Herbivores: Lemon Balm

Personally until writing this, I didn’t realize how extremely versatile this little herb was. It would be nice to say that I am an herbal guru, considering I write this every week but I am still learning so much as I go. Lemon balm is not the most popular herb but after reading this post you may decide that it belongs in every herb garden.

One of Brambles servers has been saying lemon “bomb” all week, I’m not sure if has anything to due with the fact that English is her second language but I like to think that’s actually an accurate name considering the burst of smell, and more, the fact that this tough herb is fairly vigorous  in taking over the garden!

History: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and has similarities to chamomile in its calming effects. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety and is native to Southern Europe.

Another interesting fact is that it shares a name with many of my friends. (I know you’re thinking- just because I am named after a plant, doesn’t mean all of my friends are too!) Being born in the 80s means that several of my classmates shared the official name for lemon balm – Melissa! Melissa Officinalis, which means “bee” in Greek, named for its reputation of attracting honeybees.

When to plant: Lemon Balm is one of the easiest herbs to grow in your garden! It can grow in a variety of soils but does best in well-drained dirt and in full sun or partial shade.

When to plant from seed: Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost.  Keep in mind that Tanglebank has some beautifully potted lemon balm for $3.99 ready to go if you’re looking for a nice new addition to your gardens this year!

Did you know that you can “harden up your plants”? You can make your herbs tough by preparing them to start life in the real world! How you ask? Just put them in a bright windy area (you could also make your own wind by using a fan) your pre planted lemon balm can be moved outdoors 3 month before frost-free date if they’ve been toughened up.

When to harvest: Harvest leaves as needed and don’t forget to thin out your plant because it does tend to be known for  “growing like a weed”.

Companions: Lemon Balm is another friendly herb, although it is advised to plant near other plants that need to be pollinated!

Uses: Most common uses for the versatile plant is in herb gardens but also grown for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, even used for furniture polish!

Edible uses: beverages, fish and white meats, jams and desserts, to name a few.

Rhubarb Lemon Balm Spritzer

Lemon Balm Chicken

(Yield 4 people)


These two recipes are a perfect treat to kick off the BBQ season! For a stress free patio meal add baked potatoes with all of your favorite toppings and grilled asparagus with fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.

And if you really want to take advantage of this addition to your garden, throw a few stems on the BBQ to ward off mosquitoes from your summer feast!

Acacia

Herbivores: Par-cel

Tastes like celery, looks like parsley. Hence the combination name, par-cel!

Parcel is a bit of a special interest herb, not too many people have heard of it or know how to use it, so naturally we’ve decided to feature it this week!

History: Parcel is a relatively new leafy Japanese celery.

When to plant: Plant in early spring in light shade to full sun. Make sure to water well.

When to harvest: similar to parsley, pick the outer leaves from late April to late summer

Companions: This leafy green is a great accent to containers and it also is used to deter some insects as well.

Uses: Typically used in salads, risottos, soups or stuffing, as well as for a garnish.

As I am writing out this blog  this morning I’m daydreaming of sitting out on my patio and eating this fresh delicious breakfast in the peculiarly early summer we seem to be having (knock on wood!) Brambles Kitchen features another baked eggs dish on our menu, so our followers have the privilege to try a spin off of one of our finest favorites!

Baked Eggs Recipe

Parcel Cream Recipe

Chef Lingo: Chiffonade -cutting herbs into ribbon like strips. The easiest way to use this technique is by stacking or rolling the leaves and then cutting across to create long strips.

The benefit to each of these recipes is that they can be created as multiple variations! The Parcel Cream can be used as a pasta sauce, on pork or chicken as well as baked eggs!

Experiment with this fresh and flavorful hybrid!

Acacia


Herbivore: CHIVES

We have decided to give our followers a little bit of herbal education. Whether you are starting your first garden or have many years of dirt on your gardening gloves, this segment will give you some helpful and interesting hints.

It’s only suitable to start our ‘herb of the week’ series with one of the easiest herbs to grow. Chives!

As many of you avid gardeners know, chives are one of the first edible plants to pop up in Spring.

History: Chives are the smallest members of the onion family. They are originally native to Europe and Asia.

When to plant: Chives are a perennial and can grow in almost any conditions, keeping in mind that they have moist soil and full sun.

When to harvest: all summer long!

Companions: Chives are outgoing and friendly herbs. They get along with everybody! Especially because of their beautiful blooms that attract bees and enhance pollination.

Uses: Typically used on eggs, fish, salads and potatoes. The purplish blossoms that grow atop these long grass-like stems are also edible! Sprinkle them on salad, soup, pasta salad or dips.

We want you to fall in love with using fresh foods in your own kitchen. Now, there is nothing wrong, so to speak with using your chives with potatoes, that’s a classic and staple use for this little guy, but Brambles kitchen would like to give you a fresh look on a classic herb.

Before you allow your fears to turn you away from reading further than the title of this recipe card, fear not! For some of you it’s the fear of the falling soufflé or perhaps just the accent on the end of the word sendsyou heading for the hills. As I am told from Brambles chef Sarah Kruk, this is a fool-proof soufflé! In fact, contrary to popular belief, this particular dish doesn’t need to be served right away but can actually be made the day before (to avoid the fear of deflating your soufflé or your ego!) and can be twice baked.

(click on the links below to open recipes)

Chive and Boursin Souffle Recipe

Honeyed Mustard and Chive Emulsion

This dish can be served on its own or with a salad made with this delicious chive dressing! Try adding spring greens, grilled asparagus and orange segments to the salad!

Have fun with it and let us know how your soufflés turn out!

Acacia


Brambles Easter Brunch

Reservations Only, Seating’s at 9:30, 11:30 and 1:30 on Sunday March 31st

( the 11:30 seating is sold out )

Muffins, Scones and Toast

Whipped Butter and Strawberry-Apple Jam

Fresh Fruits and Berries

Spiced Oatmeal

Sundried Fruits, Milk and Brown Sugar

Scrambled Eggs with Four Cheeses

Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes

Caramelized Onions and Brambles Ketchup

Rashers of Bacon

Ricotta Pancakes

Strawberry-Mango Sauce and Chantilly Cream

Shrimp and Egg Benedict

Spinach and Béarnaise Sauce

Savory Ham and Roasted Pepper Bread Pudding

Thyme-Gruyere Cheese Sauce

Moroccan Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Fresh Tomato Salsa, Jalapeño Cheese and Sour Cream

Artisan Greens with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette or Dill-Yogurt Dressing

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Tomato-Basil Salad

Local and Imported Cheeses

Chef’s Choice Desserts

Kids to 12 years  $10              Seniors 65 plus  $17                Adults  $21

Brambles Easter Brunch

Reservations Only, Seating’s at 9:30, 11:30 and 1:30 on Sunday March 31st

Muffins, Scones and Toast

Whipped Butter and Strawberry-Apple Jam

Fresh Fruits and Berries

Spiced Oatmeal

Sundried Fruits, Milk and Brown Sugar

Scrambled Eggs with Four Cheeses

Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes

Caramelized Onions and Brambles Ketchup

Rashers of Bacon

Ricotta Pancakes

Strawberry-Mango Sauce and Chantilly Cream

Shrimp and Egg Benedict

Spinach and Béarnaise Sauce

Savory Ham and Roasted Pepper Bread Pudding

Thyme-Gruyere Cheese Sauce

Moroccan Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Fresh Tomato Salsa, Jalapeño Cheese and Sour Cream

Artisan Greens with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette or Dill-Yogurt Dressing

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Tomato-Basil Salad

Local and Imported Cheeses

Chef’s Choice Desserts

Kids to 12 years  $10              Seniors 65 plus  $17                Adults  $21

St. Patrick’s Day

Most of you likely assume that March 17th is just a holiday to finally pull all that is green from your closets, drink Irish beer and parade through the streets listening to “The Fields of Athenry” by a local pipe band. And, I, like most of you had the same view on St. Patty’s day, but as a redhead with an Irish heritage and a bagpipe playing mother, I guess it was about time that I learned. So, let me educate you. Did you know, St.Patrick was not actually born on the Emerald Isle? He was born in Britain and kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of 16. During his six years in captivity he converted to Christianity. Once he returned to Britain he couldn’t get the people of Ireland off of his mind, therefore he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. St Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and people decided to wear a clover on their lapels to express their Irish Christian Pride, this later lead to people wearing outfits of green to celebrate the Saint who died on March 17, 461.

The tradition of St Patrick’s Day parades actually began in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants were headed to major cities in the U.S. like New York City.  The first parade took place in 1762  and has now grown to over 200,000 participants, making this the largest and longest parade!

Whatever your reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, and I promise not to judge if it’s the beer drinking, kilt wearing celebration! We hope to see you, donned in your finest Irish greens for;
Traditional Irish Lamb Stew and Guinness Meat Pies and for dessert; Bailey’s Chocolate Torte or Apple Whiskey Crumble.

Acacia

Hellebore Days are coming!

Hello Gardening and foodie friends.  Spring is almost here and I for one am incredibly excited.  I can feel it in the air and according to one of my dear guests at the bistro I am told that a robin sighting has been made.  Definitely reinforcing that spring is in the air.  Who else is excited?
To add to all that excitment, Arnold and I spent the weekend down in Seattle at the Flower show and I must say that the flower of choice, besides bulbs that is, was the  drum roll please……..
Hellebores.  These amazing flowers were everywhere in every colour.  My personal favorites being the peachy coloured ones.  Absolutely gorgeous,  which now brings me into this reminder.
Saturday, March 2nd at 10:30 I will be sharing my love for these jewels of the late winter -early spring garden.  Everything you wanted to know or didn’t know you wanted to know will be discussed.
    • Learn why you should be adding these beauties to your garden.
    • Learn how to chose and where and how to plant them in your garden
    • Learn all their specific qualities and the care and attention needed to send them happily into a cacophony of rhapsody in blooms in your garden.
    • Learn how to display them in your home.

    You so want one!!!  I know…  For those of you who just don’t want to miss this fun filled morning full of the antics of this author  please call us (604 856 9339) ahead of time so we know that you are coming and how many chairs we will need to set up.  I am looking forward to seeing all your lovely cheerful faces.  Until then,  Cheers…..

Valentines Week at Tanglebank & Brambles

We have a busy month planned at Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro, from decadent chocolate Valentine’s desserts, to contests and much more!
Mark your calenders for March 2nd when Brenda will be sharing all about the care and use of hellebores in the winter garden.

February Festivities!

February 12th is SHROVE TUESDAY! What is Shrove Tuesday you ask? It is held every year the day before Lent begins. Lent is traditionally a day of clearing out the cupboards of sugar, fats and eggs for the 40 day fast. Shrove or Pancake Tuesday is a chance to eat a delicious stack of pancakes before the fast begins! We will be featuring Lemon Ricotta pancakes with sour cherry compote.

VALENTINES WEEK MENU

alongside our delicious menu we have incorporated some Valentines inspired specials

February 12th

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sour Cherry Compote
Capellini Pasta with Prawns, Capers, Tomatoes and Lemon
February 13th
Baked Eggs Florentine
Flatbread with Pesto, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Chicken and Sundried Tomatoes
February14th
Chocolate Waffles topped with Sour Cherries and Raspberries and Creme Anglais
Champagne Poached Pears and Brie
February 15th
Crepes with Lemon Mascarpone Cream
Asiago and Artichoke Dip
February 16th
Chocolate Waffles topped with Sour Cherries and Raspberries and Creme Anglais
Champagne Poached Pears and Brie


Red Velvet Cupcake Contest

February 12th – 16th

Buy a cupcake for a chance to win!

Daily prizes for whomever buys and finds the surprise inside their cupcake!

On Valentine’s Day the GRAND PRIZE in the cupcake will be a piece of jewellery from Lee’s Fine Jewellery.

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Taste, Smell, Experience. Brambles Bistro

When you close your eyes and imagine a bistro, thoughts of Paris, a foamy robust cappuccino, a low lit room filled with friends and the smell of fresh baguette in the oven typically enter your mind.  The history of the word bistro is somewhat of a mystery. Some believe it is derived from the Russian word bystro, meaning quickly. While stationed in Paris,  Russian officers would shout, “bysto”  to receive their food in a hurry. (We will try not to judge if you come in and holler, “bystro!” because you didn’t make it to the end of the column) Others say the name bistro comes from an apertif, called a bistrouille, a mixture of coffee and brandy.

Whichever the true meaning of the word, there are certain associations one strives to develop when attempting to create that particular bistro experience.  We are looking to perfect and maintain simplicity while extracting and enhancing the natural flavor from our fresh ingredients. Bistro food is something you could eat everyday, it’s comforting, traditional and familiar.

Is it too much of a stretch to say that  developing the feel and experience of a bistro is similar to developing the flavors and smells associated with the food? Both require technique and time. Each attempts to achieve a welcoming sense of comfort. As well as holding true to the standard and label. As any of you who have made french onion soup at home know, there is something to be said for the transcendent change of flavor and effort that Julia Child originally begged of us. For the somewhat painstaking, I must admit, time it takes to achieve that perfect balance, not to mention the involuntary onion tears,  it’s the difference between everyday and perfection. We strive to provide simple excellence, one dish at a time.

Perhaps, after you visit us at Brambles, thoughts of your experience here will enter your mind when envisioning a bistro!

Acacia

Brambles Bistro is now open!

After nine months of construction we are pleased to announce that Brambles Bistro is now open.   We are excited to say that many years of dreaming have led to the construction of a brand new building in the garden that is home to a beautiful gift store as well as Brambles Bistro.  Chef Kayla Schapansky (daughter no 2) formerly of Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre and Ravens at the Airport and Chef Sarah Kruk also formerly of Ramada as well as Quazines and Roasted Grape  are whipping up some delicious lunch and brunch items as well as homemade pastries and goodies.

Arnold says you have to try the homemade pies and his favorite the Tandoori chicken wrap and of course The Caffe Umbria Coffee.   My favorites are impossible to say, it changes every day but the Moroccon  Breakfast or the Parisian Croque Monsieur Sandwich are definitely worth trying.  If you are looking for something a little lighter try the Waffles.  Kayla and Sarah serve up 3 mini waffles with your choice of chocolate ganache, Lavender creme, or Bramble  berry compote.  Delicious.  Whatever you come in to try it will be fresh, homemade and made with local ingredients.  Some as close as the back door.

So whether you choose to sit inside and enjoy the warm decor or enjoy the buzz of birds and bees on the patio we know you will enjoy the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere along with great food or just a simple cup of coffee.

We look forward to serving you.