In her introduction to the recipe for sorrel soup Sophie Grigson describes it as "a real tonic on a chilly spring day." Today is a cool windy day in late spring. This soup may be served either hot or cold, but today calls for hot soup. The ingredients include large-leaved sorrel, an onion, potatoes, a bay leaf, sprigs of parsley and thyme, chicken or vegetable stock, and cream or Greek yoghurt. Sophie specifies three "big handfuls" of sorrel, but how much is that? What is a big handful? What is a big hand? I had to guess. I planted sorrel a few weeks ago and it seems to be growing well. I harvested all the biggest leaves and hoped for the best. I had hoped to take photographs of the sorrel before I cut it but the spouse was hiding his cameras in his office!
For years I have bought pre-packed and pre-washed vegetables, so standing at the kitchen sink to wash the sorrel leaves brought me back to days of carefully washing lettuce at my parents' insistence. I found three tiny caterpillars on the sorrel and evicted them immediately. Yesterday the older offspring was practising putting up his younger brother's tent in the front garden and I persuaded him to taste the sorrel and lovage raw. They have distinctive tastes - sorrel is acidic and lovage is milder. I mention this because we both chewed on unwashed leaves. When I tasted the cooked sorrel soup I could taste the acidity, but would probably add more the next time. Or else find someone with bigger hands to harvest it for me.
Check out this article by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on using sorrel.
I have mentioned having planted sorrel recently. Readers of this blog should be aware that I do not consider myself to be an accomplished or enthusiastic gardener. Our back garden is irregularly shaped and lies at an odd angle to the house. It doesn't get much sun in the right places and we have paved over some parts, so we have very little space for growing anything, let alone fruit and vegetables. This led to my decision to create a small bed in the front garden for growing herbs. I now have rosemary, a thriving sage, thyme, parsley, sorrel and lovage, all of which are in better condition than the thyme, sage, parsley and rosemary in the back garden. So far. The exception is oregano which has thrived in the back garden to such an extent that I could probably keep the local Italian restaurants supplied for a week.
I came across this website - Buzz about Bees (the title speaks for itself) - via the Herb Society's website. That's it.