Category Archives: Semi evergreen herbs

Wholemeal Sage & Parmesan Crumpets

Crumpets (English muffins to Americans) are a delicious comfort food and should be served hot, topped with butter, honey, melted cheese or jam.  Usually crumpets are made with plain flour and are cooked in metal rings so that they become 2 – 3cm deep bread honeycombs.  I prefer to eat crumpets with a savoury topping so have created this sugar free recipe which includes fresh sage, Parmesan cheese and wholemeal flour.  Fresh sage (Salvia officinalis, NL: Salie) is readily available throughout the year, has many medicinal uses such as relieving cold symptoms and goes wonderfully well with Parmesan.

The crumpet batter can alternatively be poured from a tablespoon onto the cooking surface to make a thinner version, which is quicker to cook and could be called savoury Pikelets.  If you try this method cook the first side until the top appears to be dry, then flip them over and cook for a further minute or two.

Wholemeal Sage and Parmesan Crumpets
(makes 16 – 18 with rings or 36+ if poured)

300ml milk
300ml water
425g strong wholemeal flour
45g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons fast action dried yeast
(plus a frying pan or griddle, four metal biscuit cutters or small flan rings* and oil)

N.B. A bread maker may be used for steps 1 – 3. Simply add all ingredients to the bread pan with paddle attached and run the dough program straight away. Check after 1 hour and remove when you see the batter is full of bubbles.

  1. Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan, over a low heat.  Don’t let it get hot as that will kill the yeast which you will soon add, lukewarm is fine.
  2. Put the flour, chopped sage and Parmesan in a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and salt.
  3. Add the warm milk and water to the flour mixture, little by little as you stir, to form a smooth, thick batter.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave at room temperature for between 60 – 90 minutes, until the batter has expanded and is full of bubbles.
  5. Lightly oil the inside of the metal rings and the frying pan or griddle surface, then gently heat the pan/griddle.
  6. Place the rings on the griddle or frying pan and spoon about 1cm depth of batter into each ring.  N.B. The batter will further expand as it cooks so adding a greater depth will only result in overflowing rings or crumpets which are uncooked in the middle.
  7. Gently cook until the batter has bubbled and the top of the crumpets looks dry (about 5 – 8 minutes)
  8. Loosen the edges of the crumpets with a small sharp knife before removing the rings and turning the crumpets. Cook the other side until golden brown.
  9. Clean and re-oil the pan/griddle and rings before cooking the second and subsequent batches.

The crumpets can be reheated in a toaster or under a grill.  If your crumpets turn out too thick and are undercooked in the middle, you can slice them in half through the middle and finish them off under the grill.

*If you don’t have small flan rings or biscuit cutters you can easily use clean tuna cans or something similar.  Remove both ends with a can opener and use the can as a ring.


Creamed Savory Jerusalem artichokes & Brussels sprouts

Jerusalem artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes

Yesterday, I was kindly given a half Kilo of Jerusalem artichokes by my friends at de Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam. After seeking inspiration in The River Cottage Cookbook and Jekka’s Herb Cookbook, I concocted this simple and tasty recipe using fresh Winter Savory (the mystery herb I purchased in France recently) and dried Herbes de Provence.  We enjoyed it as an accompaniment to white fish, just a few hours after the Jerusalem artichokes were dug up.

You may well be thinking that this recipe will cause some unwelcome digestive effects!  Both Jerusalem artichokes and Brussels sprouts are currently in season but both have a reputation for causing flatulence.  However the addition of fresh Winter Savory (Satureja montana) aids and stimulates digestion, helping to prevent flatulence and it enhances the flavour to this side dish.  The Herbes de Provence mix I used also contains plenty of Winter Savory (26%).  The Dutch name for Winter Savory is Bonekruid, literally bean herb.  Perhaps this pertains to it’s ability to aid the digestion of legumes?  Jekka’s Herb Cookbook contains a recipe for broad beans with Summer Savory, I must try it.

Creamed Savory Jerusalem artichokes & sprouts

(Serves 3-4 as a side dish)

500g Jerusalem artichokes

Creamed Savory Jerusalem artichokes & Brussels sprouts
Creamed Savory Jerusalem artichokes & Brussels sprouts

250g Brussels sprouts
4 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tsp finely chopped fresh Winter Savory
1 tsp dried Herbes de Provence
50g grated Cheddar cheese or Goudse jonge belegen cheese
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

  • Peel and roughly chop the Jerusalem artichokes and sprouts.  Simmer in a little water for about 5 minutes, until the sprouts have softened and the artichokes are thoroughly cooked.
  • Drain the vegetables before adding the dried herbs, chopped fresh herbs and creme fraiche.  Stir well and mash lightly.
  • Add the grated cheese before warming through on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, serve warm.