Herb your enthusiasm
For the second part of our cupboard essentials, we’ll be taking the thyme to discuss key kitchen herbs.
Let’s get to the basics – what’s the difference between herbs and spices? Herbs are the leaves of a plant while spices are made from bark, roots and seeds.
Fresh herbs will bring you that extra bit of flavour, but for quick and easy use all-year round, opt for the jars.
Herb your enthusiasm with these cupboard essentials:
Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is a robust and versatile herb, enabling it to be used in a wide variety of dishes.
With a pronounced lemon-pine flavour, rosemary is one of the most aromatic herbs and tastes as good as it smells. Just make sure you go easy when adding it, you don’t want to overwhelm your dinner!
How to use rosemary
Rosemary pairs incredibly well with garlic and olive oil, so make a homemade foccacia to delight your tastebuds. In the winter, add rosemary to roasted lamb to bring a Mediterranean flavour to your Sunday roast.
Don’t let the small leaves fool you, thyme is a fragrant herb that brings an earthiness to meals.
Its flavour works well in combination with a whole host of other herbs, meaning you can build layers of flavouring to enrich your dishes.
How to use thyme
Thyme can be a great addition to stocks and soups and when roasting meat, poultry, and vegetables. It is also the primary ingredient in Caribbean jerk seasonings, making it a must-have herb for any BBQ lover.
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean food, you need dried oregano in your life… we mean cupboards.
Part of the mint family, this robust herb grows in wild in the mountain ranges in Greece and Italy.
How to use dried oregano
Get Greek by sprinkling this delicious herb on top of salads, add it to vinaigrette or head in a more Italian direction and shower it on some homemade pizzas – bellisimo!
From the bay laurel tree, bay leaves are one of the few herbs that don’t lose their flavour when dried.
These aromatic, woody-tasting leaves ooze their pungent flavour into slow-cooked dishes. It only takes a few leaves for the herb to make its mark. Just make sure you remove the leaves before serving!
How to use bay leaves
Their strong flavour makes bay leaves the perfect accompaniment to stews, soups, stocks, risottos and curries.
Mint’s flavour brings a freshness to dishes and its versatility means it works well with both sweet and savoury dishes.
There are many different species of mint but peppermint, with its dark, green leaves, is the most commonly used.
How to use mint
Make a zingy mint sauce to pair with lamb or sprinkle it over sugared strawberries for a summer treat. If you have any fresh mint, throw it into a mojito for a truly refreshing beverage.
Basil is one of the most-used herbs in the kitchen. With a clove-like aroma and full flavour, both fresh and dried basil is a great addition to your kitchen.
Holy basil is a key part of authentic Thai curry, while sweet basil is more commonly associated with southern Europe.
How to use basil
If you have fresh basil, throw it in a blender with some olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves and Parmesan-Reggiano to whizz up some fresh pesto. Or, for something more simple, opt for the classic combo of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil.
If this has got your tummy rumbling, use our random recipe finder to satisfy your tastebuds.