“Those herbs which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but, being trodden upon and crushed, are three; that is, burnet, wild thyme and watermints. Therefore, you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread.”
Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)
Summer is almost here and we are all looking forward to the freshness of an early summer morning and the beauty of a balmy sunset. More than the beauty of the winelands, there are of course, also the smells. Walking through our herb garden touching the herbs as you pass, you release a host of heady herb flavours that unwillingly bring a sense of peace and calm.
One of our favourite herbs is Thyme. There are various types of thyme of which the best known are Garden thyme and Lemon thyme. Close in appearance these perennial evergreen shrubs with their (sometimes) woody stems are covered with small, gray-green to green aromatic leaves.
It is also a herb that works exceptionally well fresh as well as dried and retains its flavour better than most other herbs when dried.
While popular in cooking, it also has medicinal uses.
Essential oil from the flowering tops is used in antiseptics such as mouthwash and sanitisers. It is used in teas to help with coughs and respiratory infections and it aids in digestion and is often used in teas, extracts and infusions.
It is however as a flavouring for food that we use thyme at Leopard’s Leap. It flavours olive oils and are used with our beef fillet, pork belly and chickens on the rotisserie. It is used on our harvest table with vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and peas and it even adds some pizazz to cheese platters with fresh figs and honey.
A rich source of vitamins such as Vitamin A, K, E and C, folic acid as well as beta carotene, there is no excuse for not adding some thyme to your menu this weekend!
Why not try our easy and delicious recipe for filled black mushrooms and pair it with the 2011 Leopard’s Leap Merlot.
Black Mushrooms filled with feta and pine nuts
100 g mushrooms, finely chopped
15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
10 ml (2 tsp) garlic, finely chopped
30 ml (2 tbsp) thyme leaves
50 g pine nuts, roasted
180 ml (3/4 cup) feta
8 big black mushrooms
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