's recipe online, as mentioned by Mel. Instead I found his mint recipes article from The Observer which describes a different, more of an eastern influenced salad containing mint, plus lots of ideas for unusual non-salady uses.

I'm pondering a variation on potato salad when my new potatoes are ready on the allotment. Potato and mint go so well together, I'm sure it'll go well in a salad too. If not, then I can always have a side dish of buttered new potatoes and mint to accompany my salad!

My very simple version is to take some newly boiled new potatoes, cube them, then coat with either mayonnaise or salad cream (depending what I have to hand), plus some snipped chives if I have some. I see the mint replacing the chives in this case. However, this more complex version, from The Guardian contains both mint and chives. You may also like to look at this collection of recipes for making potato salad, not necessarily containing mint.

Looks like I have lots of experimenting in the kitchen to come :)

5 comments:

  1. Fab - on the day I link to Nigel Slater recipes, @Petra_HM and I have a conversation with him on Twitter re roses. He tweeted a picture of R. 'Kew Gardens' in its first year in his garden, which I just happened to have acquired too :)

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  2. There are many marriages that last..but strawberries with mint..that's a match made in heaven.

    Strawberries with basil are another beautiful marriage....fresh greens from your garden..a bit of raspberry vinegar...bliss.

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  3. mint goes well with watermelon too. I've seen mint and watermelon ice lolly recipes that I'd like to try.

    I cut a recipe from a magazine years ago that is delicious, if a bit unusual in the combination of ingredients.
    Mix together roasted onion wedges and cooked or canned chickpeas and mix with a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chopped mint then gently stir in chunks of (mostly) de-seeded watermelon.

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  4. Hi Michelle,

    I didn't get around to blogging this last year, so I'll do it this year with photos etc.

    This recipe is adapted from Pam Corbin's recipe for raspberry vinegar, but I use less sugar. I've also made it with no sugar before, but it does need a little, I think.

    But as promised, the recipe for blackberry vinegar is as follows:
    Put some blackberries in a non-corrosive bowl (ie glass or ceramic) and cover by about 2 cm with either white wine or cider vinegar. I think cider is best, but use what you have.
    Cover with a tea towel, and leave to steep for 4-5 days.
    Stir it when you remember, and it's fine to smush the berries a bit when you stir it.
    Strain through muslin, leave it for a few hours, or overnight to get most of the juice. You can discard the berries, or use them (sparingly) with pheasant or venison (if you eat meat). They are pickled and last a while in the fridge. Seems a shame to waste them :)
    Measure the strained liquid, and add 300 g of sugar per half litre in a saucepan. Bring it to the boil, stirring while the sugar dissolves. Let it boil for about 10 minutes, and then take it off the heat.
    Bottle in sterile bottles when it is cold.

    It is great in salad dressings, you can use a splash instead of wine in tomato based pasta sauces, and in stews. I have also learned to accept beetroot if they are drizzled with this (or balsamic) and roasted with lots of thyme.

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  5. Thanks for the links, I hope you liked the salad. Unfortunately my mint is in a bad mood at the moment and is refusing to grow - clearly it prefers Spring. Incidently this blog pingbacked on comments - is this you? If not something to follow up...
    http://gardeningtips.buzz-line.net/seasonal-recipes-make-mine-mint-2/

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