A Guide to Herbs, Spices and FLAVA
Parsley is a great herb to counter-balance richer dishes. Whether flat-leaf or curly, sprinkle some torn fresh parsley over roasted meats, chicken, fish or scrambled eggs. Make sure you save the stalks – you can use them as extra FLAVA.
Rosemary is a woody herb. It has tough leaves that are usually stripped from the stalks and used in dishes with longer cooking times (the stalks are also great for adding FLAVA to soups and stews, just remember to take them out before serving!). Rosemary is often used with roast meats, as well as roasted veg, on bread like focaccia, and in slow-cooked stews and pies.
Thyme has long thin branches and tiny perfumed leaves. Thyme is a very popular ingredient in stews and stocks. It’s also delicious when roasted with meat or vegetables like butternut, leeks or carrots. Because of its strong flavour, make sure you use thyme sparingly.
A little bit goes a long way and a great way to add some heat to dishes.
Toasted, ground, or crushed, cumin brings a freshness and FLAVA to just about any dish!
For colour and sweet peppery FLAVA. It brings out the sweetness in tomatoes and is a good back note for sauces.
Its subtle peppery overtone adds depth to stews, curries and soups.
Garlic has a strong, spicy FLAVA that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. While cooking softens the flavour, roasting gives garlic a well-balanced, delicate, nutty flavour. DELICIOUS!
Ginger has a warm, spicy taste that is sometimes described as peppery. It is one of the few spices that is used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Different cooking techniques can vary the taste of ginger dramatically. Fresh ginger has a pungent aroma and sharp, spicy flavour; it is used in soups, stir-fries and teas. When used in roasted or slow-cooked dishes, ginger has a more mellow taste and a warm, woody flavour.
Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs considered typical of the Provence region of south-east France. The most common blend includes savoury, rosemary and thyme for a taste that is both sweet and woody, making it a great thing to use with meats, poultry and vegetables.
Nutmeg is a delicious FLAVA for savoury meat-based dishes, where it enhances and rounds off the FLAVA. Nutmeg also pairs very well with winter veggies and dark leafy greens.
In Greek cooking, oregano is used in tomato sauces, with meats, fish, cheese, and vegetables like tomatoes, courgettes, and green beans. Oregano is an essential ingredient of countless Mediterranean recipes.
Many Indian curries call for this strong, aromatic spice. You can find it as seeds or toasted and ground. As for its flavour, people often describe it as “warm and earthy” as well as “slightly bitter.” Like most Indian spices, it plays well with others.
Coriander is a great herb for garnishing finished dishes. It’s widely used in Asian, Latin American and Mexican cooking, from chopping it up into guacamole or fresh salsa, to stirring it through ceviche. When crushed in a pestle and mortar, the stalks have even more FLAVA than the leaves.
This vivid yellow spice gives many Thai and Indian dishes their characteristic colour. A relative of ginger, the spice is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its valuable work as a FLAVA and colour additive in curries.