|Fresh turnips and beetroot from the polytunnel |
and a selection of herbs plucked from the herb patch
On the menu was a propagation masterclass by Steve, including the dark art of grafting, as well as a barbecue lunch. Top of the crops this month was strawberries. The sun hadn't shone enough yet on my own strawberry patch to rustle up something strawberryish to take along, so instead I concentrated on the discussion topic for the gathering which was herbs.
I started the veg group at the same time as the blokes baking group, under the general umbrella of the Fenland Smallholders Club. Over a year later and both groups are still going strong, which pleases me. The idea of the veg group is that we gather once a month at someone's place and discuss growing. We usually end up going off topic and discussing all sorts of other things, but one aspect which I am keen we hold on to is how we use our food once we've grown it. We all bring something along for the table and I encourage people to incorporate the Top of the Crops.
But with no strawberries, I was damned if I was going to go out and buy some, especially knowing that within a couple of weeks we will be facing a glut of the things. Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy the pavlova which somebody brought along.
But I opted to go down the herb route. I knew that somebody would bring along a herb bread. The cheesy herby scones that I made for the last blokes baking would work, but for some reason I got into my head the idea of making herb biscuits, each with a different sort of herb to try.
I eventually settled on a recipe for herb crackers, which I started making at 8.30pm on Saturday evening. If they didn't turn out well, I would be up late thinking of something else to make!
I adapted the recipe I found quite a lot, so here's what I came up with.
To make 1 small ball of dough, enough for about 20 small crackers:
1/4 tsp salt
about 3 teaspoons of your chosen fresh herb, finely chopped
Mix the above ingredients together in a bowl.
Add 1 tbsp. oil and 35 - 40 ml water.
Quickly mix up with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball of dough. Knead very briefly to bring it into a ball, adding more flour or water as necessary to make it the right consistency for rolling.
|4 different versions ready to be rolled and cooked|
Finally prick each cracker several times with a fork to stop them puffing up. Sprinkle with coarse salt if you wish. This gives the crackers a pretzelly taste, but the salt does mask the herby taste a little.
|Rolled and scored, ready for the oven.|
The end result was so tasty that, by the time it occurred to me to take a photo, there was just this one cracker left!
How much herb you add to your recipe is completely up to you. It's a ridiculously cheap, easy and quick recipe, so feel free to experiment.