Anna Lamotte, who runs Guardswell Farm with her sister Kirstin, makes the most of summer herbs finally showing through with this recipe for a herby butter.
Perhaps it’s time that I reintroduced Guardswell and the background for this little monthly chatter. Our family run Guardswell Farm and we have a small flock of Hebridean sheep – brilliant conservation grazers – who rotationally graze some of the areas surrounding the main farm, as well as managing our beautiful native wildflower meadow in front of the Steading building.
Commercially, they provide us with fleece for spinning (which we can hopefully turn into itchy Guardswell jumpers one day) – as well as small scale, ethically-reared Hebridean hogget meat boxes, which are sold once a year.
We also have the wonderful Guardswell Grows, run by an all-women farming team, growing chemical-free vegetables and herbs for our local community.
Increase in biodiversity
Slowly, we are planning on converting more of the Guardswell land over to areas of greater species diversity – hopefully both encouraging an increase in biodiversity (more bees, bugs and birds), as well as sequestering more carbon and regenerating our farm soil with a mixture of deep rooting plants, rotational grazing and holistic land management.
So where are we now? Overflowing market stalls, jampacked farmstands and salads for every meal – it must be June! This is the month where growing really kicks off, where we start to get more variety and colour in the fields and in our diets.
This isn’t just a Carse of Gowrie late season, but it extends across the whole of Scotland, even the whole of the UK. Direct drilled seed washed away, slug explosions on wet ground, chilly temperatures stunting germination – vegetable farmers have been pulling their hair out with May’s weather. Extremes of weather caused by climate change, or an unusually dry then wet spring – whatever it was, it was tough.
A very simple recipe this week and something we have been practically surviving off – as long as it’s eaten on crispy sourdough toast.
All you need is a handful of herbs – you choose which you like the best. Chervil, thyme, mint, chives, sweet cicely, tarragon, dill, parsley, sorrel, sage, rosemary – even nasturtium leaves. Plus a few edible flowers – chive flowers, nasturtiums, marigolds perhaps.
Pop a block of salted butter into the blender and whizz up until soft and fluffy. Take your herbs, and give them a thorough but rough chop, then throw them in with your butter. Whizz up again, and then spoon your whipped herb butter into a ramekin or kilner jar. We like to sprinkle some of the chive flowers or chopped nasturtium on top.
This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks – and every time you need a herby, buttery hit just dig out a sizable scoop and spread onto toast. You can also use it to cook fish, or meat if you fancy a little extra hit of flavour.