Take some herbs…

Herbs are possibly the easiest ingredients to use to add flavour to your meals. All it takes is a generous handful of fresh leaves or a teaspoon or two of the dried varieties to make a meal delicious. Basil and coriander are two of my favourites because they compliment so many foods. It’s convenient to keep bottled herbs handy, but as with most herbs, the fresh stuff gives you so much more flavour.

While herbs were initially used for medicinal or spiritual purposes only, they eventually found their way into kitchens and onto plates. Here’s how to get them onto yours:

Basil is at its best when added fresh, either to a salad or as the last topping on a cooked meal. It works wonderfully with any tomato-based dish, but you can also…

  • Make your own pesto: a combination of basil, olive oil and pine nuts
  • Mix whole basil leaves into potato bakes and tuna bakes – the leaves will go a darker colour and wilt, but the flavour will still be there
  • Make a quick dip by mixing finely torn basil into plain low fat cottage cheese
  • Use the crushed leaves of a basil mint plant for cocktails

Coriander has a very strong and distinctive taste, so it’s a good idea to add it in small amounts to your meals and gradually increase the quantity as you get used to the taste…

  • Add a tablespoon of freshly chopped coriander to curry dishes just before serving
  • Add fresh or dried coriander to tomato and onion salsas
  • Make a peanut sauce for pasta or chicken using a mixture of peanut butter, soy sauce, water, garlic and finely chopped coriander
  • Mix dried coriander or coriander seeds with olive oil and salt to spread over flatbread just before heating it in the oven
  • Mix torn coriander leaves with lemon juice and vegetable stock to poach firm white fish fillets
  • Make an easy Thai-flavoured sauce by mixing warm coconut milk, lemongrass and coriander together

 

Adapted from Food Flavours. See www.soundbites.co.za

 

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