Rocket – I Grew It, Cooked It and Ate it!

By Urvashi Roe •

Rocket is at its best in May. Did you know that it was actually quite easy to grow?  Good news is that you don't even need a garden. Great British Chefs blogger Urvashi Roe aka @BotanicalBaker  grew the rocket pictured here on her windowsill using some old egg cartons.  Discover how she grew it and her favourite dishes to serve rocket with such as Chris Horridge's Salmon Fishcakes ...

Photography and blog post by Urvashi Roe 

I discovered rocket late in life – a few years ago when I was having lunch with a friend I noticed she was eating this green stuff that I had always thought was ‘garnish’.  I was just never exposed to it growing up in and Indian household but recently I can’t get enough of it. 

I do find it rather expensive though and like many of us in these recessionary times, I’m trying to grow as much as I can to save a little cash.  I’m not an expert but if you’re keen to have a go, herbs and salad leaves like rocket should be at the top of your list as they give an excellent return on investment and can be used in so many dishes.

You can start with seeds which cost around £1.50 per packet and are widely available from gardening centres, online growers and even supermarkets nowadays.  You really don’t need any fancy equipment.  I use a simple egg carton on the windowsill.  Just keep it warm and then when the seedlings come up you can move them to a big pot or windowbox.

If that’s too much bother, you can buy pots of seedlings that you can then thin out in a container of your choosing or into the ground.  We have a pretty small garden which gets full sun all day so containers work well because they can be moved around to different spots that are a bit shadier when it’s really hot. You can then pick the leaves as and when you want all through the summer. 

It’s not too late to start growing rocket.  It’s in season now and there are plenty of starter kits to get you going.  My single packet lasted from March through to October last year so I must have saved around £50 not having to buy it every week.

It’s a very versatile leaf too.  Use it instead of lettuce in sandwiches or burgers like this Cheeseburger from Marcus Wareing.  It’s looks pretty when dressing a salad plate like Adam Simmond’s Crab Salad.  It’s great as a pesto or puree – substitute the red pepper with rocket in these simple spoon canapés from Kevin Magneolles.  Or do what I did and just toss it in some zesty dressing and pile it on top of Salmon Fishcakes like these from Chris Horridge

Salmon Fishcakes by Chris Horridge cooked by Urvashi Roe

Blog post for Great British Chefs by Urvashi Roe aka @BotanicalBaker

What are some of your favourite salad leaves for garnishes and for salads themselves? Have you ever tried growing salad leaves at home?  Let us know over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.


Urvashi Roe

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking & eating a therapeutic relief from her day job in marketing. She also freelances for various publications including lovefood.com & The Foodie Bugle and was a former contestant on BBC2's Great British Bake Off. Fascinated by the nutritional properties of fresh produce she started to share her knowledge on her Botanical Baker blog. As an Indian, she's also passionate about the food of her foremothers & shares the simplicity of this on her Gujerati Girl blog. 

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