Three days in, and May is looking pretty good – could it be that winter is really over? There’s been blossom on the greengage tree for a little over a week now, and in the last few days the flowers have started to open on the damson tree too. Last year the fruit trees blossomed and the bees buzzed around the flowers, then it turned really cold again and come autumn there was no fruit. I’m hoping for better this time… there will be jars of damson jam, and lots of apple and greengage crumbles.
The warmer weather has brought out the insects too, I know this because I spent a large part of yesterday rescuing bees from the greenhouse. Bumblebees and tawny mining bees seem to be drawn to the greenhouse, but then can’t find their way out again. I only started noticing the tawny mining bees a few years ago, when tiny volcanoes of earth started appearing in the garden. They’re lovely bees with ginger hairs and no sting. They nest in lawns and flower beds (the tiny volcanoes mark the entrance to their nests), and lay their eggs in underground tunnels. The adults are active from April to June – just the right time of year for pollinating fruit trees, and the busy females collect pollen and nectar to feed their larvae which then overwinter as pupae before emerging the following spring.
In other news, this is The Garden Deli’s 100th post… so really I should be offering a celebratory cake recipe. But, with two birthdays to celebrate in the last week, and some fabulous biscuits and a cheesecake made in school food technology classes, the house is swimming in sweet goodies. Instead, here’s a recipe using my favourite plants from the garden – seasonal herbs to flavour some Yorkshire puddings. With a bit of sunshine, the chives, parsley, marjoram, tarragon … well all the herbs really, are starting to put on some serious growth. I already have a list of herby recipes to try over the next few weeks – Cathy’s herby stuffed mushrooms, Louisa’s roasted mushroom pearl barley risotto with parsley and thyme, and Andrea’s wild greens pie are all bookmarked to be made soon.
Meantime, here’s my offering for May’s Herbs on Saturday – I used a mixture of parsley, chives, tarragon and young thyme leaves in these Yorkshire puddings, but any seasonal herbs would work well. Herbs on Saturday is run by Karen at Lavender and Lovage, and is always a great source of ideas. This month the challenge is being hosted by Anneli who blogs over at Delicieux – another blog to read for lots of great recipes.
Herby Yorkshire puddings
175g plain flour
salt & freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
4 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
200 ml semi-skimmed milk
12 tbsp olive oil
Sift the flour into a large bowl, season with salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg. Add the chopped herbs and stir to distribute evenly through the flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour, add the egg and stir to mix. Add the milk and water and whisk the mixture until there are no lumps of flour left.
Let the batter rest at room temperature while the oven heats. Preheat the oven to 220oC, 425F, gas 7. Put 1 tbsp olive oil into each hole of a 12 hole muffin tin and put the tin in the oven to heat.
When the oven is ready and the oil is hot, add 21/2 tbsp of batter to each hole of the muffin tin. Bake the puddings for about 20 minutes – until they’re risen and golden brown. Best eaten straight away.
I love Yorkshire puds, great idea adding herbs. It’s so lovely seeing everything bursting into life at the moment isn’t it, but mainly just PSB, herbs and weeds to eat in this garden so far. Thanks lots for mentioning my wild greens pie.
PSB, herbs and weeds sound like a pretty good harvest!
Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand said:
Lovely twist on a traditional Yorkshire pud and the amount of olive oil used is actually less than expected and semi-skimmed milk too! All are pluses in my book! Can you freeze them Sarah?
Do you know, I’ve never tried freezing Yorkshire puddings – they usually get eaten pretty quickly here. You can buy them frozen from the supermarket… so it must be possible.
Chez Foti said:
Oh these look gorgeous. But I have to admit to being more than a tad dissappointed when my Mum used to add fresh herbs to her Yorkshires when I was little. Though tasty with a sunday dinner they not so good as a pudding with golden syrup afterwards which was a bit of a ritual in our house. So we had to beg her every week to leave the herbs out! I will however be trying yours out as my kids are clueless to the delights of leftover yorkshire pudding and syrup.
Chez Foti said:
….and thanking you very kindly for my risotto mention!
No problem – I made it using rice instead of the pearl barley and the flavours were very good, all the more reason to try it again with pearl barley
Yes, the herby version probably wouldn’t be so great with golden syrup – the answer has to be two batches of batter!
My greengage trees have yet to flower although the damson has burst into blossom – like you I had no fruit last year – so fingers crossed we have no really hard frosts now. I had to rescue a bee from a spiders web in the greenhouse yesterday, it was furious (the bee not the spider) and was buzzing fit to bust. I sometimes make Yorkshire puddings with sage and grated onion – bliss – just like my Grandma used to make.
Now sage and grated onion sounds really good…
Lisa the Gourmet Wog said:
Happy 100th post! Love the herb yorkshire puddings 🙂
Thanks Lisa! Never thought I’d get to 100.
I was thinking that the positive side of such a cold early spring was that it held off the blossom from coming too early. Often we get that warm spell in March and it all flowers only to get frosted, I’m looking forward to a great crop this year. Our cherries are blossoming but the apples aren’t out yet. Love the herby Yorkshires idea!
I think last year’s blossom was earlier – a later start should give everything a better chance, let’s hope so anyway.
Anneli Faiers said:
Congratulations on your 100th post! I love the sound of these herby yorkies. I have never had herbs in a yorkshire pud before but I’ll bet it’s lovely. A great idea that I shall definitely have to try. Thanks for entering Herbs On Saturday x
Thanks Anneli! I’m looking forward to seeing the other Herbs on Saturday entries – there are always so many fab recipes.
Congratulations on 100 posts! (And thank you for the link!) I love Yorkshire puds, but always forget about them due to associations with roast beef… but these herby ones would go well with my veggie sausages, so thanks for a great recipe idea again! 😀
We had these with veggie sausages just last night – some onion gravy is nice with them too…
Can’t believe I’ve never thought to add herbs to Yorkshire puds, what a good idea. Yours look and sound scrummy! Fingers crossed the blossom will lead to much more fruit this year. I’m very hopeful for our apples – had a disasterous year last year…
A good fruit harvest would be very welcome this year – it’s nice to get some jam made and fruit in the freezer ready for the winter months (can’t believe I’m thinking ahead to next winter already!)
I have to admit I’ve never made a Yorkshire pudding and only ever eaten one once. Congrats on the 100 posts, I’m sure I will enjoy the next 100 as much as I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of the first!
Thanks Liz! I tend to make Yorkshire puddings because, even though they’re not pasta or pizza, my daughter will eat them – adds a bit of variety to our diet. Next time you’re in Yorkshire, you’ll have to drop round and we can make some!
Your herby Yorkshire puddings sound wonderful.
Thank you Karen – seeing the recipe for chickpea soup on your blog has got me thinking the puddings would be good with a nice rich chickpea stew.
I think you are right.
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