SWMBO is the gatherer in the family but Fahbio has become obsessed with all the free herbs around here. We have stashes of rosemary, thyme and wild fennel drying throughout the van supplemented by Lastborn’s lavender and various flowers and leaves. These are all crumbling together in varying mixtures. We sniff each to try to guess what it might be comprised of and to decide whether it should be taken in a savoury or sweet direction. Maybe we could earn some money flogging “Stroll around Harlech” (great on chicken) or “Couchsurfing in Porto” (wonderful on lamb and potatoes) or even “Waiting outside Tesco’s” (soothing herbal tea). Look for these rubs, mixtures and teas for sale at better stores near you.
There is a huge bay laurel tree we pass on our way to and from our Welsh cottage. Each time we drive past, Fahbio opens the window of the van and yanks a few leaves off. We’ve been teasing him relentlessly about his growing collection of bay leaves.
Today, I decided to make chili and sheepishly asked Fahbio if he could spare me some bay leaves. He returned with a handful and the said, “Picked at high altitude, on a dry morning, in the Douro Valley.” His tone was inscrutable so whether he was being facetious or not, I don’t know.