GROW FOOD slow food Have your garden and eat it too. A practical guide to organic gardening in the sub-tropics with step-by-step instructions and delicious seasonal recipes. Come with me too on some of my travels in Australia, Europe, Asia and beyond.

LEMON VERBENA SHORTBREAD:  I have lots of ‘tea’ plants in my garden but, as well as a refreshing herbal tea, you can make these easy delicious biscuits with the leaves.

Lemon verbena Aloysia citrodorais a lovely cottage garden plant that does best in a free draining soil.  It’s an open shrub, with small lemon scented leaves, that can get to about 1.5m with spikes of creamy white flowers.

 MY ACCIDENTAL COTTAGE GARDEN. Lemon verbena, in the foreground, growing amongst the dahlias, cosmos, golden oregano, turmeric, gaura and tamarillo


100 caster sugar

½ cup loosely packed lemon verbena leaves
200g unsalted butter
150g plain flour
150g wholemeal flour
Pinch salt
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  1. Pulse sugar and lemon verbena leaves in a food processor until thoroughly combined and all the leaves are completely pulverised.
  2. Add butter and cream until light and fluffy.
  3. Sieve flour with salt and mix with creamed butter and lemon zest to make a soft dough.
  4. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 160 C
  6. Roll out dough on lightly floured bench to 1cm thickness then cut into shapes with a small biscuit cutter.
  7. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden.
  8. Remove from oven, cool and store in airtight container
  9. Makes about 50 biscuits
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