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Herbs and Spices

We all have those tiny jars of different Herbs and Spices in our kitchen cupboards but what exactly are they and how should they be used?

HERB

DESCRIPTION

USE

Basil

Leaf

Good herb for salads, although it is also excellent in stew, soups etc. At its best with fresh tomatoes or in any dish containing cooked tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Bay leaves

Thickish shiny leaf

Can be used in soups, stocks, stews etc. as well as court-bouillon for fish.

Bouquet Garni

Collection of herbs

The classic bouquet garni is composed of three sprigs of parsley, including stems which contain most of the flavour, one sprig of thyme and half a bay leaf, tied together in muslin. However, many variations are possible such as the inclusion of peppercorns, mace, cloves or other herbs such as rosemary or marjoram.

Celery salt

Granular

Mild and pleasant in flavour and can be used generously in all kinds of hot dishes. Excellent in tomato soup.

Chervil

 

Similar flavour to parsley, but milder. Can be used fresh as a garnish or in soups, stews and salads.

Cloves

Brown and twig like.

Excellent for both sweet and savoury dishes, should be used sparingly as it has a strong flavour. At its best in combination with other flavourings, particularly good with apples and ham.

Dill

 

Quite a sharp, pungent flavour, used in pickling. Also good in salads and salad dressings.

Garlic salt

Granular

May be used as a substitute for fresh garlic. Should be used with discretion as too much will dominate all other flavours.

Marjoram

 

Use sparingly for flavouring soups, stews etc. and in stuffings for meat and fish.

Mint

Smallish green leaves

Popular, well known herb, either fresh or dried. Particular good in salads, cooked with carrots, peas or new potatoes. Also as a seasoning or sauce with lamb.

Nutmeg

Hard brown and nut like

Can be ground.

May be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. A little grated nutmeg is excellent with potatoes, baked custard, rice puddings etc.

Oregano

 

Italian herb, a form of wild marjoram. Use sparingly in spaghetti and beef dishes.

Paprika

Reddish powder

Mild and sweet and can be used generously as a flavouring or garnish for all kinds of dishes and soups.

Parsley

Green leaf.

Stems contain a lot of the flavour.

Used as flavouring and garnish.

Can be used in salads, cooked vegetables, with all kinds of meat, poultry and fish dishes.

Rosemary

Short, spiky leaf

Use sparingly in salads, stews and spaghetti sauce. Very good for seasoning lamb.

Saffron

Dried stigmas of crocus

Mild, pleasant flavour. Used to give a pale yellow colour to cakes, rice dishes and sauces.

Sage

Small, fleshy leaf

Good with all meat dishes and in meat, poultry and sausage stuffings Particularly good with pork and cheese but should be used sparingly.

Savoury

 

Pleasant flavour and combines well with others. Good with meat, meat stuffings, vegetable soups and sausages.

Tarragon

 

Good with fish and mushrooms, in tartare sauce as well as in salads and other sauces. Use sparingly as is fairly pungent

Thyme

 

Use sparingly in stuffings, soups, meat and sauces.

 

 

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