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There are people out there who don’t like coriander.  I know this because I’ve met one.  Only one mind – most people I know will like either the tasty green leaves or the fragrant seeds, or more likely both.  It’s a herb I grow every year, or to honest it pretty much grows itself – seedlings pop up all around the veggie patch each spring without me having to sow a single seed.

Coriander flower

I grow the variety ‘Leisure’ for leaves.  It’s supposed to be slow to bolt, although I’ve never tested it against other seed to see if it really does produce leaves for longer – maybe a project for next year.

Green seeds

When the plants do run to flower (and even ‘Leisure’ does in the hotter, drier days of summer), the bees are there like a shot – supping on the nectar and doing their pollinating thing.  The pretty, white flowers are followed by green seeds.  Full of flavour and easy to harvest… these seeds are one of those ingredients you only get by growing your own.  And they are well worth growing for adding to dips and salads.

Coriander seeds

Let the seeds ripen and they turn brown.  This is where timing is everything.  Get them just as they dry enough to pull easily from the spent flower head and you have a jar full of coriander seeds to toast, grind and throw into curries and Moroccan dishes all through those cold, grey months.  Leave them just that bit too long, and you have a potential weed problem next year.  Tens of coriander seedlings sprouting up, needing to be pulled out, or left to grow for more leaves and more seeds… and so it goes on.

Breadsticks

If you do manage to get to the seeds before they fall, there are worse things you could make with them than a batch of breadsticks.  Perfect to enjoy with a glass of cold beer on a hot day… or a bowl of spicy, hot salsa on a cool, wet day.

Where do you sit with coriander growing… love it or hate it?

Coriander & lime breadsticks

200g strong white bread flour

150g coarse semolina

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp sugar

1tsp quick action dried yeast

1 tbsp olive oil

200ml warm water

1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar

finely grated zest of 1 lime

flaked sea salt to finish

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add the oil along with enough water to bring everything together and form a soft ball of dough.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes.

Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling wrap or a damp t-towel and leave to rise for about 1 hour (until it’s roughly doubled in size).

Turn the dough out onto the work surface again.  Gently press it out to form a rectangle.  Sprinkle with the coriander seeds and lime zest, then knead gently to distribute the flavours through the dough.  Cover and leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces.  Roll each piece into a breadstick shape and place them on a lined baking tray (you’ll probably need two trays).

Leave the breadsticks to rest again while the oven heats to 200oC, 400F, gas 6.  Sprinkle the shaped dough with sea salt and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the breadsticks are a light golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  These breadsticks are best eaten on the day they are baked, but will keep for a couple of days if stored in an airtight container.

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