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THYME TO TREASURE AND TASTE

THYME TO TREASURE AND TASTE

“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.

Thyme is a common component in cooking and is usually found in the bouquet garni and herbes de Provence.

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 is 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

Serves 8

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

 

  1. Fry mushrooms in a pan over very high heat until all moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and add the oil, butter, onion, garlic and thyme and fry until caramelised. Combine mushroom mixture with the pine nuts and feta.
  2. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Fill each mushroom with 30 ml (2 tbsp) stuffing and place over coals. Braai for 10 – 15 minutes.

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