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Hurrah for Herbs!



Last month we got quite poetic about Thyme – singing its praises and sharing a recipe.

But the world of herbs are of course much bigger than this one staple. The uses and properties of herbs are well documented and for ages it has been used for its flavour contribution to the culinary world, enhancing from the simplest salad to the finest of cuisine. Apart from their versatility in the kitchen, herbs also have important medicinal properties.

With a beautiful herb garden a stone’s through from our kitchen, at Leopard’s Leap we use herbs in various ways.

Our Herb Garden

Our Herb Garden

We use herbs tied up with ribbon in beautiful vases as bouquet garnies for decoration and you can expect to find that flavoursome touch of greenery as part of our Wine Cocktails. Most important though, Chef Pieter can hardly survive a day in the kitchen without his selection of fresh herbs.

Our Chenin Blanc Martini with Rosemary and Thyme

Our Chenin Blanc Martini with Rosemary and Thyme

Imagine a fragrant curry without fresh coriander, a flat bread with  parma ham and pecorino without rocket or heaven forbid, a tomato based pasta dish with plenty of parmesan and no basil!

Lamb Tagine with parsley and coriander, paired with 2010 Culinaria Shiraz Grenache

Lamb Tagine with parsley and coriander, paired with 2010 Culinaria Shiraz Grenache

Herbs play an essential role in our every day wining and dining and their versatility is just amazing. From the sophistication of Mint tea and Mint chocolates to the robust joy of  herb infused olive oil and lamb cubes skewered onto Rosemary sticks. Not to forget the buttery delight of Lavender shortbread and the joy of baked potatoes with Chive-inspired sour cream.

And the beauty of it is that herbs often gives the simplest of dish that magical touch. Chef Pieter shares these tips for making Herb butter- something no fridge should be without!

Recipe for Herb Butter

Herb Butter Picture Source

Herb Butter Picture Source

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted Butter (room temperature)

1 cup fresh herbs of your choice*, finely chopped

*You can use any combinations of the following: parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, chives, tarragon, dill

Sea salt

Black pepper

Optional: 1 clove of garlic, finely minced and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Method:

When butter is at room temperature, mix all ingredients (a blender can be used) until smooth.

Set butter in individual ramekins and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Kept in the refrigerator, the butter will last for a week, in a freezer, for a month.

Use your versatile Herb Butter in one of the following ways:

  • Half a fresh baguette and spread lavishly with butter. Close the baguette, cover in tinfoil and braai over coals. (For a twist, add matured cheddar to the butter mixture and then spoon into baguette)
  • Use as accompaniment with red meat of your choice – nothing beats a grilled rib eye steak served with a knob of herb butter.
  • Spoon the herb butter over your favourite cooked pasta, mix through and sprinkle with parmesan and fresh herbs.
  • Steam seasonal vegetables and top with herb butter whilst still warm.
  • A dash of herb butter will add that something special to any ordinary fish dish, steamed or grilled.
  • And of course, nothing beats freshly baked bread, still warm, cut into thick slices, layered with herb butter… and served with a glass of Leopard’s Leap Chardonnay! Pure pleasure!

Weekend Tip: Spoil your loved one this weekend with an easy breakfast in bed. Use herb butter to add luxury and flavour to scrambled eggs, serve it on a slice of toasted ciabatta and pour a glass of Leopard’s Leap Culinaria MCC. Looking for a house full of  joy? Voila!

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