Here is a little known herb that is easy to grow and looks as pretty as it's name. Sweet Cicely has an aromatic aniseed like flavour and has been traditionally grown in cottage gardens to sweeten sharp fruits in tarts and puddings.
Sweet Cicely looks very similar to cow parsley with frond-like leaves and delicate white flowers and grows best in well drained soil in a sunny position. It can grow quite tall but can be cut right back after flowering.
The seeds can be used whole in cooking or as a ground spice. However you can also use the leaves. I use the them for a little culinary trick taught to me long ago by my mother. Pick a handful of the leaves and wash. Then stew them in the same pan as your rhubarb. remove them when the rhubarb is cooked through. They will not only give a delicate aniseed flavour, but also cut through the acidity of the fruit. The tartness of stewed rhubarb that makes your teeth feel furry magically disappears. One small grandchild of mine overheard me talking about this and asked to be shown the 'teeth fairy plant'! So that is what it's known as in our garden.
Goodbye for now,