There’s nothing better than a thriving garden. For some it is not something that is easy to achieve and certainly many people struggle with keeping things alive, let alone thriving. There are plants that are easier than others to get going, and once you get it right, you can hit a sweet spot that sees things growing so well, that sometimes they stretch well over and above their peers, and start taking on more and more of the real estate within the garden.
When that happens in the herb garden (as it is for me right now) you have to get creative, and start to work out a way to use what you have immediately, or ways in which you can store them for use later.
For me, Mint and Basil are two plants that get WAY TOO EXCITED; they are growing fast and spreading like weeds. (As a side note, we do live on the edge of a small rain-forest, and in a snake prone area and fragrant herbs are said to be a deterrent- rest assured, these plants are going nowhere!)
The basil plants are now getting so big that they end up growing horizontal from the weight- I just cannot keep up with the growth, and let’s be realistic- adding a few basil leaves to your pasta sauce just ain’t going to cut it if you are attempting to use what you grow without wastage.
So today, I’m sharing a couple of my favourite recipe ideas for you to enjoy, if or when your herb garden is flourishing.
My Lychee Mojito;
Ahhh, nothing like an alcoholic beverage tarted up with tropical fruits and herbs to make you feel like you have escaped the rat race and are away on holidays somewhere luxurious. This recipe might be a little softer on the alcohol than if you were to order it at a bar, but the focus is instead on the fresh herb flavour. If you like it stronger hold back on the soda.
1T Brown sugar
10-15 mint leaves
1 Lime (cut into wedges)
200ml Soda Water/Sparkling Mineral Water
60ml White Rum (Bacardi)
Ice as required
Start by placing the lime wedges in the bottom of the glass along with the sugar- muddle them together so that the juices are released from the lime. Place the mint leaves in your hands and ‘clap’- the bruising will release the oils from the leaves, along with the flavour. Throw these in the glass along with the rum, then top the glass up with soda, lychees, and ice. If you like your drink sweeter, you can add a little of the lychee juice from the can. This drink is equally enjoyable sans alcohol; in fact it has been quite a few years since I have added alcohol to it with three littlies around. It is so fresh and tasty and certainly makes a tasty drink to enjoy at the end of the day or at a party without feeling it the next day.
The Besto Pesto;
Basil grows thick….and quick. It is hard to keep up when it is thriving, but then again, for many months throughout the year it doesn’t grow well at all. By harvesting your crop and turning it into delicious pesto, you can enjoy pastas, salads and more anytime! Plus, it freezes well so you can half your batch and putting it in ice cubes for quick defrosting!
2 C (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 C nuts (lightly toasted in a non stick pan)- I like pine nuts and blanched almonds best
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A pinch of salt
Pesto is super easy- you basically just pop it all in the food processor and hit GO! You can add slightly more or less olive oil depending on how ‘lose’ you like it.
If you have any plants that are growing particularly well and you need some help with recipe ideas to use the excess, drop us a line in the comments section or via our Facebook page.