Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis a true native of the Mediterranean area. There are 2 species, Rosmarinus officinalis , the most widespread and most variable, ranging from white, through pink and purple to blue flowers. The second species is the prostate form – R. eriocalyx. All are evergreen and hardy perennials, which prefer a well drained sunny position. Rosemary dislikes prolonged wet winters and can suffer scorching in frosts. Only ever cut back Rosemary in the spring, after the risk of frost has disappeared. Rosemary is a great plant to grow in containers, do not over water and only feed after flowering.

The Latin name for Rosemary means Dew of the Sea, from its habit of growing close to the sea and the dew like appearance of the flowers. It is an herb steeped in mystery and magic and is a symbol of friendship, loyalty and remembrance. In Elizabethan times, a sprig of rosemary was worn as a sign of fidelity at weddings. A story from Spain relates that when the Holy family fled Egypt; the Virgin Mary had to hide from soldiers, so she spread her cloak over a rosemary bush and hid behind it. When the soldiers had passed the flowers of the rosemary had changed from white to blue in her honour.

One of the most useful culinary herbs combining well with meat, especially lamb, as well as sausages, soups and stuffing’s. Fresh sprigs can be steeped in olive oil, vinegar and wine to add flavour to sauces and dressings. Rosemary tea makes a good mouthwash against bad breath. Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties make it an effective foot soak.  As with all herbs large doses over a prolonged period may cause problems.

Rosemary Cookies – makes about 60 cookies

115g softened butter

150g caster sugar

1 egg

120g whole wheat flour

95g plain flour

2g baking powder

2 g finely chopped rosemary

Cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add egg, flour, baking powder and chopped rosemary. Divide dough into two equal log shapes pieces, wrap in cling-film and place in fridge for at least an hour.

Cut the logs into slices about 10mm thick , place on baking tray and place in a preheated oven at 180 oC for 10-12 minutes , when edges of cookies start to go brown, allow to cool on wire racks. Cookies will keep for a few days in an airtight .

The cookies are great with chees

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