Hands up who loves Bloody Mary cocktails? If you want a bit more of a kick in your cocktail, swap that stick of celery for lovage – it’s stronger, pepper-ier (if that’s a word) and its hollow stems are perfect for sucking up the tomatoey tabasco.
Lovage (Livisticum officinale) is something that you won’t find in the shops, but it’s relatively easy to grow from seed or pick up a small plant at the garden centre. It will get very tall – about two metres high – with lush foliage looking like giant flat leaf parsley, and will die back over winter. It needs very little care, just regular watering. It will freeze well too, so you can carry on using it over winter, and that includes whole stems.
Lovage is a herb that has rather fallen out of fashion. In Ancient Greece and Rome, it was treated as a cure-all, and medieval times people would pop leaves into their shoes to keep their feet fresh.
How to use it: Soups, stews, sauces. In place of celery and parsley. Oh, and not forgetting course cocktails