River Cottage Herbs Handbook
About Me: Herbs are the most liberating and confidence-boosting of ingredients: grow some and you feel like a proper gardener, bring some into the kitchen and you feel like a proper cook. They allow you to experiment and bring individuality to your cooking while, at the same time, anchoring you in sound culinary tradition because herbs are often responsible for those key flavours that 'make' a dish. Not only that but they are a step on the road to a more self-sufficient, homegrown, organic way of eating. http://astore.amazon.co.uk/rivecott-21/detail/1408808838
The classic Italian pesto alla Genovese is made with basil and pine nuts, and extremely fine it is too. But the idea can be adapted to other herbs, and other nuts, as you’ll see here. I particularly like the combination of basil and parsley, though you can use parsley alone. You can also use mint in a pesto, or stronger herbs, such as sage or thyme, though these are best combined with parsley so they don’t overpower the sauce. As well as being excellent with pasta, pestos make a superb finishing touch to soups. They are also good with steak or chicken, delicious smeared over roasted vegetables and lovely as a simple dip with crudités.
This quick pickling treatment for onion comes from River Cottage Canteen chef, Tim Maddams. He does it with rosemary, but the light sugar-salt-vinegar cure really brings out the flavour of dill too. This creamy, moreish side dish is very good with salmon or trout, whether smoked or cooked and cooled. I also like it with a bit of salty ham.
Soda bread is quick, easy and just as delicious as freshly baked yeasted bread. You can doctor your homemade soda breads with various additions, including fresh herbs – woody, pungent ones, such as thyme and rosemary, work best. This particular incarnation is a quick-to-make homage to the divine rosemary and raisin bread made at Sally Clarke’s bakery in London. It’s lovely with soup or a salad, or just spread with salty butter – as is the cheesy thyme variation below.