Herbs make my world go round and turn any salad into a new universe of its own.
Herbs are just exquisite little gifts of flavour from nature. Not only do herbs make an amazing difference to the flavour of other wholefoods, but they are serving your organs too. Yep, they are the original superfood that requires no health claims, that burst open with flavour when chewed and can turn any non-cook into an epic chef!! Well not quite, but it sounded good eh? lol!!
One of the best things about herbs is being able to grow your own. Getting back to what nature intended for us, that connection with where our food comes from. Whether you have a full on garden or a just a windowsill, you can always find space to grow just one herb or two.
If you want to that is, no pressure from me….
All the herbs I mention below are freezer friendly too! That’s how we can get longevity out of our herbs, our hard earned cash doesn’t wilt away after a few hours on the kitchen bench from the BIG shop you did this morning. So you never have to let anything go to waste, and will always have some on tap.
And actually, one thing to remember >> don’t store ya herbs like that!
What I mean is – in a glass jar on the kitchen bench with some water, sure it looks pretty, but instead, just simply wash ’em, then spin them in a salad spinner and store them wrapped in paper towel in a dry plastic bag in the fridge or freezer. On the kitchen bench in a jar or glass of water, “e no work”!
Parsley is my number one recommendation to create freshness and flavour. You can grow flat leaf and curly leaf – I love them both! This is one of Mother Nature’s true superfoods.
Plus it adds a certain freshness to any dish, especially cooked dishes. I love sprinkling parsley on pizzas and pasta after they’ve been cooked. It adds so much flavour to broths and sauces too, like my leek sauce, or bulking up a basil pesto, and of course in a hashbrown…..Mmmmmm fried potato goodness!
Basil is like a king herb for me and one of my herbs of choice. There are so many fragrant basils to choose from for various dishes: Thai basil, purple basil, lemon basil, aniseed basil and garden basil—to name just a few.
Garden basil (also known as common basil) is my favourite because it’s so diverse. I love using basil with tomatoes. It really brings out their flavour in the most amazing way. The Italians know their food and flavours! So yum on bruschetta and any tomato dish. Or simply tear it up and put on top of pizzas and pastas too. Pesto… OMG, PESTO…YUM..!!
Spring onions, well why not? They are cheap and cheerful. They add a great taste to a salad at work and you won’t have that onion breath aftermath as spring onions are the milder vision of an onion. God has our backs here ladies….
Coriander as we call it in Australia. You either HATE it or you can’t get enough of it. I am a BIG fan of adding some chopped coriander, chili and onion to some olive oil and cooking it for 30 seconds, then showering a couple of eggs on top and cooking it to my liking… Mmmmmmm OMG coriander!! I am a fan of the ‘ander. It’s an epic herb that can really inspire an eater.
Mint is natures way of telling us to stop and smell the mint. And when you crush a few leaves in between your fingers then have a big sniff, OMG, something that has that amount of aroma in it has to be used on a salad.
Or even boil some hot water, add a HEAP of mint in a coffee cup and pour the water on and BOOM, you have something that is far more advance then a herbal mint tea bag. No offence to the tea and its bag, it’s just that fresh mint is something quite delish when it’s super fresh.
One last blast of writing is this….
If you don’t want to grow herbs, and trust me I get it, look at other things you can grow without interference like a bay leaf bush. Holy shit, this is epic! It’s Nature’s Stock Cube!
Bay Leaf is like a stock cube in a leaf! Wholefood flavouring at its best. This herb is indispensable in any kind of soup, stew or broth. If you can possibly grow a bay leaf tree, that would be really cool. I used to grow a lot and the fresh leaves are completely different to the dry ones – so much more potent. The tree is hardy, woody and strong. You can pick the leaves and branches and it keeps growing back. Grows to about 1.5m tall and 1m wide.
Love Chef xx
Chef Cynthia Louise is an Internationally acclaimed MasterChef, speaker, author, restaurant consultant, teacher and television presenter in wholefood, dairy-free cooking. She also has the worlds first online cooking classes focused on dairy-free plant-based whole foods with recipes that people are raving about and changing people's health, one delicious bite at a time. Chef Cynthia loves nothing more than educating people about the simplicity and vitality of a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle. Each dish is like art on a plate and her flavour combinations nourish the soul and get everyone talking.