summer garnishes

click on image for larger view
nasturtium 'Empress of India' One of my favourite things about the summer is drifting around our tiny garden just before dinner to see what herbs or flowers we’ll use as a garnish.

I mentioned earlier that the nasturtiums have started flowering. So we simply had to use those last night. And because our side dish of pasta featured lemon verbena (which is flourishing this year!), we added a sprig of that as well.

The spaghettini was made with olive oil, garlic, preserved lemons, rapini and lemon verbena. And aren’t we lucky! There is still Ontario asparagus available.

The chicken was rubbed with our favourite: Old Bay Seasoning – or at least, it’s what we imagine that Old Bay Seasoning must be – and then smoked and barbecued with hickory wood. As the chicken cooked, we sat out on the patio under the flowering Russian Olive, chatting and reading, listening to the birds singing and children playing happily in the back lane and drinking in the scent of the Russian Olive mingled with the roasting chicken on the barbecue.

What a feast!

Isn’t summer great?! (Please feel free to remind me I said that when I start complaining about the horrible humidity and oppressive heat.)

The nasturtiums had a sweet spiciness but were surprisingly unhot. This is the third year (I think) that I’ve planted ‘Empress of India’. I love that the flowers are all a deep colour of red. In past summers, they have been almost hot enough to bring tears to our eyes.

They were lovely though. I wonder if the intense heat in the flowers will come when the weather gets hotter… it will be interesting to see.