Windowsill Herbs – Basil, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary & Thyme
So you’ve grown your herbs from seeds, and nurtured them as they grew. That, or you bought a few healthy looking plants in the local supermarket. Either way, you now have an indoor herb garden greeting you every day as you make your morning coffee. They look so pretty and green. They make you feel happy, you could indeed be green-fingered. Sustainable lifestyle here you come, after all you’re growing your own food right! Yes you are but now you need to use it.
Your plants won’t stay fresh and green if you don’t trim back those leaves to let new ones grow. Of course you can snip a little here and there just to help them flourish, but they’re not there just to look pretty (well they shouldn’t be). They are there to be put to their best use – to flavour your food and encourage healthier living by doing so.
To help inspire you to use your windowsill herbs. Here are 10 extremely easy ways to use your fresh Basil, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary & Thyme (two recipes for each herb).
Basil is my favourite smelling herb. I just adore its aroma. It grows best indoors so is perfect for your windowsill garden. It’s packed full of vitamins including Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin C , Vitamin K and Potassium. It goes really well with Rosemary and Thyme in meat dishes, but equally as tasty in vegetarian dishes too. Try it with fish, eggs or in a soup.
Chicken & Basil Oven Cooked Rice – This recipe is such a simple dish that can be cooked for all the family in under an hour. Make it vegetarian by leaving out the chicken and by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. My recommendation is to add the ‘optional’ parmesan ingredient in my recipe. You can read and follow my recipe here – An Easy Tasty Chicken & Basil Oven Cooked Rice Recipe.
Pesto – What isn’t pesto great in/on? In a sandwich, on pizza, as a pasta dish or even added to soup. Now you may need to let your plant flourish before you try making pesto at home because according to Jamie Oliver’s Pesto Recipe, you will need three good handfuls. Jamie’s recipe is simple and gives great results. Yes you can buy a jar of the stuff in the supermarket for a €2 but homemade should always taste better.
For more delicious basil recipes, have a read of this article from the Huffington Post – 34 Super Fresh Basil Recipes To Carry You Through The Rest Of Summer
For me a close second to the aroma of basil is mint. Like basil it grows really well indoors, unlike basil you can actually transplant it to your outdoor garden should you want to. One word of advice though is to keep it in its own pot or area as it can spread quickly. Mint is packed full of goodies too, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, Calcium, Iron and Manganese. It can also help with digestion, nausea and headaches. Personally I love mint in my mojito’s – it’s good to know what helped to cause your headache can also cure it!
Blackberry Mint Scones – I came across this simple baking recipe on Saveur.com. What’s great about it is not only is it simple, but you can use frozen berries, which means those you bought or picked in season and froze for use later will get put to great use. You can read the full recipe here.
Mojito Cocktail – Okay it might not be a meal, but it’s still a recipe! When I first tried a Mojito, I thought it was disgusting. That’s because it was made really badly. When I tried again I was converted. Patrick’s simple and easy Mojito recipe is a fail safe way of getting your cocktail right each time. Here’s his post – Cocktail Time with a Mojito Recipe.
For more delicious mint recipes, have a read of this article from theKitchn.com – 10 Recipes that Use Fresh Mint.
Parsley is probably one of the most well-known and widely used herbs there are. Even when it’s not in a dish, I’m never surprised when I see a little sprig of it used to garnish the plate. Did you know though that parsley is one of the least calorific herbs there are? Okay that’s too random of a fact. It’s not like you’ll be eating it by the bale load. What you really need to know is that it is a fantastic herbs packed full of goodies like folate, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Salmon with Parsley & Garlic Crust – this is the easiest recipe ever! Snip a handful of chopped parsley, two minced cloves of garlic, a cup of grated parmesan and mix together. Put your salmon, skin down on foil and covered with grease-proof paper into the oven for 10 minutes. Take the salmon out of the oven and top with your Parsley & Garlic topping. Pop back into the oven and cook until salmon is cooked through and topping is golden. Delicious!
Parsley Mint Pistachio Pesto – What What What! Pesto made from parsley? Yes, indeedy, it’s also know as English Pesto. I love this spin on a recipe that usually uses walnuts as opposed to pistachios. The ingredients for this pesto is parsley, mint, shelled roasted/salted pistachio’s, olive oil and salt. For the full recipe and instructions visit myrecipes.com here. When you’ve made your pesto, cook some penne pasta, add a dollop of the pesto to the pasta when drained, a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes and top with grated parmesan. Easy but tasty.
For more delicious parsley recipes, have a read of this article from The Guardian – Our 10 Best Parsley Recipes.
Rosemary reminds me of that song Scarborough Fair – “Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”. I think rosemary stands out from the other herbs because of the way it’s pronounced in the song … but enough of my nonsense.
Rosemary is probably the most common dried herb found in spice racks around the country. Fresh rosemary smells gorgeous and woody. It’s perfect for stews and stuffings. Like the herbs I’ve listed above rosemary is no different when it comes to health benefits. It’s packed with Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Rosemary & Thyme Braised Lamb – Rosemary and thyme go together like Sonny and Cher … okay bad example, but you get my drift. They work really well together, especially if it involved roasting vegetables (like my recipe above) or meat. This Rosemary & Thyme Braised Lamb recipe from epicurious.com not only features rosemary and thyme as flavours for the lamb as it cooks but also as sauces to be enjoyed when it is served. Enjoy!
Rosemary Bread – Jamie Oliver does a mean Kenny Rankin’s rosemary focaccia but Rachel Allen does a mean Caramelised Onion & Rosemary Bread. You can choose for yourself which you prefer. If it was up to me I’d bake both. Life’s too short.
For more delicious rosemary recipes, have a read of this article from Buzzfeed.com – 39 Delicious Things To Do With Rosemary.
Thyme is super-powered in Iron, Manganese, Vitamin A and Calcium. You’ll usually find it used as sprigs to flavour roasted dishes or stews. If you decide you no longer want it as a windowsill herb, Thyme is perfect for growing outdoors too. In fact it should flourish outdoors and if you want to plant it with a buddy, then choose rosemary.
Roast Vegetables – Here’s how I cook my roast vegetables. Take for example potatoes, broccoli, carrots, swede and brussel sprouts (as pictured above). First I boil them for about 10 minutes with two squashed cloves of garlic in vegetable stock. Then I drain them and add them to a roasting dish. I top with fresh rosemary and thyme, season and roast. Fantastic.
Prawns with Thyme – This is a simple recipe from greatfood.ie. You don’t need many ingredients just fresh prawns in their shells, fresh thyme, plain flour, fresh garlic cloves and seasoning. The dish can be served on its own as a main dish or as finger food for starters. For full instructions visit the greatfood.ie website here.
For more delicious thyme recipes, just enter the word thyme into the search bar of (the aptly named website) FreshThyme.com‘s recipe page and choose from any of the 28 recipes they have displayed.
To find out more about the herbs you use, like their health benefits, a website I’d like to recommend for your future reference is organicfacts.net.