Hello September! Hello cooler weather! Hello my long squished and squashed, packed away jumper collection – welcome back! And, welcome back Sara who this month, inspires us to embrace the seasonal changes that are to come, by experimenting with the herb Lovage in our cooking. Read with care; sheer deliciousness described, may cause strong food envy and tummy rumbling.
Written by Sara Dixon
Here we are, between summer and autumn. Here alongside us stands Lovage, 6 foot tall sometimes, giving us flavours that can be both summery and autumnal!
Lovage tastes like very strong celery when used raw giving a perfect summer oomph! But, when you cook it in any way, the celery flavour begins to disappear and you are left with a warm, spicy, peppery, even salty flavour. In other words, something warming for autumn. See why it’s so perfect for September?
Widely known during ancient times for its ability to mask the smell of feet, to cure flatulence and to be handy as an aphrodisiac, it’s one of those herbs that was whatever you wanted it to be! Easy to grow in spring from seed, or popped in the ground (or pot) as a young cutting, it likes nice and moist ‘heavy’ soil that has lots of goodness in it. But, I have grown mine over the years in dry soil, moist soil, and soil with few nutrients. So, lovage is easy to please in reality; it likes sun, it likes shade, it is a good easy herb to have around. Don’t get too het up on what the good books say, just have a go!
This is one of my favourite ways of using it raw:
Chop up you lovage.
Take some warm or cold meat or beetroot, some warm or cold sliced apple and some warm or cold tomatoes.
Add together and…eat!
A favourite way of using it cooked:
‘Celery’ and Cheese Soup
Use lovage instead of the celery when it is not easy to find.
Melt some butter and add onion.
Slowly let the onion caramelise.
Add stock (I prefer homemade chicken stock but you can use whatever you fancy).
Chop some lovage and put it in with the stock.
Leave to simmer for as long as you care to.
Crumble in the cheese (try using Stilton).
Let it all continue to simmer for about 5 more minutes. Then, wait for it, add some double cream!
You’ll get just a hint of celery – not too much – and a beautiful flavour of salty peppery warmth.
So, as we stand mid seasonal change, give lovage a go, or add it to your list of herbs to have next year.
Sara runs Hawkwell Herbs, selling herbs that she grows herself and teaching cooking courses. Visit hawkwellherbs.co.uk to discover more and find Sara on Instagram @hawkwellherbs. If you would like to receive the next Herb of the Month straight to your inbox, email “Herb of the Month please” to email@example.com