This week in your garden perennial herbs such as chives, lovage, sorrel, fennel and marjoram will benefit from a haircut. For fresh tasty leaves within a few weeks cut your herbs down to the ground. A regular chop is key, if they flower they can lose their flavour.
Jobs for August
August is mostly about harvesting. However, there are still a number of routine tasks and jobs that shouldn’t be neglected. The most important are watering, weeding and mulching. Many climbing plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans and even fruit trees may need supporting as they become more heavily laden. Don’t forget to feed your pumpkins and winter squashes once a week, and in damp weather lift them off the soil on to bricks or planks of wood so they don’t rot.
Cherry Tomato and Herb Puff Tarts
- 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
- Extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
- 375g ready-rolled all butter puff pastry
- 4 tbsp cream cheese
- 2 free-range egg yolks
- 25g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
- Handful fresh basil leaves
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. Put the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and season. Roast for 20 minutes until softened and turning sticky.
Meanwhile, unroll the pastry. Trim and discard 5cm off the uneven end from the centre of the coil. Cut into 4 rectangles and transfer to a baking sheet. Lightly score a border 1cm from the edge of each rectangle and prick the middles with a fork.
Bake for 8 minutes until puffed up and just starting to turn golden. Press the centres of the rectangles down with your fingers, leaving the border raised higher.
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl mix the cream cheese, 1 egg yolk, parmesan and chives, season and divide among the tarts. Top with the tomatoes, then lightly beat the other yolk and brush over the pastry borders. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve drizzled with oil and scattered with fresh basil leaves.