In a previous post I shared a recipe to make your own bouquet garni. Another great French blend is herbes de Provence which is often sold dried in little terracotta pots topped with the patterned cloth, or in brightly coloured bags of the same material. If you make herbes de Provence with fresh herbs I can guarantee that you will get compliments galore each and every time you use it.
Here's how to make your own herbes de Provence…
Mix one tablespoon each of finely chopped fresh oregano, savory, thyme, marjoram and rosemary.
This traditional French blend will add real French flavour to any Provencal dish. If you're not into French cuisine use it to complement your salads, vegetables, meat dishes and even hot desserts.
Never limit yourself to just one or two blends. Even if they are powerful in their own right you don't want to be accused of being a boring cook. Don't only look at French cuisine either. Study your own cookbooks and watch the celebrity chefs on television.
Look for recipes that use more than three herbs, spices or flavourings. Remember. For the best results never limit yourself to only one or two herbs per dish. Rather use three or four, plus a spice or two. It's the secret to greater depth in your finished dishes.
Foreign visitors to South Africa are often taken aback when they sample dishes like bobotie for the first time. The curiously tasty mixture of sweet and savoury is a legacy from the Malay cooks who adapted oriental recipes, and used local ingredients to create a new and unique culinary tradition.
Be patient with yourself and you will develop your own tried and tested herb and spice blends that you can use with just about everything. I love infusing my blends in vinegar and olive oil as well. That way they become truly universal, and they are popular gifts.
But don't just copy successful blends…
Take your culinary adventure one step further. Start changing proportions, next try to add, delete or substitute the ingredients in your blend recipe.
Which of your current recipes will benefit from a generous helping of herbes de Provence? Who can you invite to share this culinary adventure with you?
When will you become a Seasoned Chef?