My neighbours have a herb garden. I know this because sometimes when I go out to hang my washing, the most divine aromas waft towards me from their yard. There's a small patch they have by the fence and often I can smell they have been freshly clipped, undoubtedly for an addition to some delicious meal. I admit to having thoughts of jealousy and being tempted to nick a bit. It conjured up some lovely memories I made with my brother Peter about 20 years ago. As little kids, 4 and 6, we would duck through the neighbour's fence and pilfer strawberries from the old woman's garden. She was too decrepit to tend to it, but a large crop of strawberries thrived there every year, surrounded by a dome of netting. They were safe from the birds and so grew big and luscious, but they were far from safe from ravenous thieving little mouths and grubby hands such as ours.
I thought about how awesome that memory made me feel and then decided it wouldn't have half the thrill at the age I am now. Sigh.
My husband and I attempted a patch of our own, but it seems we have everything but green thumbs. There is always some critter that beats us to the delicious herbs we plant, and never quite enough to go around. Is there anything quite like fresh herbs? Well, I would say that Gourmet Garden's herb pastes come pretty darn close, and are super handy to have sitting in the fridge for when the caterpillars have curled up to live in all your fresh basil leaves (Don't get me started).
As part of Gourmet Garden's Cook Off, I have created or adapted a series of recipes to blog about to showcase the versatility of their herb pastes, and hopefully to shed a little inspiration to my readers.
I held a five course Gourmet Garden Dinner Party to celebrate my quarter-of-a-century birthday that hit on the 19th of this month. I invited my board of delightful reviewers and taste testers (aka the guinea pigs/ In-laws) and we had a delightful feast. I hope you enjoy the visual banquet as we had it, and get the opportunity to try a few for yourself sometime.
LUKE'S SPICY MEATBALLS WITH PLUM SAUCE (A Luke Original)
700g beef mince
2 tsp. Gourmet Garden hot chilli paste
2 tsp. Gourmet Garden coriander paste
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Gourmet Garden garlic paste
1 tsp. garam masala powder
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly until well combined. Roll into walnut sized balls, and fry until cooked through. Serve alone or with plumb sauce.
Makes approximately 30 meatballs
PLUM CHILLI SAUCE
1 tsp. Gourmet Garden Hot Chilli paste
1/2 cup plum sauce
Combine the chilli with the plum sauce in a small bowl.
Stir to combine. Serve with hot meatballs.