One week rolls into the next and now it’s time to say goodbye to October. My other half and I have been busy spending time in the garden, repotting, fertilizing plants, visiting nurseries and buying flowering annuals. With Bahrain’s arid climate gardening is a challenge, but we do our best and over the years with trial and error, we have carved out a little oasis in the desert we are proud of.
This time of year we also plant out new herbs to use with cooking. I’ve had most success growing thyme, mint, oregano, basil, chives, rosemary, bay leaf and lemongrass. Although most succumb to the searing heat of July, August and September, a few manage to survive the summer, although looking a bit worse for wear.
Also, planted a new herb called Cuban Oregano. Now, to confuse you further… it’s called Zaatar in Bahrain, Mexican Mint, Spanish Thyme and Indian Borage in other parts of the world. Take your pick… I’ll stick with Cuban.
With my bees in mind, planted a moringa tree earlier this year. Further reading found this tree to have many health benefits and is a welcome addition to our garden. You can even add the branches to stews… haven’t tried this yet but have made tea using the leaves. If you have the climate it’s worth planting one in your garden… check out the benefits of moringa.
One way of using a glut of basil leaves is to make a simple herb oil. It only takes a few minutes to prepare by blending a few ingredients in a small food processor. Use the herb oil to brush over cooked meats and fish, drizzle over roast vegetables, quiche and frittata. Or toss with salads and pastas. Basil oil keeps for a couple of days refrigerated or you could freeze some in small containers. An easy way to bring flavors from the garden into your kitchen.
50g basil leaves
125ml olive oil or virgin oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice, (optional)
1 peeled garlic clove, (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
How to make:
Add the basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic clove and sea salt into a small food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more seasoning if necessary. Pour into a bottle and store in the refrigerator until required. Use within three days.
Note: Half the recipe if you need less.