Festive table taste teasers

At Basilea we know that whether you are vegan, vegetarian, coeliac, keto, or just a standard-issue omnivore, what goes into your mouth will be greatly enhanced with the addition of herbs. We encourage you to use these five essential herbs to create tantalising tastes on your festive tables. Recipes for these and other deliciousness can be found on our blog.

Rosemary’s rich green familiar scent is comforting, and a few sprigs enhance the look of any platter. Rosemary is known as a memory enhancer as it increases red blood cells and blood flow to the brain. This powerful herb brings out the best in red meat, but we recommend also trying it with honey as a divine roast vegetable glaze: for warm or cold roast veggies in a salad. Check out the brilliant and simple recipe for honey crackles that our kids adore.

We currently have 11 different mints growing from the very popular chocolate mint, applemint, spearmint, to spicy enticing ginger mint. With antibacterial and muscle relaxant properties aiding digestion, mint is a must for festive feasting. It is a great addition to salads, is wonderful with hot or cold roast pork, or lamb and makes a very refreshing tea taken hot or cold. Here’s our recipe for  Gingermint iced tea

Summer Savoury is known as the BBQ Herb. It has a cracked pepper taste and may be called the  ‘season-all herb’.  We love it in salads, soups and omelettes. It is fabulous with fresh beans and loves to grow alongside them in the garden. This flavour compliments rosemary, garlic and thyme in meat and poultry dishes. Spice up your barbeque meat and veggies by finely chopping a handful of summer savory, mixing with a little oil and using as a marinade recipe.

Chives have been around forever and grow so easily we sometimes overlook their culinary value. Chives can improve heart health, promote skin repair, build healthy hair, improve vision, aid detoxification, help prevent cancer, promote bone health. We recommend adding chopped chives to salad dressing, potato salad, and pesto or garlic butter.

Every part of the Sweet Fennel plant is edible. It lends a refreshing aniseed fragrance and flavour profile. Seeds are used in cooking sauces, breads, meats, fish and other savoury and sweet dishes. Use it in a tea for an upset stomach. Fennel seeds are so tasty on roasted carrots (with honey and rosemary). The leaves can be added to salads and finely chopped to dress vegetables. Alistair McLeod has created some unbelievably delicious desserts using sweet fennel. Go find your favourite sweet or savoury recipe for fennel.

Sarah Heath, Basilea Living Herbs

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