I can honestly say the greatest pleasure I derive from food is feeding loved ones. Bringing friends and family together to enjoy food is hugely satisfying and it needn’t be demanding and time consuming. You can cook good simple food with ease and generosity with just a little bit extra finesse…..herbs.
Good food begins with good ingredients and that is the same for herbs. Fresh herbs lend vibrancy and freshness and should not be replaced with dried herbs. I cannot imagine cooking without herbs, they are an essential ingredient. Herbs can be used at the beginning of cooking to give the dish layers and foundations. These are the harder herbs that can endure the cooking process such as; bay, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley stalks. Where as the softer herbs such as; basil, mint, coriander and parsley should be added at the end to enhance flavour and highlight the dish or even just to decorate it. Food on a plate should look great too!
A perfect addition to a summer bbq is a herbed mayo, it adds lightness to the smoky feast.
3 egg yolks
1 tsp mustard (more can be added to taste)
350ml rapeseed oil
350ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Season to taste
3/4 tbsp of any finely chopped herbs can be used. I like to use a mixture of basil, parsley and chives.
Add the egg yolks and mustard into a bowl or blender and season with salt and pepper. Whisk/blend together until combined. Add a small drop of oil and whisk it in until that too is completely combined then add another drop and continue a drop at a time until the yolks and oil combine and start to thicken. Be patient and add little by little making sure it is fully combined before you add the next bit of oil otherwise it will split. Once all the oil has been whisked into the eggs and you have a thick, spoonable mayonnaise, whisk in the lemon juice and season to taste. Finely chop the herbs and stir into the mayonnaise. You can also zest the lemon and sprinkle on top of the mayonnaise for both flavour and garnish.
Tomato and Basil sorbet
Basil is a great flavour, its clean and punchy and works as a cleanser for many dishes. As a sorbet, it can be a fresh ending to a meal or works equally well as a refreshing appetiser.
600g of tomatoes
Bunch of basil
3 egg whites
Sea salt and pepper to season
Optional 1 tsp of sugar for sweetness
Cut a cross into the tomato skin on the bottom and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute or until the skin peels away easily. Peel the skins off and deseed the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes and basil in the blender and blitz until smooth. Season and place in the freezer for an hour. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until stiff then fold into the mixture and return to the freezer until completely frozen.
Cordials are the summer craze. They can jazz up a gin & tonic or simply quench your thirst.
3 sprigs of rosemary
Heat the sugar and water over a low heat. Once dissolved, add rosemary (or other hard herbs also work). Simmer for 10 mins then cool and strain into clean, sterilised, sealable glass containers.
Thanks Lara! Check out her crackin’ website for loads of delicious recipes for you to try for your friends and family !