Join us on a foraging tour across the Ashford Estate this September, and discover a recipe for Beurre Blanc sauce.


Meadowsweet are white flowers with a sweet and heavy fragrance, which has value for its use in flavouring beer.

On the Estate, it is used from time to time to flavour ice cream. It grows near streams, and in the damp places all around the lough Corrib. The plant flowers throughout June until September and it is one of our Estate bees’ favourite treats.

Meadowsweet's herbal uses have a base in scientific fact, in common with many other folk and herbal remedies.  In the 19th century, chemists isolated salicylic acid from Meadowsweet, which was used as a disinfectant, so it not only made rooms smell better but helped the fight against bacteria.  It was a painkiller and anti-inflammatory but hard on the stomach.  

Meadowsweet was considered a sacred herb in ancient Celtic rituals. Few of its medicinal uses were known in the past when it was used mainly for scouring milk churns in Co Mayo and strewing on floors.


Colourful, edible, butterfly-like nasturtium blossoms have delighted gardeners and cooks alike for centuries. At different times in history, they have been considered a vegetable, an herb, a flower, and even a fruit!

The name nasturtium comes from the Latin words for nose (nas), and twist (tortum), referring to a person’s reaction upon tasting the spicy, bittersweet leaves. Renaissance botanists named it after watercress, (Nasturtium officinale in Latin) which tastes similar.

From seeds, leaves, stem and flowers, Nasturtium is a great compliment plant for any chef in their kitchen.

At Ashford, we the leaves are added to our organic salads mixes and the flowers are used as a colourful garnish for our dish.

The Nasturtium has a peppery taste, stronger than radish, the strongest taste from the seeds. The stem can be finely chopped like chive and will be a great addition to your organic stem vegetables and the leaves will make a great addition to pesto and the young seed served like capers with a chicken piccata.

Nasturtium is very easy to grow and will self-seed and come back years after years.

Lemon verbena

Lemon verbena is a flowering plant. The leaves and flowering tops are used to make medicine.
In foods and manufacturing, lemon verbena is used as an ingredient in herbal teas, a fragrance in perfumes, and as an ingredient in alcoholic beverages.

Lemon verbena contains chemicals that might kill mites and bacteria, as well as chemicals that may reduce swelling (inflammation) and cause sleepiness.

Lemon verbena is used for digestive disorders including indigestion, gas, colic, diarrhoea, and constipation. It is also used for agitation, joint pain, trouble sleeping (insomnia), asthma, colds, fever, haemorrhoids, varicose veins, skin conditions, and chills

In 1767, Philibert Commerson was the first botanist to publish work on the Lemon Verbena. In 1786, John Sibthorp obtained the specimen that he introduced to British horticulture and by 1797, lemon verbena was common in greenhouses around London, and its popularity as essential in a fragrant bouquet increased through the following century.

We are growing this plant in our polytunnel and using it to flavour our Beurre Blanc sauce instead of using lemon and by 2022 we will have dried enough leaves to have our own Lemon Verbena Garden Tea!

Here is our Beurre Blanc sauce recipe, which would go very well with Irish salmon, turbot, brill or a nice grilled sole with organic tender stem broccoli


  • 240ml of dry white wine
  • 100ml of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of banana shallot, chopped
  • 450g of butter, diced
  • 3 leaves of lemon verbena
  • 5 black peppercorns


  1. Bring the wine, white wine vinegar, chopped lemon verbena and shallots to the boil and reduce until you have 2 tbsp of liquid remaining.
  2. Strain the reduction into a clean pan and return to the heat.
  3. Add the chilled butter one piece at a time, whisking constantly.
  4. Continue to add the butter until 1 or 2 pieces remain then remove from the heat.
  5. Whisk in the remaining butter; the sauce should be thick, smooth and glossy.


Peas are a small edible legume belonging to the family of the Fabaceae, as well as lentils, beans, chickpeas, peanuts and soy.

We are growing them until October in our polytunnel, near the Lodge. Being rich in fibre and one of the best plant-based proteins, peas are a satisfying component of a meal. They are also a useful vegan source of iron, which is needed for making red blood cells and transporting oxygen around the body. Peas also contain nutrients like magnesium, vitamin B and C, all of which help support blood sugar management.

Peas are rich in fibre which both supports digestive health and fuels the beneficial gut microbes. Much of the fibre content is soluble, which may alleviate constipation. Eating more fibre is associated with a reduced risk of several conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Legumes are a common allergen, and peas are no exception. If you have been diagnosed with a legume allergy, this might include peanuts and soya.

In the kitchen, we are using 100% of the pea, making it a zero-waste vegetable. After removing the peas from their pods, we are drying the pods to make a powder that is used on the plate with the pea, pea puree and seared scallops.