This wonderful recipe comes from my dear friend’s Carina-Forum
THYME Symbol of Activity from The Spice Cookbook, 1964
Among the attractive accomplishments of proper young ladies of the past was a knowledge of the language of flowers. From the book devoted to the lore, which appeared in 1836, they learned that thyme “is a symbol of activity”.
“Beetles of all hues, light butterflies, and vigilant bees, forever surrounding the flowery tufts of Thyme,” the author noted. “It may be that to these cheerful inhabitants of the air, whose life is a long spring, these little tufts appear like an immense tree, old as the earth and covered with eternal verdure, begemmed with myriads of flowery vases, filled honey for their express enjoyment,” the author continued.
It is true that bees have never able to resist the fragrance of thyme. The ancient Greeks relished the honey made by the bees buzzing over Mount Hymettus, near Athens, where thyme grew abundantly. So highly esteemed was the delicate fragrance of thyme that “to smell of thyme” was one of the most desirable compliments one Athenian could offer another.
Ladies of the Middle Ages also observed the attraction thyme held for bees. A favorite design that a lady embroidered on the scarf of her knight-errant was composed of a bee hovering over a spring of thyme-which mingled the sweet and amiable with high courage and martial action. To enhance their own charms these ladies included thyme springs in the “tussie-mussies” they fashioned. A tussie-mussie was a demure bouquet of very fragrant flowers and sweet-scented leaves. It was always held tightly by a lady so that the warmth of her hand could release the scent of the lovely bouquet.
Remembrance from The Spice Cookbook, 1964 The small flower that is part of rosemary – an evergreen of the
mint family – once was white. Legend recounts that one night the Virgin Mary –
fleeing with the Christ Child from Herod’s soldiers – hung her sky-blue cloak on
the rosemary bush. From that day on the color of rosemary, blossoms were transformed into the blue. The
mention of rosemary will call to mind an ancient symbol of remembrance and
fidelity. Shakespeare made this sentiment famous in Hamlet when the tragic
Ophelia speaks the immortal line:
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” One seventeenth-century preacher
urged at a wedding: “Let this Rosemarinus, this flower of men, the ensign of your
wisdom, love, and loyalty, be carried not only in your hands but in your heads
and hearts.” It was the custom then for bridesmaids to present the bridegroom
with “a bunch of Rosemary, bound
with ribands” on the morning of the wedding.
Roasted Lamb in Herbs and Pomegranate Marinade
- 1/2 leg of lamb sirloin, 3-4 lb.
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 250 ml pomegranate juice, natural and unsweetened
- 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/3 cup very finely chopped shallots
- 2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves or 8 thyme sprigs, each 6 inches long
- 4 Tbs. finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbs. ground coriander
- 2 Tbs. peppercorns, bruised
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Combine the minced rosemary, fresh thyme, ground coriander, garlic, finely chopped shallots, peppercorns, salt, and olive oil to make a paste. Rub over all of the surfaces of the meat.
Place the meat in a shallow glass dish and add pomegranate juice to cover.
Marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator, turning once. Bring the meat to room temperature before roasting.
Preheat an oven to 375°F.
Put the lamb into a large roasting pan and drizzle the lamb with the olive oil. Cook for 25 minutes per pound for medium plus an extra 25 minutes for well-done, spooning the meat juices over the lamb once or twice during cooking.
Transfer the lamb to a carving board or platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
To serve, cut the lamb across the grain into thin slices and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve immediately, spooning some of the accumulated juices over each portion.
AnonymousDecember 22, 2011 at 3:26 am
What a terrific post! I liked the beautiful information on the herbs. Rosemary is my favorite, but I didn't realize the blooms were blue and the legend behind them! The lamb looks delicious – and your photos…as always – are stellar!
AnonymousDecember 22, 2011 at 7:21 am
This looks delicious – would never had thought to mix lamb and pomegranate. Must try.
Sarah (Snippets of Thyme)December 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm
What a beautiful looking roast. I love the photography of this dish.
Tiffany YoungrenJanuary 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm
The photos are gorgeous – the lamb recipe looks amazing. Great post!
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Alexis PreatoriMarch 2, 2012 at 6:40 am
Wow! This is the first time I'll cook a lamb meat with pomegrenate juice. It must be very interesting if I add a little bit of wine on the sauce then reducing it to perfection.
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