Saturday, 14 July 2012

CUISINE REVIEW: River Cottage 10: Herbs - Nikki Duffy

Release Date: 01/03/12


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. In the first part of the book, Nikki explains how to get the most from herbs. She outlines the basic choosing, picking and using guidelines. The second part is a catalogue of herbs, each with grow-your-own notes, flavour descriptions and mini-recipes. Among the forty herbs that Nikki describes are basil, bay, bergamot, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, horseradish, hyssop, marigold, marjoram, mint, parsley, perilla, rocket, rosemary, sage, scented geranium, tarragon, thyme, wild garlic and winter savory. Following this are over fifty wonderful and adaptable recipes for everything from herb-scented cakes and biscuits to soups, stuffings and tarts, where more than one herb is, or can be, used. With an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and full-colour photographs, Herbs is a must-have book for every kitchen.


Recently when purchasing herbs to make a casserole I was shocked at how much these few additions cost. Not tha they’re a one use item but when you add them up over the course of a year it can be quite a tidy sum.

Growing up I remembered having a Bay Leaf Tree, fresh Chives and a few other fresh herbs around the garden, so when this book from River Cottage arrived I thought why not grow my own. After all, fresh is best and after a little outlay, provided you look after them, you can have fresh herbs for life.

Provided within are tips on how to cultivate you own supplies alongside some wonderful recipes for their usage. All in this is a great book all round and something that will add flavour to your meals and that, is rewarding in itself.

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