Sunday, December 10, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging #62

Pookah at What's Cooking in Carolina? is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging.

Today I'll be using one of the most elegant and distinctive citrus flavourings you can find - Lemon Verbena.

lemon verbena

Lemon Verbena is a deciduous tree, native to South America. It's lancet shaped leaves range from pale to dark green and to the touch they feel slightly sticky and a bit rough. It's lemon aromas released by even a soft brush of the leaves. It's not surprising that it's highly prized in aromatherapy. It's also thought to help with digestion and fever relief.

One of it's most popular use is in Lemon Verbena Tea - simply infuse a handful of fresh leaves with almost boiling water but I have something else in mind.

The inspiration for this recipe is three-fold - first the weather, when the mercury is nudging 40°C (that's over a hundred) your mind starts looking for ways to cool down. You aren't helped by Locatelli's newest book (it's worthy of it's own post) and it's amazing chapter on all things ice-cream. It's influence driving you to distraction whereupon you finally purchase that ice-cream maker you've had your eye on.

With apologies to those in cooler climes, I just had to make this!


Watermelon & Lemon Verbena Sorbet
[Makes around 1 litre of sorbet]

500 mls/2 cups watermelon juice, chilled

220 grams/1 cup caster sugar
250 mls/1 cup water
handful of lemon verbena leaves

Make the sugar syrup:
Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon verbena leaves. Let it gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge until ready to use. Keep the leaves in the syrup. Strain just before using.

Make the sorbet:
Place the watermelon juice into a jug and add the strained sugar syrup. Stir well and pour into the bowl of the ice-cream maker - following manufacturers instructions. This took about 30 minutes.

Transfer into a freezer proof dish and place it in the freezer for 2 hours before serving.

The mix can be used without an ice-cream maker. Just follow the instructions for the Mint Sorbet.

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  1. Sounds like a very refreshing combination, and even though I'm surrounded by snow, I can never turn down sorbet/ice cream.

  2. It sounds absolutely amazing. I grew some lemon verbena for the first time this year, and every time I went to the garden I simply could not resist pulling off a few leaves and smelling them. It makes your hands smell lovely too!

  3. who cares about the cold...bring on the sorbet!

  4. Haalo, when i first looked at the picture, I thought the herb was laksa (Vietnamese mint) but it is not! The post is very informative and the pic is mouthwatering as always! :)

    Did you make the watermelon juice yourself? I love watermelon...

  5. I've decided to get the hopefully I'll get a chance to make this over the weekend :D

  6. Hi Brilynn - the lemon verbena just gives it that something to make it extra refreshing.

    Thanks Kalyn - it's scent is just so lovely, it's really nice added to a flower arrangement.

    Hi Nabeela - it's never too cold for sorbet ;)

    Thanks Dave - they really do like our climate.

    Hi WP - they do have similar shaped leaves. I made the juice - I just blended the melon first then strained the solids from it. You can also use a juicer but there's no real difference.

    Hi Ellie - I'm sure you'll enjoy the Krups and the sorbet!

  7. Haalo, what a beautiful plant!

    I have to look it up to check if we have it here in Brazil.

    The light pink shade is so beautiful, too!

  8. Love your sorbet, Haalo. And wonderful write-up too :)

  9. Thanks Patricia - it's a plant worth having just for it's beautiful scent. Hopefully you'll find some.

    Thanks Angie - I'm very pleased how the sorbet turned out, just really refreshing.


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