THE HERB & FLOWER COOKBOOK - PIP MCCORMAC

I often shudder in fear when I read something about how to keep fresh herbs. Not because I don't like herbs - I'm a cook; I bloody love them - but because I always kill them, and can't deal with the guilt that is soon sure to follow. I hide their shrivelled corpses at the bottom of the bin, so my parter can't see that yet another has perished in my negligence. 

Receiving the Herb & Flower cookbook was how I imagine Moses felt when he received the ten commandments: amazed, relieved, possibly a little bit scared, but with overruling excitement. Pip's book is a reassuring bible. It starts with the simple maxim 'look after plants and they will flourish, neglect them and they die. That's all there is to it.' It approaches herb and flower growing with simplicity. That is so refreshing and reassuring.

The recipes are really lovely and uncomplicated, and the design is gorgeous. It's a revitalising, fresh and very exciting cookbook. 


Rosemary Poached Red Grapefruit

Grapefruit segments are a classic breakfast, but I’ve always found them to be a little too tart in the morning. The sweet juices here will make the fruit much more palatable – you can eat the skins as they go soft on roasting, but that’s entirely up to you. Make them in bulk and keep them in the fridge for a day or two if you like, as they’re just as nice completely cold. 
Substitute the rosemary with… thyme, summer savory, lavender

Serves 2

  • 1 red grapefruit
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 3 tbsp Demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp smooth orange juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Crème fraîche, for serving


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.

Thoroughly wash the grapefruit and cut it into quarters, leaving the skin on. Place the wedges into a small roasting dish.

Pull the leaves off the rosemary sprig and throw them into the bottom of a mixing jug or bowl, with all of the remaining ingredients, apart from the crème fraîche. Beat them together lightly and pour the mixture over the grapefruit. 

Roast the fruit in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the grapefruit with a slotted spoon, leaving them to cool on a plate. Pour the juices into a small saucepan and bring to the boil for 5–10 minutes or until syrupy.

Divide the grapefruit between two bowls and pour over the syrup. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and serve immediately.

The Herb & Flower Cookbook, Pip McCormac. Quadrille, £16.99.