Posted on

The Top 5 Soup Herbs

gourmet soup guide top 5 herbs

#1: Parsley

At the top of the list is parsley as it’s such an excellent garnish for all your soups. And don’t forget flat-leaf parsley (Italian parsley) which will not only serve as a garnish but it will also add loads of flavour and nutrition, especially when used with Lovage in soup stocks.

# 2: Chives

Chives is a close second because it’s also an excellent garnish and because it adds a delicate oniony aroma to almost any soup. Always add just before serving.

#3: Lovage

Lovage gives more depth and flavour to the stock of all soups. It is especially good when combined with flat-leaf parsley. Use the stems as well as the leaves for better flavour.

#4 – 5: Winter Savory and Thyme

Winter Savory and thyme are good soup all rounders which can be used in a wide variety of soups. And they both make nice additions to bouquets garnis. Combine them with parsley, chives and lovage to liven up your existing soup recipes.

#6 – 10: Basil, Bay leaf, Celery, Cloves and Marjoram

These are all close contenders for the top 5 position because they are so versatile and because they all work so well with each other. If you are serious about creating gourmet soups you’ll find them indispensable in your arsenal.

36 Popular Soups Herbs and Spices

Here’s a list of the 36 herbs and spices we recommend in this Gourmet Soup Guide. You will note that we use the classification system we developed for making your own bouquets garnis. If you need more information on this system and how it will improve your cooking read this article.

Fusion Soup Herbs:

Bay leaf, chervil, chives, marjoram, parsley.

Mild Soup Herbs:

Anise, basil, borage, dill, fennel, celery, coriander, salad burnet.

Robust Soup Herbs:

Garlic, ginger, hyssop, lemon balm, lovage, mint, oregano, savory, sorrel, tarragon, thyme.

Soup Flavourings and Spices:

Allspice, cardamom, cayenne, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin, juniper, mace, nutmeg, paprika, rosemary, sage, turmeric.

Posted on

7 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

“The secret of a good salad is its dressing. Not only does a dressing add flavour and interest but it also marries its individual ingredients into a harmonious whole.”

homemade salad dressing ingredients
Why buy salad dressings loaded with preservatives and artificials when you can mix a superior one yourself in minutes, using the freshest ingredients?

Salad dressings are not new – a basic mixture of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt has been used since ancient times in the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

Today you can go into any food market and choose from a wide range of dressings. But why buy ready-made ones loaded with preservatives and artificial flavourings when you can mix a superior one yourself in minutes, using the finest and freshest ingredients.

The Classic Salad Dressing

The classic French salad dressing is known as a vinaigrette.

There is an old French saying that it takes four men to make a good vinaigrette: a spendthrift for the oil, a miser for the vinegar, a wise man for the salt and a madman for the pepper.

The classic proportions for a vinaigrette are 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Salt and pepper are essential, and most French chefs will add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, some fresh herbs and a pinch of sugar to emulsify the dressing.

This classic vinaigrette adds flavour and interest to green salads, tomato, and cucumber salads.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons wine vinegar, preferably tarragon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the oil with the vinegar, mustard, herbs, and salt and pepper until well blended.

Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using.

This basic dressing can be varied in many ways:

Indian Style Salad Dressing

For cooked vegetables, rice or pasta. Add 1 small crushed garlic clove and 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, fried until soft in 1 teaspoon oil with 1 teaspoon curry powder.

Anchovy Style Salad Dressing

For raw salads, potato, pasta, roasted sweet (bell) peppers or tomatoes. Thoroughly soak 4 anchovies to remove the salt and fillet them if necessary. Puree the with 1 teaspoon capers. Add this mixture to the classic vinaigrette.

Herb Salad Dressing

Chop some chives, chervil and parsley with a few tarragon and mint leaves. Prepare the classic vinaigrette and add in the herbs.

Nutty Salad Dressing

Chop ½ cup (50g) walnuts, peanuts or hazelnuts, or a mixture of all three. Prepare a salad. Make a classic vinaigrette and add the chopped nuts at the last minute just before tossing the dressing into the salad and serving.

Herby Lemon-Lime Salad Dressing

Lemon and lime juice is another popular variation on the classic recipe. Here we combine it with herbs for a dressing to serve with a classic tomato, cucumber and onion salad.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh herbs (e.g. mint, parsley, chives, thyme, tarragon)
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together in a blender, or place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using.

Minty Salad Dressing

This light and refreshing salad dressing goes well with a cucumber salad, cold potato salad or tossed lightly over a fruit salad or apple and tuna salad.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper

Whisk together in a blender, or place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake vigorously to combine well before using. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, then whisk or shake again before using.

Basic Creamy Salad Dressing

The addition of cream or yoghurt to a salad dressing puts it into a completely new dimension. Like the classic vinaigrette recipe you can use this one as the basis for endless variations.

The secret of a good salad is its dressing. Not only does a dressing add flavour and interest but it also marries its individual ingredients into a harmonious whole.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream, sour cream, whipped cream or yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh lemon juice or wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh herbs, minced (dill, parsley, thyme)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients, except the oil, together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, then whisk or shake again before using.

Share the love of herbs! Please use your favourite social network
buttons to share these homemade salad dressing recipes with your family and friends.

Posted on

Vichyssoise with Fresh Italian Parsley

Soup is the ultimate comfort food. Nothing else can send so much rich aroma into the air, and nothing else so effectively makes every house into a home.

What’s more…

“A good soup is the ultimate sign of a fabulous cook. And despite that, soup is the most forgiving thing you’ll ever make, the easiest kind of cooking.” – Ruth Reichl

vichyssoise soup with fresh parsley
Serve vichyssoise as cold as possible in chilled serving bowls.

With that in mind here’s the recipe  for our herbed version of Vichyssoise – a cold creamy leek and potato soup. It’s a great summer soup and it never fails to impress our guests.

According to Wikipedia its cold serving temperature is often used for comedy value in entertainment. For example, in the 1992 movie Batman Returns, Bruce Wayne is surprised at its temperature, saying “It’s cold!” to which his butler, Alfred responds that “It’s supposed to be cold.”

Similarly, on an All in the Family episode, Archie Bunker’s neighbour brings over a dish of vichyssoise for dinner. Before tasting it, Archie brings a spoon up towards his mouth, blowing on the soup to cool it, and then remarks as he tastes it, “Boy, this soup is cold, and I hardly blew on it at all!”

Cold dulls our sense of taste, so vichyssoise, require more seasoning than a warm potato-leek soup. Taste the vichyssoise again just before serving and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Also remember that cold soups should have a thinner consistency than hot soups. To achieve this in Vichyssoise we use a higher ratio of liquid to main ingredients.

Vichyssoise with Fresh Italian Parsley
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 4
  • 250g leeks, white part only
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
  • 250g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 900ml chicken stock
  • 175ml whipping cream
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • Paprika to garnish.
  1. Split the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove all sand and grit. Slice thinly.
  2. Melt butter over low heat in a saucepan and add the leeks, celery and parsley. Sweat without browning until they are soft. Stir occasionally. About 15 minutes.
  3. Add the diced potatoes and chicken stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender and strain through a sieve.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Blend in ½ the whipping cream.
  8. Adjust the seasoning.
  9. Place in refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
  10. Serve in well chilled bowls. Softly spoon the remaining cream into the centre of each bowl and garnish lavishly with the chives. Then sprinkle lightly with paprika to add colour.

Posted on

Parsley Tonic Boost Recipe

Parsley Juice Tonic Boost
This recipe with parsley is an excellent tonic and helps to protect you against a number of ailments.

Parsley is a real nutritional powerhouse and one of the easiest and quickest ways to really get its full nutritional benefit is to use it in herb drinks combined with other superfoods.

If you don’t have a juicer, a food processor or blender will do just as well. Dilute the tonic with a little water.

You can also take a shortcut and buy your veggie and fruit juices ready-made. Add your finely chopped parsley and process quickly in your food processor. Read the labels of the juices you purchase and make sure that they do not contain any sweeteners, preservatives, colourings or flavourings.

Add the parsley, sprigs and all. The sprigs contain heaps of fibre and nutrients.

Parsley Passion Recipe
 
This recipe supplies your daily requirement of vitamin C, more than three times the daily requirement of vitamin A, more than six times your requirement of vitamin K and heaps of folate to boot. And it's all in a natural form.
By:
Serves: 1-2
  • ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 3-5 large carrots or some pineapple
  • 2 apples
  • 2 cabbage or spinach leaves
  1. Dice all the ingredients into small cubes and process in your food processor or juicer.
  2. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 187 Fat: 1% Carbohydrates: 16% Sodium: 4% Fiber: 42% Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 0%

Posted on

Maître d’Hôtel Butter

In culinary circles flavoured butters are often referred to as compound butters or beurres composes. Various herbs, spices and other flavourings are added to salted or unsalted butter to add new notes and interesting dimensions to dishes.

Because salt overpowers the natural sweet flavour of butter, compound butter recipes generally call for “salt to taste” or no salt at all.

Once you get the hang of it, you can beat almost anything, from anchovies to watercress, into the butter.

herb butter
Maitre d’Hotel butter is wonderful addition to grilled dishes like steak and corn on the cob.

Maître d'Hôtel Butter
 
Maître d'hôtel butter has melted the hearts of many. As the butter melts, the food beneath is seductively imbued with last minute lavishness.

Serve this herb flavoured butter with grilled fish, fish fried in an egg-and-breadcrumb coating, grilled steak, corn on the cob, various steamed or boiled vegetables, and as a sandwich spread.
By:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  1. Let butter reach room temperature.
  2. Whip the butter to a thick creamy consistency (en pommade).
  3. Blend in other ingredients.
  4. Shape or form into molds.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to develop.

 

Posted on

Cooking with Parsley

flat leaf parsley
Flat leaf parsley, also knows as Italian parsley, is preferred by chef’s.

Parsley is proof that fresh is the best when cooking with herbs. When using parsley in cooking I only use the fresh leaves. If there aren’t any, I’ll rather omit it from the recipe – dried parsley is a poor substitute. For medicinal purposes I use both the seeds and root of the parsley plant.

Fresh parsley has a clean, green aroma with a versatile fresh green taste. Slightly peppery.  At times a little like celery with an aftertaste of green apple. Dried parsley smells like old dried grass and tastes like dust.

Fresh leaves keep very well – for up to 10 days – in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It also freezes well – just chop finely and mix with a little water.  Pour into ice trays and freeze.

Parsley can be used in virtually any dish.  It is a well-mannered and polite herb that will compliment and not overpower other herbs.

Use it freely (about 1 tablespoon per serving), and unless the recipe states otherwise, add it about 10 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to develop.

Parsley is flavour pals with:
Sweet basil, bay leaves, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, garlic, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, sorrel, tarragon, thyme, watercress and winter savoury.