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Be more inventive with herbs

It’s easy to get in a rut when using herbs in cooking. Using the same recipes, you achieve the same flavour. Instead, why not be a little more adventurous and experimental when you reach for the herb pots?

Outside the comfort zone

Basil is a staple of Italian cuisine, in tomato sauces and pasta dishes. Its fresh vibrant flavours can also be used to liven up a tomato and mozzarella salad or as a contrasting accompaniment to cold pork or ham in a sandwich.

Mint is not just for roast lamb. Cocktail aficionados already know how great it is in a mojito. Its refreshing flavour also makes it an ideal addition to an outdoor summer lunch. Try it with a little grilled halloumi cheese or finely chopped and sprinkled on steamed broccoli or a tomato salad.

Tarragon is usually found in the vicinity of chicken, but its aromatic and earthy flavours make it the perfect accompaniment to mushrooms. A light cep and tarragon combination makes a stylish sauce for pasta.

Oregano is usually confined to pizza toppings or pasta sauces. It can be far more versatile, making a great contribution to a Greek dish like moussaka or as a flavouring for a slow-roast leg or shoulder of lamb. It adds a touch of Mediterranean vibrancy to the meat.

Coriander is usually the garnish on a curry but in leaf or ground form it can offer much more. The chopped leaves add zest to a Mexican salsa or an Asian salad dressing. The aromatic ground coriander seeds can take a velvety butternut squash soup beyond the realms of bland comfort food into far more interesting culinary areas.

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