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15 Borage Recipes and Serving Ideas

borage and cucumber salad
Borage and cucumber is a match made in heaven. But there’s a lot more you can do with borage.

Beverages and Drinks with Borage

To flavour a glass of tomato juice or cocktail add 1 tablespoon minced young borage leaves. Add borage flowers when serving alcoholic drinks and fruit drinks. Especially good with a claret cup. Add borage leaves and flowers to hot or iced tea or lemonade.

Borage Wine Cup
Makes about 2 liter
125ml brandy
30ml castor sugar
750ml bottle dry white wine
125ml orange juice
250ml crushed ice
750ml bottle pink champagne
250ml lemonade
250ml ginger ale
250ml chopped fresh borage leaves
Borage flowers to garnish (optional)

  1. Blend brandy, sugar, wine, juice and ice until combined.
  2. Combine champagne, lemonade, ginger ale, borage and wine mixture in large bowl just before serving.
  3. Decorate with borage flowers.

Borage Ice Blocks
Half fill ice block trays with cold water and freeze solid. Remove from freezer and tip out the half blocks. Put a borage flower into each division, replace the half blocks and top them up with water. The flower is then trapped between the water and the ice. When the tray is returned to the freezer the borage flower will be set in the middle of the ice block. Otherwise the flowers tend to float to the top.

Borage-Flavoured Lemonade
¼ cup lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons sugar
3-4 medium-sized borage leaves
2 cups water

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for approximately 30 seconds. Strain into a tall glass, and garnish with borage flowers.

Strawberry and Borage Cocktail
4-5 borage leaves
250ml dry vermouth
450ml orange juice
450ml soda water
450ml ginger ale
1 lemon thinly sliced
1 punnet small strawberries

  1. Lightly crush borage with mortar and pestle.
  2. Place in a large punch bowl and add all other ingredients, except strawberries; chill.
  3. Clean and prepare strawberries and float in a punch bowl just before serving.

Get more herbal beverage recipes…

Desserts with Borage

To Candy Borage Flowers
Pick the borage flowers, each with a small stem, when they are quite dry. Paint each one with lightly beaten egg white, using a water colour paintbrush. Dust them lightly with castor sugar and set to dry on waxed paper in a warm place like an airing cupboard or in a very cool oven.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup
Make a mixture of fruit e.g. Passion fruit, kiwi fruit, pineapple, selection of berries, paw paw, melon, water melon. Combine fruit in a large bowl. Add lime syrup, toss gently to combine, cover, refrigerate for several hours, even overnight.

Lime Syrup
125 ml lime juice
125 ml sugar
60 ml chopped fresh borage leaves

  1. Combine juice and sugar in small saucepan, stir over heat without boiling, until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer, uncovered without stirring for 5 minutes, cool.
  3. Stir in borage.

Preserves with Borage

Add flowers to herbal vinegar as a dye and for a slight cucumber flavour.

Borage Jelly
A great spread with cream cheese and crackers.

6 cups borage leaves and flowers parts soaked in a 4 cups of cold water overnight, drain
4 cups of borage infused water
4 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon
1 pack commercial pectin
a pinch of salt and red pepper

  1. Cook according to commercial pectin direction.
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Salads with Borage

Red, White and Blue Salad
1 medium cucumber
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes
¾ cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon course black pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped dill leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon finely grated red onion
salt to taste
borage flowers togarnish

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the tomatoes and flowers.
  2. Slice tomatoes and arrange them, overlapping, around the edge of a serving platter.
  3. Mound the cucumber mixture in the center of the platter, just covering the inner edge of the tomatoes.
  4. Chill well, and place the borage flowers decoratively on the salad just before serving.
    Serves 4 to 6

Mixed Herb Salad (La Salade de Plusieurs Herbes)
Adapted from a 16th century French translation of a book originally written in Latin in 1474.

2 heads lettuce
1 handful young, tender borage leaves
1 handful chopped fresh mint leaves
1 handful fresh lemon-balm leaves
1 handful tender fennel shoots and flowers
1 handful fresh chervil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon oregano or marjoram flowers and leaves
salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar

  1. Wash the lettuce and herbs well, dry them and place them in a large dish.
  2. Sprinkle with salt, add the oil and finally the vinegar.
  3. Let the salad stand a while before serving.
  4. Eat the salad heartily, crunching and chewing well.
    To serve 6

Borage and Cucumbers
3 large cucumbers
200ml sour cream
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh, young borage leaves (chopped finely)

  1. Slice the cucumbers thinly. Salt lightly and set aside in a colander for 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients, add the cucumbers to the mixture, and toss lightly.
  3. Garnish with borage blossoms.
  4. Chill for one hour before serving.

Get more salad recipes featuring herbs…

Sauces with Borage

Cucumber Sauce
Serve with fish salads, fried seafood and green salads

1 cucumber
2 shallots
5 ml soy sauce
salt and pepper
10 ml lemon juice
5 ml orange or lemon rind
5 ml made mustard
a dash of cayenne
20 ml chopped borage leaves
125 ml mayonnaise

  1. Grate the cucumber and shallots. Add all other ingredients and blend in electric blender.Makes ± 375 ml

Frankfurter Gruene Sauce (Frankfurter Green Sauce)
3 cups mixed herbs (parsley, chives, chervil, borage, dill, spinach greens, watercress, tarragon, basil, pimpernel)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 small onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ cup low-fat cottage cheese (pressed through a fine sieve in order to smooth curds)
ground white pepper
small pinch of sugar
1 to 2 eggs, hardboiled and coarsely chopped

  1. Choose all or merely a selection of the herbs and greens mentioned in the list of ingredients (using the tarragon more sparingly than the others). Wash them thoroughly and drain on paper towels.
  2. Coarsely chop the greens; loosely packed, they should amount to about 3 cups altogether.
  3. Take 2 cups of the greens, combine with the sour cream or yogurt and the onions, and puree in the blender or processor; add a few tablespoons of cream if it doesn’t seem to be fluid enough.
  4. The rest of the greens should just be finely chopped and stirred in a mixing bowl with the puree in order to give the sauce a little bite.
  5. Stir in as much mayonnaise and low-fat cottage cheese as it takes to produce a smooth, creamy sauce.

Season with salt, pepper, and a little sugar. The hardboiled eggs can either be mixed in with the sauce or strewn over it as a garnish.
Makes 2 to 3 cups

Get more sauce recipes featuring herbs…

Soups with Borage

Add one tablespoon young freshly chopped leaves to every 4 cups beet, cabbage, green pea or spinach soup

Acquacotta di Verdure – Cooked Water with Greens
Acquacotta literally means cooked water. It is generally served as a one coarse meal and in the past was eaten by shepherds and stockmen. There are as many versions as there are cooks.

A loaf of day-old Italian bread
1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
500 g ripe tomatoes, chopped (and peeled, if you like)
500 g spinach washed and coarsely chopped
500 g vegetables such as peas, beans, bell peppers or whatever else is in season
Bouquet garni of minced borage, marjoram, thyme, parsley
125 ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Fill a fairly large pot ¾ full of water and add the vegetables and herbs. Season with a little salt and cook for about 40 minutes.
  2. When the vegetables have finished cooking, cut the bread into thick slices. Dip each in the pot, let it drain, and put it in a bowl.
  3. Spoon some vegetables and a bit of the vegetable broth over the slices, drizzle some olive oil over them, and serve them with freshly ground pepper.

Get more soup recipes featuring herbs…

Vegetables with Borage

Borage flowers makes an attractive edible garnish and may be added to any green or fruit salad to taste. Young finely chopped borage leaves may be added to any green salad, but do not add too much because of their hairy texture. Especially good with beans, green peas and spinach.

Borage Leaves as a Vegetable
Wash young borage leaves and remove stalks. Chop finely and cook in a little butter in a covered saucepan over a very low heat. Season to taste. The dampness of the washed leaves should be enough to keep them from sticking to the bottom; they should soon be tender and their hairy texture disappears when cooked.

Try to combine the borage leaves with cabbage or spinach using about one-third borage leaves to two-thirds cabbage or spinach and cook in the same way.

It is makes a great ‘marog’.

Borage Fritters
250 ml flour
8 ml baking powder
salt
125 ml milk
1 beaten egg
125 ml – 250 ml cooked, chopped borage leaves
15 ml grated onion
oil or butter to fry

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a basin.
  2. Make a well in the centre and stir in combined milk and egg to make a stiff batter.
  3. Add chopped, cooked borage leaves and grated onion.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the mixture in tablespoons, turning to brown both sides.
  5. Drain on brown paper and eat hot with mashed potatoes and grilled tomatoes.
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5 Popular Seasoning Salt Recipes

According to Tony Hill, author of the Spice Lover’s Guide to Herbs and Spices seasoning salts are one of the fastest growing categories of spice sales. They are incredibly versatile from a marketing perspective he says; you can attach just about any culinary trend or herb and spice blend to a seasoning salt. Tex-Mex, BBQ Spice, Greek, Italian, Poultry, the sky is the limit.

Seasoning salts aren’t hard to formulate and the nature of salt is that it will stabilize and preserve whatever tastes you care to add to them.

The blends also tend to get better over time as the flavours infuse and marry with the salt and each other. This means one can make a large batch every three months and draw from the pot as needed.

Buy a good quality sea salt and start experimenting.

1.Basic Herb Salt Recipe

Most of us are familiar with celery salt and garlic salt. But few cooks realise how simple and easy it is to make a whole range of herb salts. Use the following basic recipe and any herb you prefer. The stronger more robust herbs maintain their flavour best in a herb salt.

You are also welcome to try some combinations of herbs and spices.

4 parts fresh herbs 8 parts sea salt

  1. Set your oven to its lowest temperature.
  2. Chop the herbs as finely as possible and mix with the salt. Spread the mixture on a baking pan and cover with foil.
  3. Place in the oven, keeping the oven door slightly ajar, and dry for approximately 1 ½ hours or until the herbs are dry and brittle.
  4. Allow to cool. Crumble the herbs with the salt.
  5. Package the herb salt in airtight containers, which have been decorated and labelled beforehand.

Seasoning Salt Recipes

seasoning-salt-food-400405_1280For all the seasoning salt recipes below, it’s best to grind or crush all the spices together with the salt by running the entire batch though a coffee mill. The texture depends on your preference. Little bottles make great gifts for family and friends and won’t break the bank.

2. Poultry Seasoning Salt

This seasoning salt is a good example of the endless variations available to you when you start cooking with herbs and spices. Since we like pungent food we add 1-2 Tbs extra hot chilli powder to this recipe.

1 cup coarse sea salt
8 tbsp dried Italian parsley
4 tbsp dried sage
4 tbsps dried marjoram (or 2 Tbs dried oregano)
2 tbsp dried winter savory (optional)
2 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried lovage (or 1 tsp Maggi Fondor)
1 tbsps dried lemon rind
1 tbsps brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion flakes

3. Vegetable Seasoning Salt

1 cup coarse sea salt
3 tbsp dried marjoram
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsps dried thyme
1 tbsp dried sage

4. Salt-Free Seasoning Salt

Herb blends are a worthy substitution for the salt shaker on the dining table. And they also offer a healthy addition to your diet. This recipe has been created especially to be used in place of salt.

2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp dried marjoram
2 tbsp dried savoury
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp onion granules or flakes (not powder)
2 tsp powdered milk (aids shaking and prevents caking)

Mix all the ingredients then ground them finely in a blender. Put in a shaker bottle.

5. Salt-Free Barbecue Rub

This rub works well with any kind of meat. Beware: because of the high sugar content it caramelizes (blackens) quickly on the braai.

9 parts brown sugar
6 parts paprika powder
3 parts black pepper
3 parts garlic powder or flakes
1 part cayenne pepper
½ part onion powder
½ part mustard powder
½ part celery seed, crushed
½ part chilli powder
½ part cumin, crushed

Mix all the ingredients then store in an airtight container.

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How To Make Your Own Herb and Spice Blends

Making your own herb and spice blends is the ultimate in culinary adventure. With a mere handful of different herbs, spices and other flavourings you can create a nearly endless variety of healthy gourmet dishes.

Your aim in making a blend should be to produce a balanced, complex flavour that makes your diners want to take another bite, not analyze it.

You will soon find that by simply using one or two herbs and spices you won’t be able to achieve this aim. You will, most likely, be using three or four herbs, plus a spice or two, resulting in greater depth to your finished dishes.

How do you formulate blends?

The easiest way to start is to copy classic recipes. These have endured the test of time because they work. And making them to perfection comes with automatic bragging rights.

“Classic dishes typically consist of combinations – of flavours, textures, even aromas and colour – that history has been hard-pressed to offer improvements upon. Their having stood the test of time speaks to the elegance of their form, in combining flavours harmoniously but, in many cases, synergistically, such that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the individual parts” – Dornenburg and Page.

How To Deconstruct the Classic Herb and Spice Blends

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When you study the classic herb and spice blends a good learning tool is to deconstruct the recipe. This will deepen your understanding and appreciation of why these blends have stood the test of time. And it allows you to develop your savoir faire for creating your own blends.

When we deconstruct a recipe we build it up ingredient by ingredient, technique by technique, tasting at each step to determine how the ingredient/technique contribute to the recipe. Doing this with most herb and spice blends is very easy as no cooking is involved.

Let me give you an example…

Fines Herbes is a fresh herb blend consisting of equal proportions of finely chopped parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon. When deconstructing the recipe you start with a simple blend of say parsley and chives (assuming you know how both taste and smell on their own).

Taste and smell the parsley and chive blend then blend in the chervil. Taste and smell. Then blend in the tarragon. Taste and smell. Is the whole indeed greater than the sum of the parts?

A Basic Blending Formula

Once you’ve tried and mastered the classic recipes you’ll have the skill and flair to adapt them to suit your own palate.

“Mastering the classics doesn’t mean doing the same things the same way they’ve always been done – it means making them exactly right for you today. There’s genius in those classic dishes that isn’t always appreciated.” – Rick Bayless chef-owner of Frontera Grill in Chicago.

Formulating your own blends is easier than most people think. What’s more, it is a wonderful creative outlet. Start by tweaking the proportions of any classic or add or omit one or two ingredients. I also like to make traditional dry blends with as many fresh herbs as is possible.

Finding the correct proportions can sometimes be a challenge, but over the years we’ve develop a loose proportion guide which you can try when you start making a new blend from scratch. It looks as follows:

  • Fusion herbs – 6 parts in total
  • Mild herbs – 4 parts in total
  • Robust herbs and spices – 2 parts in total
  • Other flavourings – 1 part in total

Remember that the proportions of the different herbs and spices in a blend will determine the character of the blend. Equal parts of both mild and robust herbs for example will result in the robust ones masking the mild one

Recipe 1: Dried Barbecue Spice Blend

Say you are going camping and you would like to make a dried general use Barbecue Spice Mix to take along.

Starting with the fusion herbs you know that most of them don’t retain their flavour well when dried. So you can safely omit the fusion herbs in this recipe or you can say “what the heck – lets use them anyway.” You only have dried Italian Parsley and, heaven forgive, some dried chives on hand. So you decide on 4 parts Italian Parsley and 2 parts chives. Giving you a total of 6 parts fusion herbs.

As you can see this is where the endless variations start. You could just as well have tried 5 parts and 1 part, or you could have used more chives and less Italian Parsley. Just ensure that you “roughly” use 6 parts in total.

You can use any measure for measuring out a part. It can be a teaspoon, tablespoon, cup or a wheelbarrow. It depends on the final quantity you want to make. Just don’t change your measure during the recipe.

Next comes your mild herbs of which you need 4 parts in total. You decide on 2 parts marjoram and 2 parts lemon thyme.

For the robust herbs you decide on adding 1 part winter savory and 1 part rosemary to the mixing bowl . Making 2 parts in total.

You want the mix to have a bit of a bite so for the “other flavourings” you add ½ part black peppercorns and ½ part dried chillies. Making up 1 part in total.

Your resulting recipe thus looks as follows:

  • Fusion herbs – 4 parts Italian Parsley and 2 parts chives = 6 parts
  • Mild herbs – 2 parts marjoram and 2 parts lemon thyme = 4 parts
  • Robust herbs – 1 part winter savory and 1 part rosemary = 2 parts
  • Other – ½ part black pepper and ½ part chilli = 1 part

After mixing the ingredients thoroughly you grind it using a mortar and pestle, or an electric grinder, which allows you to put it into a shaker.

Next you have a taste. It lacks a bit bite and “body”, so you add another pinch of chilli, a little bit of herb salt and a dash of brown sugar. Mix again, taste. Perfect.

Recipe 2: Fresh Barbecue Spice Blend

For our next example let us pretend that somebody did not like your idea of making a dried mix to take along on your trip.

Fresh is always best and they insist on having a fresh Barbecue Spice blend. You duly oblige.

  • Fusion herbs – 3 parts parsley, 2 parts garlic chives and 1 part bay leaves
  • Mild herbs – 2 parts basil, 1 part cilantro and 1 part lemon thyme
  • Robust herbs – 2 parts oregano
  • Other – ¼ part garlic, ¼ part pepper, ½ part fresh chilli and some lemon zest for extra measure.

You combine all the ingredients in a food processor and chop them evenly.

Next you start adding olive oil teaspoon by teaspoon and continue chopping till you have a smooth paste.

Taste. Perfect.

If you stored this in a small sterilised airtight jar it should keep for up to 2 weeks in your camping refrigerator.

Now it’s your turn.

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Pork Fillet Roast with Dried Fruit

pork roast with dried fruitThis recipe by Lynn Roblin is a great way to bring out the best flavour in pork.

The dried fruits go well with the pork and increase the fiber content.

Pork can handle all the sweet spices, including allspice, cinnamon and clove so feel free to play around with these if you’d like to spice this recipe up a bit.

I like serving this recipe with rice.

Pork Fillet Roast with Dried Fruit
 
  • 750g pork fillet
  • 50ml brown sugar
  • 50ml orange marmalafe
  • 50ml beef stock
  • 50ml red wine
  • 50ml chopped dates
  • 50ml chopped dried apricots
  • 50ml raisins
  1. Place fillet in roasting pan. In a small saucepan, heat sugar and marmalade, brush over pork.
  2. Add stock, wine, dates, apricots and raisins to the roasting pan.
  3. Bake, covered, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until required doneness is reached.
  4. To serve, slice meat and spoon sauce and fruit over meat.

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Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

bowl of spicy chicken noodle soupIn the 12th century the great physician and philosopher Maimonides prescribed herbal baths and chicken soup as remedies for the common cold.

More than 800 years later, the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that Maimonides was right. Researchers found that chicken soup was a mild antibiotic, decongestant and throat soother. Chinese healers to this day also use chicken soup to treat colds, though they do add some herbs, like ginseng, to their brew.

To make a healing chicken soup simply add chicken, onion, carrots, pepper and a pinch of salt to a pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add a chilli pepper and garlic. Boil slowly until the chicken is soft and tender. Skim off the fat and pour through a sieve. Add a few squirts of lemon juice and serve steaming hot. Sip slowly.

Here’s one of my favourite chicken noodle soup recipes. To boost its cold fighting properties I add loads of ginger, garlic and chilli pepper.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
 
By:
  • 1,5 litres chicken stock
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 5 ml salt
  • 2 ml pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 chilli pepper, chopped
  • 150 g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 50 g raw egg noodles
  • 150 g cooked chicken, diced
  1. Bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, spring onions, salt, pepper, ginger, garlic and chilli pepper. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms and noodles. Add the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

Hierdie resep is ook beskikbaar in Afrikaans.

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How To Make Your Own Deli-Style Mustard

Making your own mustard mixes can be fun and interesting! The combinations are endless, delicious, aromatic and rewarding.

home-made mustard
Home-made mustard makes a great gift for a foodie. Photo credit: iStockPhoto.

Mustards are made of a basic mixture of dry mustard seeds, vinegar and seasonings. They get their distinct and varying flavours from the added vinegars, wines, sugar, herbs and other seasonings. Some prefer their mustard to be a natural pale yellow or brownish shade; others add turmeric for a vivid yellow mustard.

Your mustard can be sweet to sharp, winy, biting, hot, pungent, musty or tangy depending on your personal preference.

You can add herbs such as basil, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme or rosemary. I prefer using dried herbs because they stand up better to the mustard flavour. But you can also fresh herbs. Add at least 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs to this recipe.

How To Seal and Store Your Mustards

Remember to sterilise your jars before using them. Simply pour boiling water into them, then empty and allow to dry completely. After sealing your jars keep them in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks before using, to allow the flavours to develop. Use the mustard within 3 months. Once opened, the flavour will start to deteriorate, so refrigerate and use it up fairly quickly.

What Can Go Wrong With Your Mustard and Why?

If the mustard dries out on the surface, it has not been sealed correctly. Some of the flip top jars does not always seal tight. Cover the mouth of the jar with cling wrap before closing. If the mustard is left too long, it will lose most of its strength. If the mustard develops mould or an ‘off’ aroma you did not sterilise your jars properly.

Mustard Recipe Variations

  • Clove-spiced mustard – add one teaspoon of cloves.
  • Chili-garlic mustard – add 1 dried chili pepper and 1 clove garlic.
  • Horseradish mustard – add ½ to 1 tablespoon grated horseradish.
  • Tarragon mustard – add a pinch of cloves and a teaspoon tarragon.
  • Beer mustard – use 130ml beer and 70ml vinegar instead of the 200ml vinegar. Add a pinch of ginger, cinnamon and some caraway seeds.
  • Honey mustard – add 50ml honey instead of the brown sugar.
Basic Deli-Style Mustard Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
By:
  • 50g white mustard seeds
  • 30 g black mustard seeds
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 5ml salt
  • 5 ml turmeric
  • 5ml dried herbs.
  • 200ml white wine vinegar.
  1. Put the mustard seeds, sugar, salt, turmeric and herbs into a liquidizer and blend together.
  2. Gradually add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending well between each tablespoon, then continue blending until you have a coarse paste.
  3. Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes, to thicken slightly.
  4. Sterilise the jars and spoon the mustard into the jars. Seal (cover with cling wrap), label (remember the date) and keep in a cool dark place for 2 weeks before using, to allow the flavours to develop.
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