From a couple of tiny cuttings the lemon verbena in my garden has become a huge, uncontrollable bush, so I’ve been making good use of it over the past couple of years. I tie it in bunches and dry it to use through autumn and winter, to make tea, jellies and other infusions like this. 

I even add it fresh to a fragrant wild herb salad with ox-eye daisy, plantain, dandelion, wild chervil and pennywort. 

For this dessert I’ve used blackberries as a garnish as the flavours work perfectly; use defrosted frozen ones if you don’t have fresh.


Prep time: 15 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes




For the rice pudding

  • 100g lemon verbena, stalks and all
  • 1 litre Jersey milk, or as needed
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 100g good-quality short-grain pudding rice
  • 250ml thick Jersey cream
  • seasonal fruit, to garnish

For the syrup

  • 80g caster sugar
  • 20 lemon verbena sprigs
  • 1 tsp cornflour, diluted in a little water


  1. Put half the lemon verbena in a heavy-based pan with the milk and sugar, and bring to the boil. Simmer very gently for 15 minutes to infuse the milk.
  2. Remove the verbena with a slotted spoon then add the rice to the pan. Simmer very gently for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly, then add the rest of the fresh lemon verbena and continue simmering very gently for another 20 minutes, until the rice is tender. This is like a double infusion that will give the pudding a more intense verbena flavour. Add a little more milk during cooking if the rice is getting dry.

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