Not much happened in Suffolk last week. I’m not sure it ever does. That’s what made our stay in the cottage so rejuvinating. Lighting fires, reading books, walks on cold, winter beaches with hot, salty chips shared between the four of us. That’s how we spent the days. And in the evenings, with the children asleep, we cooked simple food and read. Although, to be fair, we did watch Midsomer Murders one evening to really get into the spirit of the countryside.
It’s hard to find everyday food that isn’t fried or carb-heavy in many lunch places, especially empty February ones. Vegetables never seem to be a priority, so evening meals were our refuge. At home we’d eat simply. Some grilled monkfish with spinach and herb butter, a plate of sautéed king prawns with garlic and chilli, a bowl of padron peppers, some lemon and butter broccoli or green beans simply tossed in garlic olive oil. These suppers were an antidote to our lunches out. We fell on them gladly.
In the kitchen cupboard I found a small jar labeled ‘Almkräuter salz’. I still have no idea what an almkräuter is. But ‘salz’, and the herby, medicinal smell that came from it meant I didn’t need to call DCI Barnaby. It was great on the morning’s eggs, it shone in the salad but really stood out when I used it with the monkfish and through the wilted spinach. It’s so easy to make at home and will keep for ages. It’s best to use harder herbs such as rosemary, thyme and so on, but adding basil or the softer leaves is fine. Just make sure they don’t strangle your blender blades. The version I have made here is fairly strong on the taragon so really suits fish or steak. Adjust the quantities as you see fit. The same goes for the type of herbs.
Leaves from 4 sprigs of rosemary
Leaves from 8 sprigs of tarragon
1tbsp dried oregano (I would have used fresh, but I didn’t have any)
750g coarse, natural sea salt.
Pour the salt into the food processor (I used my nutribullet) and add the herbs. Blend until the herbs have disappeared leaving you with a vivid green powder. Store in an airtight jar.