I chose this recipe for several reasons. The main reason is that it is a recipe from a beautiful cookbook that recently came into my hands. It is the book that won the award for the best cookbook in the world in the Nature as Medicine Category this year. For cookbooks, the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards is something like the Oscar statuette for movies.
The author of the book is Christine Saahs, who is the soul of the oldest winery in Austria – Nikolaihof Wachau. In the original, the book is called Kochen mit der Kraft der Natur – in the English version: Cooking with the Power of Nature. As can be seen in the cover, Christine uses a lot of plants – both leaves and flowers – because, according to her, they mirror everything that happened to them during the process of their growth – the full power of nature – which they pass onto us, the people. Meals thus become not only more beautiful to look at, but also more valuable. This is another reason why I chose the recipe for herb butter – because those colored cups will please not only the tongues of gourmets but also their eyes.
There are interesting tips in the book as well, I immediately adopted a few, for example:
– I have two lemon halves in the freezer and grate lemon over salads and other dishes
– I put washed radishes, which are still moist, into a closing jar and store them in the refrigerator, they remain fresh much longer
– I add a piece of onion peel to soups – it adds color to them
125 g butter at room temperature
1 tbsp of mixed herbs
½ tsp of herbal salt
a little finely grated frozen lemon
petals (lilies, dahlias, roses, nasturtium)
The most suitable herbs for the preparation of the butter are parsley, chives, oregano, marjoram, lovage, rosemary, lavender, sorrel, nettle or dandelion. However, petals of roses, violets, dandelions, dahlias, fruit trees or other edible flowers may also be used, which may or may not be mixed with herbs. Dried herbs are used to prepare the salt – the mixture of herbs is crushed in a mortar together with the crystal salt. Butter preparation: mix the butter until smooth with a whisk or blender. Cut the leaves or petals finely and mix them with the butter as well as the herb salt and grated lemon. If you like to, season with garlic, black pepper, turmeric, saffron or other spices. Fill small cups with the butter and store in the fridge to harden. Before serving, dip the cups briefly in hot water and tip the butter out onto a plate. Garnish with edible flowers.
Christine Saahs lives in the Wachau region. Typical fruits of this part of Austria are apricots, which can also be added to the butter: 125 g butter, 1 tsp of herb salt (to taste), grated lemon, honey (if the apricots are not ripe enough), 2-3 ripe apricots cut into small pieces. The preparation method is the same. Plums or other ripe fruits can be used instead of apricots.
The book was published by Brandstätter in Vienna and can be ordered
and in English at: https://www.brandstaetterverlag.com/buch/cooking-power-nature
Text: © Copyright Christine Saahs and Ingrid, Travelpotpourri
Fotos: © Copyright Ulrike Köb and Ingrid, Travelpotpourri