My vegetable and herb garden is growing amazingly well at the moment, despite the incredible heat we’ve been having. I admit that I have been watering more than I typically would, so that helps a lot, but you just have to – heartbreaking to see the little plants wilting away. At least a few cooler days are looming on the horizon as are some rainy ones! Yippee!
One of the plants that are just reaching and breaching, is my dark opal basils which I’ve planted as companions around my tomatoes. So, walking about my little garden this afternoon, I realised that it was time to deadhead the basils.
(>>> deadhead <<< to pinch the growing top off a herb plant to stop them from flowering and going to seed – which you don’t want your annuals to be doing too soon – and to encourage sideways growth or bushiness).
I had no meals planned with fresh basil (although I think that using the purple basil in the tomato risotto I make could be interesting). I was also not in the mood to make pesto, but I had to use the beautiful heads of purple basil I had at the end of my deadheading mission. And then inspiration struck – I remembered the lovely Tuscan Pink Vinaigrette I made a few years ago. Perfect!
Herbal vinegars and vinaigrettes always look and taste so fantastic and they are so easy to make – here’s a How To on my Pink Tuscan Herbal Vinaigrette.
For the pink basil flavoured vinegar
What you need
- clear sealable glass jar, cleaned well
- white GRAPE vinegar, or white BALSAMIC vinegar, please don’t use spirit vinegar
- bamboo skewer
How to make it
- fill the glass jar almost to the top with the vinegar
- feed the rinsed basil leaves onto your skewer
- pop the skewer with herbs into the vinegar and top of the bottle with more vinegar Make sure the herbs are submerged in the vinegar.
- let stand in a cool and sunny spot, but not in direct sunlight – you’ll see the vinegar turn pinkish within a few hours and the full colour and flavour will develop over a week or so
You can, if you want a bolder colour and flavour, strain the leaves and add new ones and let it rest for another week.
When you are happy with your pink vinegar, you can move on to making the Tuscan vinaigrette.
For the Tuscan vinaigrette
What you need
- bottle for your end product
- your pink vinegar from above
- extra virgin olive oil
- selection of Italian Herbs (I used Oregano & Garlic, some salad onions)
- salt & freshly ground pepper
How to make it
- add your chopped oregano, garlic and salad onions, salt and pepper to the pink vinegar and let stand for a few days to infuse
- strain the herbs and decant the vinegar into your final bottle to fill it up to a third
- add a few sprigs of whole herbs and a few slices of salad onions to the vinegar – this is more for look, so choose unblemished leaves
- fill the bottle with Olive Oil
- serve & enjoy!
>>> vinaigrette<<< A salad dressing (also used as a marinade sometimes) made by mixing oil and vinegar and often flavoured with herbs and spices.