The feeling of being ‘lost on the plot’ has evaporated – thank goodness, but hey did I fail miserably in ‘being in the moment’! Fortunately this wonderful spirited flower did not fail even after being devoured by slugs in May – a stunted Echinacea!
It may not have reached it’s height of last year, it’s about 7cm high, but three months ago it was just a stump after being devoured by slugs. I left it in the ground because I felt too sad to dig it up and ditto with this cosmos that was just a stalk in May after the slugs had a feast and now it’s also come back, albeit stunted.
The sungold cherry tomatoes are exceptionally sweet this year, but I have had a disappointing year with kale (first time ever). The majority of the seedlings just died, fortunately I do have 4 good plants; 3 cabbage black and one red Russian.
I have been busy in the kitchen with nasturtiums this week. The flowers and leaves are great in salads. I like a peppery vinegar for a salad dressing, especially with parmesan cheese. and this week I made a rosé vinegar. You can see from the pictures below why I call it a rosé vinegar. The nasturtium flowers turn the vinegar a lovely rosé colour after a few days infusion. I usually leave the flowers and petals for two weeks and then decant the vinegar into another bottle If you don’t like the rosé colour just add the leaves.
The second photo is after a 3 day cold infusion. For every 200ml of white wine vinegar I add three fairly large nasturtium leaves and 3 smallish flowers. Easy! Next stop the seeds. Nasturtium seeds are often used as a substitute for capers. The flavour is more peppery and mustardy like. Pick a cupful of the unripe, lime green seeds, rinse and leave in a bowl of water with two tablespoons of salt for 24 hours. Rinse thoroughly and place in a jar. Add one dried red chilli, 10 peppercorns and a few sprigs of thyme to 200ml of white wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Leave to cool and add the spiced mixture to the jar of seeds. I usually seal and leave in the fridge for about two months. Once opened, it will keep for up to six months. You can add the seeds to salads, pizzas, sea food dishes, pasta dishes, soups and stews.
One thing I have not made this year is nasturtium soup which is very similar to watercress soup but even more peppery (nasturtiums are also known as Indian Cress). The soup is lovely with a dollop of crème fraiche and shavings of parmesan cheese. Nasturtiums are antimicrobial and antibacterial, high in vitamin A, Bs 1, 2, & 3, C, with phytonutrients, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, carotenoids, flavonoids, and protein.