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Types Of Herbs Best For

It is the Spring of 2018, well thats what the calendar is saying. It has been one of the worst and longest winters for a very long time and we all hope for the sun to shine soon. I was taking the children to school after the too long easter break and noticed my little herb garden. Even though we had a horrendous winter I still was a little in awe in the amount and types of herbs that were still growing healthy.

 

Types of Herbs Best For Growing In Winter

You may well ask, What are the best herbs for growing over the winter period. Well from my experience and I can see through the window my herb bed in the front garden as I type.

  1. Rosemary
  2. Sage
  3. Thyme
  4. Bay leaf
  5. Parsley
  6. Chives
  7. Mint
  8. Lemon Balm

The biggest surprise for me is that the parsley survived over the winter. It wasn’t in the greatest condition but it is green and I have often gone out in the snow to pick some. After removing all the overgrown (woody) and dead stalks the parsley is just starting to flourish again. Although the chives did not exactly grow over winter they are looking fantastic now. The chives were just in a plastic pot I bought from the supermarket as living herbs. Of course they were reduced and thats how I have bought all my herbs in the garden. Lemon Balm I uses in salads occasionally and do little else with it until I discovered this at The Nerdy Farmer Wife 

Types of herbs

Types of Herbs To Buy

Yes, honestly I get most of the herbs from supermarket when they are reduced. Most of them look very sad and dried out sat on the reduction shelves. As long as the main middle part of the herb is still green there is a good chance with TLC it will thrive again. Yes you can buy the herb seeds and grow them in seedling trays but I have had mixed success with it. My membership to the corduroy jacket with leather elbows, pipe and wellies club is a long way off. No green fingers here and if your not a gardener then to so save the time just buy your herbs from your local garden centre.

types of herbs mint

Simple Herbs For Simple Cooking

Picking your own herbs from the garden is one of the basic fundamentals of cheap dinner ideas. How often have you boughta packet of fresh cut herbs from the supermarket. I use the term freshly cut very loosely as they are anything but. The distance most herbs travel to your local supermarket is horrendous. Probably from the growers to the packing plants, to the packing plants to distributing centres then onto the supermarket. The cut herbs you buy are probably a least a few days old by the time they get to the shelves. Pick fresh pick the herbs from your very own garden.

Herbs In Your Garden

The types of herbs to grow from my experience are Rosemary, thyme, sage, mint and bay leaf.

Cooking With Herbs To Add Flavour

Have you ever bought one of those chickens in the packet classed as extra tasty.  Sometimes they are called cook in the bag chicken. The price difference is crazy for a few added herbs. Its so simple to add flavour to your chicken with your homegrown herbs. We stuff our chicken with thyme, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and half a lemon. The flavour enhancement of the chicken is amazing and the best things its better than cheap, its free added flavour.

types of herbs

 

When Do You Add Herbs To Cooking

The general rule of thumb is, fresh herbs are added at the end of the cooking process. Dried herbs are added at the start of the cooking process. Yes there are variations on the rule depending on the type of herbs to be used. Woody hard herbs like rosemary can be used at the start of cooking ideally with lamb or stuffed chicken.

types of herbs rosemary

Herbs To Grow Indoors

As I said before I am not green fingered at all but I do try growing some delicate herbs on my kitchen window. Of course all bought reduced from the supermarket. It is nice to have at hand, basil, great for any Italian recipes. One of my favourite herbs at the moment is fresh coriander great in any salsa with lime. ( pico de Gallo ) Mint, great in any salad for a fresh vibrant taste. Once the mint has reestablish itself I will plant it in the garden in a container so it does not spread to much.

What Do You Do With Leftover Herbs

If you happen to buy a pack of herbs or if you have picked to many, what do you do with what you have left. The last thing you do is throw them away. Don’t leave them in the bottom of the fridge unless you plan to use them in the next 2 days. Any longer than that they start to become wet and soggy plus the taste becomes stale.

types of herbs

Woody herbs like rosemary & thyme can be hung up in the kitchen on a piece of string to dry naturally. These can be used for several months after. Soft herbs like parsley and coriander can either be blended with butter and olive oil. Buttered herbs can be stored in the fridge for upto three months.

types of herbs best fro drying

Herb Butters

Try adding garlic to the herbs and butter and you have your very own instant garlic bread butter. Chopped herbs in olive oil pour into a ice cube tray and freeze. These are great to add at the beginning of a sauce of Bolognese. Along with the herbs in the olive oil add other ingredients such as chilli flakes (or fresh) garlic for an instant flavour boost from the freezer. Preserve the Chilli and you can also make  Chilli Jam with them.

types of herbs

spaghetti with garlic-oil-herb sauce

 A great Recipe for Herbed olive oil

Soft herbs can also be chopped, placed in a bag and frozen. Just add them at the end  of cooking a dish, coriander in a curry for example or cheats keema rice. The heat of the dish will instantly defrost them leaving your curry with a great coriander tang.

Care For Your Herbs

I am no Alan Titchmarsh when it comes to the garden or the herbs. All I do is just removed any old or dead leaves. If you want an in-depth guide to looking after your woody herbs and particular types of herbs then read this excellent article in The Spruce. With the softer herbs try to pick the leaves on a regular basis. Not only will the herbs taste divine also it will encourage new growth through spring and summer. Leave the leaves on to long they become dry and the taste will also diminish

What  Rosemary Is Good With

Chicken

Lamb

Focaccia

Thyme Good With

Potatoes

Gratin dishes

Also great for making your own homemade lemon and thyme salt

Mint Is good With

Peas

Lamb

Please come back as I am preparing a chart to show what types of herbs are good with which food

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How to make Mexican Salsa

Pico De Gallo

One of my all-time favourite salsa’s and super quick to make. Onion lime tomatoes and coriander along with the mandatory salt and pepper. Allow the flavours to marinate and your done. The classic pico de Gallo is such a versatile side dish you can serve it with virtually anything. When I mean anything of course I don’t mean a Sunday roast but the next day try this. Cold slices of roast beef along with a simple salad and some pico de Gallo. You could also add some bread and you have a healthy meal.

How to make Mexican Salsa

Pico De Gallo

Pico De Gallo One of my all-time favourite salsa’s and super quick to make. Onion lime tomatoes and coriander along with the mandatory salt and pepper. Allow the flavours to marinate… Sides salsa, Mexican salasa Mexican Print This
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 Calories estimated 20 grams Fat estimated
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Lime
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 large handful of coriander
  • 1/2 red chilli (optional)
  • Salt & pepper (pepper is optional as its not an authentic ingredient)

Instructions

Diced the tomato, if there is to much liquid in the tomatoes remove The salsa does not want to be to wet as it spoils the dish you are serving with it Ensure that the onion is small dice, a similar size to the tomato dice Finely chop the coriander Add all the ingredients into a small dish Squeeze the lime over the ingredients and season to taste Place in the fridge and allow the flavours to mix Serve ideally with a taco

Notes

Also great with any grilled meats or even with a salad. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving allowing it to come to room temperature for the best flavours.

The Origin of Pico De Gallo

Sometimes know as salsa picada its thought to have first emerged in Mexico as the colours represents their flag. Of course they always serve the salsa with a Mexican taco.

In many regions of Mexico the term refers to any of a variety of salads (including fruit salads), salsa, or fillings made with tomato, tomatillo, avocado, orange, jícama, cucumber, papaya, or mild chilis. The ingredients are tossed in lime juice and either hot sauce or chamoy, then sprinkled with a salty chili powder. source Wiki

The Onion Salsa

I have used every type of onion in my salsa mixes, white, Spanish and red onion. As long as you marinate/pickle with the lime juice it will be perfect. Occasionally I have also used spring onions and shallots.

pico de Gallo

The Perfect Salsa Tomato

I might be stating the obvious but the tomatoes need to have a deep red colour. You need to ensure they are ripe and full of flavour. You do not have to spend a fortune on the very best vine ripened tomatoes, after all the lime and cilantro will add flavour. If you do use over ripe tomatoes ensure you remove the liquid flesh from the inner tomato. The choice of tomatoes is entirely down to personal preference and cost. If your a regular reader then you know the cheaper the better. I have used all varieties of tomatoes, baby plum, salad tomatoes, yellow, purple.

pico de Gallo

another great healthy salad : kebab shop salad.

How to make pico de Gallo

Mackerel Salsa

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Homemade Naan Bread

Homemade Naan Bread

Bread again I know, but the simple dough is so versatile and a quick comfort food. The homemade naan bread is no more difficult than basic bread recipe.  Wait a minute, I know not everyone has a tandoori oven in the kitchen or the back yard but that should not stop you.  I confess that I haven’t managed to convince the wife yet that we need one in the garden to impress the friends and neighbours.

Naan Bread The Origin

Today the word Naan has become synonymous with Indian cookery and especially a curry.  Surprisingly the word “nan” originates from Middle Perisian and it wasn’t until 1979 the familiar word of Naan was established.  Naan today literary means flat bread and can be associated with many cuisines of the world. The best ever naan bread I ever bought was in Stoke on Trent and made to order.  The queue was usually outside the door but it was well worth the wait. I would buy at least 10 at a time and freeze what I did not use.  I hope that they are as good today as they were, I have now moved away from the area hence the reason why I opt for the homemade naan.

Homemade naan bread

Naan dough rolled and ready for the pan

Why Homemade Naan Bread

Everyone loves a Ruby Murray and I must confess that it was quite late in life that the eureka moment came. The dish I had to break my virginity was a lamb pasanda made with mild spices and almonds. Eventually I was adventurous enough to work my way through the menu to more spiced flavorful dishes. The lasting memory of that first Indian meal was mopping up the pasanda curry sauce with bread. In fact it was quite a liberating experience eating with ones fingers having been raised on the 1960’s table etiquette practices. The bread of course was the naan bread, but ignorance is not always bliss. So why no shop bought bread? well every time I do have one it leaves me feeling bloated, it must be the additives.

Homemade Naan Bread The Flour

A hot debatable subject according to some experts  but it is quite easy to clear up. The best flour for the perfect homemade naan bread is the one you prefer. Experiment a little try the different variations after all another persons opinion is just “their opinion”.  I use simple bread flour (Aldi)  as it works well for me and my family.  If you want to discover the complexities of the flour combinations there is a great article in the Guardian.

homemade naan bread

naan pan

Homemade Naan Without a Tandoori

How to get the slight charred pieces and the dough to puff up just like they were in the tandoor. Madhur Jaffery prefers to use the oven, I prefer to use my naan pan. Any good large frying pan will more than suffice. The beauty of cooking them on the hob is that you can see the magic happen. Slowly the dough starts to rise a little, then a big air pocket puffs out the homemade naan bread. As soon as the first one is done the kids grab and tear it as if they were in Lord of the Flies.

Homemade Naan the Additions

Well you have the naan dough all ready and rising but its just plain. No need to worry as you dont have to add the extra additions whilst making your dough up. You can add them after the dough has risen but the flavour will not mature into the fluffy dough. If you do add extras at the late stage ensure there is lots to make a punchy vibrant flavour. Nigella seeds, I just don’t like the flavour of them in my homemade naan bread. One of the reasons I no longer buy them from the supermarket.

Homemade naan bread flavouring

Yes one of my favourites is garlic and coriander, each mouthful vibrant, bursting with fresh flavour. I have been know to add fresh chillies to bring out the zing. If you prefer the spice a little milder then add dried chilli flakes to a chunk of butter and gently heat in a pan. Around ten minutes is enough for the chilli flavour to infuse into the butter. Once the naan breads are cooked brush on your chilli butter. You could blend any dry spices and add them to the dough to add a different dimension to your naan breads.

You could stuff them, yes literally and I use my keema mince in mine. The presentation of my keema naan’s is work in progress, it looks like I have dropped them on the floor. They taste fantastic and when they look as good as they taste I will share them here.

Homemade Naan Bread

Homemade Naan Bread

Homemade Naan Bread Bread again I know, but the simple dough is so versatile and a quick comfort food. The homemade naan bread is no more difficult than basic bread… Bread Homemade Naan Bread Yoghurt Garlic Coriander European Print This
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 Calories estimated 20 grams Fat estimated
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • Bread Flour 500g (cheapest supermarket brand)
  • Yeast (Packet 7g supermarket brand)
  • Vegetable Oil ( A Slug)
  • Sugar 1 tablespoon
  • Salt 1 Teaspoon
  • Natural Yoghurt 175 Ml
  • Garlic 1 Bulb
  • Coriander hand full (To Taste)
  • Mint (Optional) handful
  • Hot water (about 100ml)

Instructions

Gather all the dry ingredients in a large bowl

Flour, salt, sugar, yeast

Mix well in the bowl with wooden spoon

Chop roughly a whole bulb of garlic and add to dry ingredients

Roughly chop coriander (including stalks) and add to dry mix

Do the same with the mint ( Its not needed but it does add another dimension)

Mix herbs, garlic well into flour

Add a slug of oil (I use vegetable oil) approx 3 tbls

Add yoghurt

Add water ( I use Boiling water to help it rise) about 100ml but its just by eye

Mix all together in mixing bowl with wooden spoon until all is combined

remove wooden spoon and then knead by hand in the bowl (5 mins kneading)

If your mixture is to wet as mine usually is add more flour when kneading until mixture is not tacky to touch. Keep kneading in the bowl as its easier

Once you have finished kneading the Naan dough cover with clingfilm, then cover with a towel/tea towel.

Leave for an hour or 2 until risen

Remove Naan bread dough onto floured surface

Chop a small piece of the large Naan bread dough and knead again ensuring you have enough flour so that the dough is not tacky to touch. (this will ensure it does not stick when cooking)

Place onto preheated griddle pan

Cook for about 3 minutes each side on a medium to high heat

Notes

Brush with melted butter or ghee to add extra authenticity, if your counting the calories then leave this step out. You can always use all water to mix the dough rather than the yogurt.


Some great dishes to eat your homemade Naan bread with

Sweet potato and Aubergine Curry 

Homemade Curries 

Got the urge to go further with your Indian cooking skills then this cooking class could be for you

 

About Little India Cookery Classes


Little India Cookery Classes enables its clients to take a little slice of Indian knowledge home with them, with cookery classes designed to give guests a better understanding of Indian cuisine. The company also acts as a restaurant, with a full menu of Indian curries and dishes available for fans of eastern cuisine to tuck into.

https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/little-india-cookery-classes-5

Try making you own homemade curry, start with the basic curry sauce. The you can make a aubergine and sweet potato curry with Keema Rice.

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