Now that the clocks have changed and the weather has transformed from winter to high spring over night, it is the ideal time to prune your Lemon Verbena.
Be brave, cut back hard to just above a leaf bud or to where they will eventually form; they are easily visible on the stem.
By doing this now you will be rewarded with masses of new growth in the summer.
This will then give you masses of leaves too make the wonderful tisane which is called ‘Verveine’ in France.
Alternatively you can make one my families favourites
Lemon Verbena Crème Brulee
My mother made the best crème brulee. Alistair, my son, has inherited her passion for them and always rates restaurants and cooks on how well they make them. This is a wonderful recipe; the flavour with its hint of lemon sherbet makes this brulee very special.
Serves 4, Preheat Oven to 140°C/275F/gas mark 1
1 handful of lemon verbena leaves finely chopped, ( reserve 4 whole leaves for use as garnish)
7 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
60ml double cream
50g demerara sugar
Put the milk in a pan with the chopped lemon verbena leaves, bring to simmering point, remove from the heat and then leave to cool and infuse. Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the caster sugar and whisk until pale and thick. Add the cooled infused milk and cream, whisk well. Pass through a fine meshed sieve. Ladle the mixture into 4 ramekin dishes and set them in a roasting pan. Pour in enough water to come three quarters the way up the side of the ramekins, pop into the pre heated oven and cook for 1 hour or until set. Leave to cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and caramelise with either a blow torch or by putting them under a hot grill. Decorate with some fresh lemon verbena leaves.
Recipe taken from Jekka’s Herb Cook Book
All photographs and text are © Jekka McVicar 2012. Please do not use without permission.