Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

Great Herb Garden ideas, recipes and the difference between curly and flat leaf parsley!

 While gathering sap for syrup and collecting eggs from our chickens I find myself wondering if spring has actually sprung while walking paths that are lined with a couple of feet of snow.

To get in the spirit of spring one should stop furrowing trenches in their ice covered driveways and furrow some rows in the dirt as now is the perfect time to start growing an herb garden. Some people hesitate at the idea of gardening for lack of a green thumb and the simple fear of failure but most herbs grow like weeds simply because they will flourish with little care and can survive in a wide variety of soil types. Truth is there is a very fine line between herbs and weeds. Plants are only considered to be weeds when we cannot put any financial value to them. Growing your own herbs at home is cheaper than those purchased in the store.

The first thing to do before starting your herb garden, is to make a list of the herbs you like to eat and know you will use in your daily cooking. Then go on-line to learn about each herb and its ideal growing conditions. I suggest visiting Richters Herbs located in Goodwood either in person or online.
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Next, pick up your required gear to plant your garden and set to work. There are many Herb Garden Kits available that you can purchase to grow your herbs from seed. They are more expensive, than shopping for all of its components individually but they are more convenient with everything packaged together.

You will need only one to two plants of every herb you choose to grow to generously supply your kitchen with all the aroma and flavours you would need.  If you find yourself with extra plants after the germination process, maybe give the extra ones away at Easter instead of candy and chocolates for a change.

You may want to consider doing a few potted herb gardens that can be easily maintained indoors or out. You could even create themed gardens based upon herbs you enjoy separated by usage whether culinary, tea or home apothecary.

Once your plants reach the maturity to begin harvesting from them you will see how quickly they can generate new shoots once cut so they will actually grow better the more you use them.

Months from now when we make our way around the sun and find us hunkering down for another winter we can easily move the potted herbs inside and simply set them in a place where they can get 4-6 hours of daylight you will be able to grow your herbs throughout winter.

Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme are the most commonly reached for herbs and by having these always on the grow will allow you to flavour your foods in a fresh, healthy and inexpensive way. Once your garden is established try making the following recipe for Ranch Dressing.


Ranch Dressing:

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. Parsley leaf

1 tsp. Dill leaf

1 clove Garlic

1 green onion, green part only

1/2 tsp Basil leaf

1 cup Greek yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Place the herbs in a food processor and pulse them together. Stir in the yogurt. Cover the mixture and set it in the refrigerator for two hours before serving. The yogurt can be replaced with, mayonnaise, sour cream or combinations of all three.

 
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Curly or Flat leaf Parsley

 

Last week I wrote about getting a start on your herb garden which judging by my inbox many of you did. A recurring question that was asked was whether one should plant curly or flat leaf parsley. The quick answer is to plant both while the long answer follows.

Parsley is as synonymous as salt and pepper when it comes to cooking. Recipes often list parsley as an ingredient but rarely suggest whether one should choose from the flat or curly varieties.

Although the curly variety often shows up on plates as a garnish next to a slice of citrus or artfully rained down on a plate of monochromatic coloured food to make it appear more vibrant it is the flat leaf parsley that is preferred to use in recipes as it has a lively peppery flavour that holds up well when cooked. Flat leaf parsley looks very similar to cilantro so be wary as to which herb you are grabbing in the produce aisle because it seems that these two are often mixed together. For gardeners flat-leaf is easier to grow as it exceptionally forgiving to its exposure to varying amounts of rain and sunshine,

Curly leaf has a milder taste than flat leaf, but its flavor diminishes when heated, so it’s best used raw or added at the last minute to prepared food. Its crinkly makes it ideal to use in uncooked salsas, salad dressings and salads. When properly stored; refrigerated, rolled in paper towel and placed in an air tight bag it will stay fresh longer than flat leaf, and it’s easier to bunch into a ball for chopping.

A recipe may list parsley as an ingredient but it rarely will tell you which one to use but regardless of their differences, curly and flat leaf parsley can be used interchangeably.  I suggest you experiment with the two and you will find a difference in textures that can impact mouth feel which for some can be the deciding factor as to which parsley they prefer.

Most people use only the parsley leaves and discard the stems but these actually have a stronger flavour than the leaves and can be minced up before adding them to soups or stocks.

Both parsley varieties require a very thorough rinsing as they are best grown in a sandy soil, which if not rinsed will quickly dull your knife and your teeth.

Every so often you will also come across parsley root which looks like a parsnip but tastes more like a potato with parsley and is commonly found in European preparations of soups and stews. Parsnip is parsley’s closest relative.

Whether you choose to forage your parsley from your herb garden or the grocery store, try  both  flat and curly parsley in the following easy to make recipe for pesto which is great on pasta or with fish and chicken.

 

Presto Parsley Pesto

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup sliced unsalted, roasted almonds

½ cup chopped fresh chives

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¾ cup finely grated Parmesan

Method:

Meanwhile, pulse almonds in a food processor until smooth. Add parsley, chives, oil, and Parmesan; process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Without heating the pesto simply toss hot freshly cooked noodles in it before serving.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014

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