Herbs guide and recipes

Try new ways to use fresh herbs and brighten up your recipes with a world of exciting flavour combinations

Sage

Popular in fancy sausages, sage holds its flavour well, even when cooked for a long time. It also keeps well in the fridge. It’s great in stews and roasts and its aromatic, slightly bitter flavour goes well with rich meats such as pork and duck. 

Coriander

Popular in Thai, Chinese, Mexican and Indian cuisine. (Ground coriander used in curries is made from the seeds of the plant.) To preserve the flavour add the leaves and stalks to stir-fries just before serving or use raw in salsa.

Dill

The feathery leaves have an aniseedy flavour that works well in fish pie and gravadlax (dill-cured salmon). Use the leaves only, ideally at the end of cooking. Add to mayo for livening up potato salad, or snip into scrambled eggs or an omelette. 

Parsley

The flat-leaf variety shown here has a stronger taste than the curly leaf but they’re interchangeable. The stalks taste as good as the leaves, so use these, too. Finely chop and add to French dressing or marinades for fish.

Rosemary

Rosemary’s bittersweet leaves and distinct aroma work well with poultry and game, as well as traditional lamb. Add whole to roast veg, use small sprigs to stud a leg of lamb or sprinkle over bread before baking. 

Basil

Keep a pot of basil in a sunny spot in the kitchen and it’ll thrive. It doesn’t freeze or dry well but you can make basil oil by infusing leaves in warmed olive oil. Always tear basil rather than chopping to stop the leaves bruising. Tomatoes make an ideal match.

Chives

Part of the onion family, chives taste like salad onions. Cut them with scissors instead of a knife and for a fuller flavour use them raw in salads or as a garnish.  Or try adding them to dough for dumplings or mashed potato. 

Mint

This herb grows well on an indoor windowsill. Infuse it in hot water and drink after eating to aid digestion. Mint tastes equally good in sweet or savoury recipes: pair it with peas and asparagus or add it to fruit salad.