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How To Make a Classic Bouquet Garni

bouquet garni photo
A freshly prepared bouquet garni for flavouring a variety of dishes.

The classic bouquet garni recipe is a quick and easy way to add a new dimension to casseroles, stews, potjiekos, soups, and my personal favourite – oven baked vegetables. And you only need three herbs to make it.

The classic recipe consists of parsley, thyme and bay. Nowadays we also add a twig of rosemary, a stick of celery or a little slice of lemon peel. Fennel leaves will also liven up the taste. But these are all optional additions.

Tip: Try adding a bouquet garni next time you make your own stock and taste the difference. That includes store bought stock. Simply infuse the herbs in the prepared stock.

Now that you know how easy it is to make a bouquet garni, give it a bash and impress your guests with your skillful flavouring of the cooking pot.

You’l find many more recipes on our main recipe page. We also stock a range of exotic spices and freeze dried herbs in the Eco Herb Shop.

Classic Bouquet Garni Recipe
 
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  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Tie up the three sprigs of fresh parsley, one of fresh thyme and one fresh bay leaf (and any other herbs) into a small bunch.
  2. Add the bunch to the dish right from the start to give the flavours time to marry.
  3. Remove it just before serving. This is to prevent your diners from discovering your secret to flavouring your cooking pot. Just joking, but that's what the French used to do.
Notes
I prefer to use fresh herbs, but dried herbs are just as successful. Use 1 heaped tablespoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I prefer a level tablespoon lemon thyme) and a single dried bay leaf. Tie up the dried herbs in a small bag sewn of muslin. Or grind the parsley and thyme and add to the dish. Add the bay leaf whole and remove before serving.

 

Click to view our Chef's Pantry Recipe Archive.
Click to view our Chef’s Pantry Recipe Archive.

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Avocado Dip with Chives and Marjoram

Ripe avocados are an almost complete food. Giving us lots of natural potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin E, some vitamin B and C, a little protein and starch and avocado oil, which is mainly a monounsaturated fat. Avocado, chives and marjoram, is a match made in heaven and its healthy indulgence at its best.

avocado dip

Avocado Dip with Chives and Marjoram
 
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Serves: 2
  • For each avocado use:
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Halve the avocado and remove the stone.
  2. Scoop out the flesh, without damaging the skin, and mash it with the lemon juice.
  3. Blend in the cream, chives and marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pile back into avocado skins (or scoop into a small serving bowl) and add a few sprigs chives or marjoram as a garnish.
  5. Serve with crisp bread, potato chips or as is.
  6. The variations on this recipe are nearly endless. Add a little crushed garlic, chopped chillies, chervil, cilantro, tarragon or flat-leaf parsley in whatever ratios you feel like. But be careful, too much garlic and tarragon can easily overpower the avocado.
Notes
The variations on this recipe are nearly endless. Add a little crushed garlic, chopped chillies, chervil, cilantro, tarragon or flat-leaf parsley in whatever ratios you feel like. But be careful, too much garlic and tarragon can easily overpower the avocado.

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Tips for Making Your Own Herbal Oils and Vinegars

Herb infused oils and vinegars are a wonderful way of using the bounty from your food garden to create very personal and individual gifts.

herb infused oils and vinegars
Herb infused oils and vinegars adds another dimension to your cooking.

From simple flavours to elaborate blends, these light (on calories), easy-to use products are revolutionizing menus. They are not for cooking but for flavouring: bread-dipping for a first course, mixing with other ingredients, or adding a sizzling finish to hot cooked items.

  • Herb infused oils can be used in marinades, salad dressings or for the initial sauté in a stir-fry – in fact for any dish that requires ordinary oil.
  • Herbal vinegars can be used in dressings, mayonnaise, marinades, stews, soups and stews, and for deglazing.
  • When making herbal oils and vinegars as gifts attach a little card that details the significance of the herb as well as ways of using it?
  • Robust herbs such as rosemary, tarragon and thyme work best. But almost any herb can be used.
  • Basil Dark Opal is particularly suitable for herbal vinegar because the purple leaves impart a wonderful colour to the vinegar.
  • Use mild flavoured oil. This can be olive oil, canola oil or sunflower oil.
  • Use a good quality natural grape, wine or apple cider vinegar.
  • Do not use chemically produced vinegar because it overpowers the herbs.
  • Keep your infused oils in the refrigerator and use them within a month.
  • Keep herbal vinegar in a cool, dark place and use them within three months.