Whenever I see a bed of tumbling nasturtiums it always makes me think of the beautiful hobbit gardens in the Lord of the Rings films – is that just me? There are countless varieties of nasturtium from deep reds, through tangerine oranges, to soft yellows. At some point I want to grow all of them! Next year I hope to grow them all around the compost bays to cover them in a blanket of colour.
Not only are they vibrant and beautiful, livening up any veggie plot, AND edible, but they are great to grow as a sacrificial plant for cabbage whites. The white butterflies lay THOUSANDS of their eggs on brassicas which then hatch into greedy caterpillars that are quite happy to absolutely annihilate your precious veg! We’ve had our brassicas under netting this year, but a couple of days of high winds and a short spell with the net partly blown off was all it took for cabbage whites to take hold. After a few sessions of hosing off eggs and picking off the green caterpillars which are annoyingly tricky to see (the joys of trying to be organic), we are keeping them at bay for now. Hopefully growing nasturtiums alongside them next year, and fixing up a stronger netting solution, will keep the cabbage whites distracted enough that they leave our broccoli and Brussels sprouts alone.
Nasturtiums flowers and leaves are edible and have a delicious peppery flavour similar to rocket or watercress. I originally shared this recipe a few years ago on my food & travel blog, A Year In Dinners, but it seemed relevant to share here too. These scones have a subtle but really lovely flavour that I like to have topped with some fresh homegrown tomato and perhaps a bit of cheddar. I tend to just roll out the dough and cut it into triangles for ease as to minimise working the dough, but you could use a cutter to get a more traditional scone shape.
Nasturtium Scones Recipe
- 450g self-raising flour
- 1tsp salt
- 100g cold butter
- 250g grated Parmesan
- 3 tbsp nasturtium leaves
- 120ml cold whole milk
- 120ml cold water
- 1 egg
- Extra milk for egg wash
- Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
- Mix the flour and salt to combine before grating in the cold butter. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until it starts to become crumble-like.
- Stir in the grated cheese and chopped nasturtium leaves. Gradually mix in the milk and water until the dough starts to come away from the edge of the bowl and form a ball.
- Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and cut into about 8 wedge-shaped portions. Place them on a baking tray (close together so they rise instead of spread), brush the tops with egg beaten with a dash of milk, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Take them out of the oven when golden, and serve warm with butter or a slice of cheese and some fresh tomato.
As always let me know if you try to make these and feel free to tag me in your posts on Instagram, @plotandlane.
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