As the weather is turning cooler by the day in Southern Ontario, I am getting ready to go through the labyrinth of overgrown crops and weeds to pull, as well as pruning perennials and mulching the garden beds, in preparation for the adversity of the winter months. I am also harvesting as much of my herbs as I can, because even the perennials will eventually shed all their tops and go dormant. I will share my techniques for preserving herbs down the line in another post, but for this one, it was time to prep some tea and treats, as pictured above, for another Su’s Virtual Afternoon Tea.
I used some fresh trimmings from my Scarborough Fair themed garden patch, inspired by the traditional English ballad lyrics: “Are you going to Scarborough fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” (pictured below, from left to right), and a few bright red nasturtium flowers:
First, I washed all herbs and flowers; then, I chopped parsley leaves and nasturtium petals, plucked a few leaves of rosemary and thyme, and mixed them all with a quarter cup of cream cheese (photo below, left). This herbed cream cheese served as a spread on crust-less slices of bread (homemade), which were closed and cut into bite-size sandwiches (photo below, right):
I placed them in a plate and decorated with more nasturtiums:
Sage (Salvia officinalis) first arrived in Mexico during Spanish colonial times, and was readily adopted for cleansing rituals and medicinal uses, often present in Mexican gardens. The name in Spanish is salvia, the same as in Latin, from the form salvare – to save or cure. True to its name, sage has a range of anti-inflammatory and-antioxidant properties, to soothe mouth, throat and stomach soreness, as well as to protect against neurological disorders; also, burning sage is apparently not only good for spiritual healing, since the smoke may actually purify the air, and has been anecdotally reported as a remedy for asthma. I had always used sage as the star herb with poultry and stuffing, never in an infusion, but my husband told me that his mom used to prepare it for him when he was young, and loved it, so now I frequently prepare a nice pot of sage infusion by simply seeping sage leaves in freshly boiled water for about five minutes:
The sandwiches were the perfect treat for this infusion, with the mild flavours of the cheese and bread still being discerned, and complementing the peppery sage with a punch of flavour from the other herbs in the spread:
Finally, for a sweet addition, the jam treats were store-bought British Garibaldi biscuits:
I saw them recently at the supermarket, and thought it would be fun to include them since I had mentioned these “golden crispy biscuits filled with currants” (photo below, left) in one of my previous posts, to contrast them with their Mexican namesake, the Garibaldi cupcake (photo below, right):
I am linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge for October 15, 2020.
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