Recipes VICKI RAVLICH-HORAN | Images ASHLEE DECAIRES
Herbs are a great way to add flavour, colour and interest to a dish. Like a lemon tree, I think every house should have a rosemary bush. Once established, you literally do nothing but reap the benefits of being able to spike a leg of lamb with it or roast your potatoes on. Mint is another herb I just let go crazy in my garden. When it eventually flowers, it attracts the bees and, in the meantime, I’ve always got an abundance of mint for everything from a mojito to mint jelly.
In the summer I have an abundance of more than just mint and rosemary and happily plenty of uses for the sage, thyme and basil that goes crazy. A great way to preserve these and create easy ways to capitalise on the flavour punch they provide is to make infused oils and butters.
HERB OIL – this is ridiculously simple! Wash and dry the herb you want to use. Basil, rosemary and French tarragon are my favourite. Place the herb in a sterilised bottle and then fill with extra virgin olive oil, ensuring the oil covers the herbs completely. Leave for a week or two (in a cool dark place) for at least two weeks before using.
HERB BUTTER – from garlic and chive to spreading on hot buns to basil, tarragon or thyme to melt over hot steaks, cobs of corn or baked potatoes—a knob of herb butter on hand is a handy thing. There is no need for a recipe, just mix your choice, or combination, of herbs with soft butter. Roll into a log between a sheet of grease proof paper before wrapping and refrigerating until ready to use.
This handy seasoning can be used on everything from steak or chicken to roast potatoes. Personalise it to your tastes with your own combination of herbs, just ensure they the hardy variety; rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano are perfect.
½ cup coarse sea salt
2–3 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup packed fresh rosemary leaves
¼ cup packed fresh lemon thyme leaves
Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the salt and herbs are a fine consistency.
Pour onto a baking tray and either place in the sun for a day to dry out or pop in the oven after you’re done cooking dinner and have turned it off.
Once dry, place in an airtight jar.