There’s one sure-fire way to make sure you’re eating local and seasonal food –grow it yourself. But with most of us living in the urban metropolis, barely there balconies and postage stamp-sized outdoor spaces come as part of the parcel.
Luckily, even if you’ve only a windowsill to perch a pot, it’s more than likely you can grow some delicious greens to add flourishes to your food. Microgreens and baby leaf herbs are packed full of flavour and nutrients and are perfect to grow at home in very limited space. Top chefs love to use them in salads and garnishes, at our Raki 20 dinner series, Smoke and Salt added homegrown microgreens to add another layer of flavour and freshness to their dishes.
Harvested as young seedlings or shoots, they grow brilliantly alongside growing sprouting seeds and baby leaf herbs. To help you on your way, here’s a run down of some top plants to pack into your window box to add some homegrown flair to your raki table dishes:
Leaves and stalks of fennel are perfect for flavouring fish. It layers another aniseed note alongside Yeni Raki. Chop up and to use in salads and sauces, it works great in vegetables, fish and egg recipes.
Its peppery green leaves are used generously across Middle Eastern cooking from tagines to chutneys and its seeds are indispensable in hot, spicy dishes. Great for growing on a sunny indoor windowsill.
This one is a little temperamental, it grows best in warm, sheltered and sunny spot in fertile soil, making an indoor windowsill perfect. The most common variety is Sweet Basil,however don’t be afraid to try different varieties, such as Basil Aristotle and Floral Spires. Tear up leaves in salad and pasta dishes with tomatoes for an Italian flair.
The peppery young leaves of Eruca Sativa, or Rucola plant are ideal to add a distinctively spice flavour to salads. They can be grown in a pot on the windowsill, sow in rows (1cm deep, rows 30cm apart) from February to September. Sow every few weeks for a constant supply.
This sprouted seed is rich in nutrients and vitamins making it a healthy garnish for salads, sandwiches, stir fries and casseroles with a subtle nutty flavour. If you are an impatient soul, these are the ones for you -they’re super quick to grow and harvest in just 4-6 days.