Curry Plant

The curry plant is mainly grown for decoration. It has mustard coloured flowers. The name Helichrysum is Greek and comes from “helios” (sun) and “chrysos. It is unrelated to curry leaves which are used in cooking.

However, a sprig of curry plant can be added to rice dishes to give a mild curry flavour. Don’t forget to remove the sprig just before serving. The leaves are silvery grey and look rather like rosemary.Curry plants look nice in a sunny spot, giving off a fragrance, especially after rain. It doesn’t like the cold and grows well in a warm climate.

The dried yellow flowers are a nice addition to pot pourri.

A branch can be hung in cupboards to deter moths.

HERBS – Basil

Basil is a culinary herb with aromatic leaves. The leaves are best torn with the fingers. It can be used to make pesto, sprinkled over pasta dishes and os useful in sauces.
Basil tea can be made by pouring hot water on a tablespoon of leaves. It is meant to help with cold and flu symptoms as well as digestive upsets. It is supposed to help nausea. (not suitable for pregnant women).
A pot of basil in the kitchen will keep the flies away. It is rich in Vitamins C and A as well as iron and calcium. It contains zinc and potassium as well as magnesium and selenium.
There are many varieties of basil growing in different countries. It probably orginated in India but is now popular in Europe, particularly in Italy. What could be simpler than mozarella cheese, slices of tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a few basil leaves scattered on top? Fresh leaves can be infused in oil.
Basil grows best in a warm, sunny but sheltered spot.
Look out for Greek basil with smaller leaves. The flavour is less pungent.

Do you know what is your birthstone?

Mine is ruby.

Do you have a piece of jewellery with your birthstone in?

January is garnet.  Colour: purple/red mixture.  Associated with constancy.

February is amethyst.  Colour: purple.  Associated with sincerity.

March is bloodstone.  Colour:  green with red flecks.  Associated with courage.

April is diamond.  Colour: glasslike.  Associated with lasting love and innocence.

May is emerald.  Colour: green.  Associated with hope and success.

June is pearl.  Colour: pearly white.  Associated with health and purity.

July is ruby.  Colour: red.  Associated with love and contentment.

August is agate.  Colour: pale green.  Associated with marital happiness.

September is sapphire.  Colour: blue.  Associated with wisdom.

October is opal.  Colour: white with coloured flecks.  Associated with hope.

November is topaz.  Colour: yellow or brown.  Associated with fidelity.

December is turquoise.  Colour: greeny blue.  Associated with harmony.

The Mitre Pub, Lancaster Gate, near Hyde Park in London

They call it the hidden gem!  Worth a visit when you are in London.  I wish I discovered it earlier.

I went there for lunch last week with our Hyde Park walking group. My friend brought her two young dogs who were made welcome. Most of us had the mulled gin to warm us up. I had the fish and chips which was better than any I have had at the seaside! The peas were really tasty. I couldn’t finish it as the portion was mansized. My friends had a variety of things but the fishcakes looked yummy.

The photo is of the mulled gin.  Great after a wintery walk.