Herbs add a special something to recipes and make for very special flavour moments. Simply the smell of fresh of herbs wafting through the kitchen whets the appetite.
There is a wide choice and recent years have seen the rediscovery of older, forgotten varieties. Herbs are versatile in the kitchen and are an enrichment not only for savoury dishes. Many a sweet dish or baking recipe can be refined by adding herbs.
We have put together a mini herb lexicon for you, together with plenty of recipe tips.
Slightly onion-like in flavour, chives are a popular addition to salad dressings, herb butter and egg dishes. Chives are best when freshly harvested and finely chopped. They also freeze well like this.
Curly parsley has a delicate, mild flavour while the flat-leaf variety is somewhat stronger. Both are very popular and are used to flavour salads, sauces and herb butter. Parsley is also a popular seasoning for soups and casseroles.
Just the smell of mint tells you that it has a refreshing flavour. Mint not only adds a special touch to savoury dishes like couscous or lamb, but also adds an extra dimension to fruity desserts.
The bitter, slightly acidic flavour of fresh sage is especially popular in Mediterranean cooking. Sage can be used both fresh and dried. It is also very popular as a medicinal herb used for making tea.
Also very much at home in Mediterranean cooking is the strongly flavoured thyme. Both meat and vegetable dishes acquire a special touch through the addition of thyme. Thyme can be used both fresh and dried. In fact, it has double the intensity when dried.
With its piquant aroma, oregano is especially suited to many tomato dishes, making it an essential ingredient for pizza and tomato sauces. Oregano is often used dried but it also lends a subtle flavour when used fresh.
Rosemary’s fine leaves give meat and venison dishes an especially strong flavour nuance. It is also a popular herb for grilled vegetables in combination with garlic, or for flavouring preserves.