Meet Herb

Note: Please feel free to use the Measurement Conversions tool to convert any unfamiliar units in the recipes to those you are more comfortable using.

You know, sometimes you can get carried away in the kitchen -- at least, I know I can. Have you ever had one of those days when you're in there, you're chopping, slicing, and dicing, and all of a sudden a simple meal for four people turns into the equivalent of the tale of the loaves and the fishes? I have days like that all the time. Before I'm done, I've switched pots three times to accommodate the burgeoning stew, soup or whatever else is on the simmer.

Well . . . last month's column on ginger was kinda like that. Remember I told you my friend Steven was helping me by researching and testing the recipes?? Well, he got carried away. Since they all seemed so yummy and different, I had a hard time deciding which ones NOT to use. So I left it up to Ronda -- she's the editor and chief cook and bottle washer around Seasoned Cooking.

It seems Ronda didn't want to be the one to make that decision either. So instead we ended up with a two-part column. Welcome to "Ginger Part Two".

There are lots more interesting recipes in store for you and plenty of good eating besides. So sit back, relax, and read on. And don't forget to try them out! Before I hand over the column to Steven again, here's a quick rundown of the recipes in this article:

    (page 1) (page 1) (page 2) (page 2) (page 2) (page 2) (page 2) (page 2) (page 3) (page 3) (page 3) (page 3) (page 4) (page 4) (page 4) (page 4) (page 5) (page 5) (page 5) (page 5)

Ginger Chicken

  • 2 teaspoons 5 aroma powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground Szechwan pepper
  • 1 teaspoon 5 pepper mixture, or freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 20 slices of fresh ginger
  • 10 garlic cloves, unpeeled but slightly crushed
  • 1 chicken of about 1 1/2 kg (I strongly recommend free range chickens, they taste better and I think they absorb the herbs a lot more.)

Mix the 5 aroma powder, Szechwan pepper, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture evenly into the inside of the cleaned chicken. Now mix the sage, marjoram, ginger, and garlic in a bowl, spread the mixture evenly inside the chicken and close with a skewer.

Preheat the oven to 240° C or 475°F.

Place the chicken (breast up) in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C or 350°F and cook for a further 40 minutes. Now turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, lay it breast down and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Carefully remove the skewer and drain any fluid that may have collected inside. Cut the chicken with a sharp knife or a good pair of chicken scissors into four portions and serve on preheated plates. I served it with French bread, chilled Balaton (a dry Hungarian red wine) and a fresh seasonal salad. The reaction was, "when are you going to do this one again Steven?"

Barbecued Chicken Legs with Soy Sauce and Mustard

  • 450g chicken legs, skinned and boned
  • 3 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smooth parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin

Lay the skinned and boned chicken legs on a baking tray.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixer until they have an even texture.

Spread the mixture evenly on both sides of the chicken legs.

When the charcoal is glowing, grill the chicken each side for about 10 minutes, till they are nicely brown. (The finger test is a way to see if the are just right, press the flesh in the middle with your finger, when the flesh just stops giving in to the pressure of your finger then the meat is done to a "T".) Serve with a fresh summer salad and freshly baked Ciabatta (just out of the oven) and garlic butter.

Note: Please feel free to use the Measurement Conversions tool to convert any unfamiliar units in the recipes to those you are more comfortable using.

Aubergine with Mushrooms in Ginger-Tomato Sauce

  • 15g dried Chinese mushrooms
For the sauce:
  • 220g fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded or drained tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper, or 5 pepper mixture
For the Aubergine:
  • 450g Aubergine
  • 75ml olive oil, extra virgin
  • 5 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon 5 aroma powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 150ml water

Soak the mushrooms in warm water for about 20 min. drain and press the rest of the water out of them. Remove the stalks and discard them, cut the tops into fine strips.

Cut the fresh tomatoes into pieces about 1" in size, or the tinned tomatoes into small pieces.

Heat a large frying pan, pour in the olive oil, add the ginger, salt and pepper, and fry the ginger for about a minute, until it is slightly brown. Add the tomatoes and sugar, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 min. Remove from the cooker and place to the side.

Cut the Aubergines diagonally in 1/2 inch thick slices

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, when it has reached a middle temperature add the garlic and fry for about 1/2 a minute, add the Aubergine slices, the 5 aroma powder, salt and pepper and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Now add the tomato sauce, the mushrooms and water, cook for about 5 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes till the Aubergines are soft. Serve straight away. Goes well with a main dish of pork medallions and freshly baked rye bread.

Asparagus Coconut Quiche

For the pastry:
  • 150g flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cream
For the filling:
  • 350ml cream
  • 6 tablespoons of tinned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 250g fresh asparagus washed and pealed
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon 5 pepper mixture or freshly ground black pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated coconut

Place all the ingredients for the pastry in a mixer and mix well, turn out on a slightly floured pastry board and for into a ball, place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius or 350°F.

Roll the pastry to 3mm thickness, lay it in a 22cm diameter baking form, cover it with baking paper and weigh it down with about 350g dried peas or beans. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Remove the weight and paper, pierce the pastry a couple of times with a fork and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Pour the cream and coconut milk into a small pot, add the ginger and simmer at a low heat for about 15 minutes. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve, discard the ginger and leave the mixture to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200° C or 400°F.

Distribute asparagus evenly in the baking form. Mix the eggs, salt, pepper, sugar, chives, spring onions, and coconut to the cream mixture. Pour the mixture over the asparagus. Bake the quiche for about 25 minutes till it is golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature with freshly baked onion-rye bread.

Fried Rice with Ginger and Spring Onions

  • 360g long grained white rice
  • 600ml water
  • 2 tablespoons oil (The recipe that inspired this dish stated peanut oil but I prefer walnut oil.)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 100g spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5 pepper mixture, or freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

Cook the rice in advance, either the evening before or at least two hours earlier. (I do mine in a rice steam cooker.)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the ginger, reduce the heat and stir-fry the ginger till it changes color. Add the onions, salt and pepper, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and fry for about 5 minutes or until it is well heated. Lastly add the coriander and mix the rice well. I have tried this with various meats, and have found it goes really well with Rabbit, skewered with garlic.

Tagliatelle with Chili Tomato Sauce

  • 900g tomatoes, skinned and stoned
  • 150ml olive oil, extra virgin
  • 100g onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, roughly chopped
  • 100g carrots, finely chopped
  • 100g celery, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red chili, stoned and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon 5 pepper mixture
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 450g tagliatelle

Cut the tomatoes into cubes about an inch thick.

Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions, ginger, garlic, carrots, celery, spring onions, and chili. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the sugar, salt, pepper, and chili oil. Stir-fry for another minute. Finally add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour.

Cook the tagliatelle in salted water, drain, pour into a large serving bowl, pour the sauce over the top and liberally grate parmesan over it before table serving.

Chocolate Cake with Candied Ginger

  • 350g good quality chocolate cut into small pieces
  • 150g butter
  • 140g sugar
  • 50g candied ginger finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 40g sieved flour
  • some sieved castor sugar for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180° C or 350° F. Place a heat resistant glass bowl in a large pot of hot water. Add the chocolate, butter, sugar and candied ginger to the glass bowl. Melt, stirring continuously.

Let the mixture cool a little, add the egg yolk then the flour and mix thoroughly.

Whip the egg whites stiff, a third of the egg white should be mixed quickly into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold the rest into it. Pour into a baking form of about 20-23 cm diameter and bake for 35-40 min.

Leave to cool completely before turning it onto a cake platter, dust with the castor sugar and serve.

Crème Brûlée with Ginger

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 500g cream
  • 6 tablespoons fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius or 350°F.

Cut the vanilla bean down its length, scrape out the middle and mix it with 1 tablespoon of sugar, place the mixture to the side.

Place half the cream, the ginger, and the rest of the vanilla bean in a small pot and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat leave to cool completely before passing it through a very fine sieve. Discard the rest of the ginger but remove the vanilla bean, dry it completely and place it in sugar for later use. Now stir the Vanilla-Sugar into the Ginger-Crème.

Mix the egg yolks, the beaten egg, the rest of the sugar with the remaining cream. Add the Ginger-Crème and mix well. Pour into 8 portion-sized forms of about 6cm diameter place on a deep baking tray with about 2cm of water in it and bake for about 30 min or until the Crème has stiffened. Leave to cool thoroughly and then place them in the fridge.

All, up to this point, can be done in preparation the day before serving.

Shortly before serving turn the oven grill on to its highest temperature, sprinkle the brown sugar equally over the Crème and place in the oven until the sugar has caramelized. Make sure the sugar doesn't burn, let them cool for a minute or two, to enable the caramel harden slightly before serving.

Note: Please feel free to use the Measurement Conversions tool to convert any unfamiliar units in the recipes to those you are more comfortable using.

Bamboo Shoot Salad

  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, finely diced
  • 1 red paprika pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cooked celeriac root
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 small pickled gherkin
  • 250g bamboo shoots (I use tinned shoots.)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh dill, finely chopped

Peel the garlic clove and press it together with some salt. Mix the ginger, soy sauce, oil and vinegar to a smooth paste. Season the eggs and paprika cubes with salt and sugar and place somewhere cold for half an hour. Drain the bamboo shoots and cut into strips, not too thin, cut the celeriac and gherkin also into strips mix all the ingredients together with the vinegar oil sauce and sprinkle the dill and tarragon over the top leave to cool before serving.

Ginger Rice Salad

For the salad:
  • 125g boiled long grain wild rice
  • 250g cooked garden peas
  • 250g tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 red paprika pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 200g boiled ham, cut into thin strips
For the marinade:
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

Mix all the salad ingredients together then mix the marinade. Carefully fold the marinade into the salad and leave for about 1 1/2 hours, sprinkle with the parsley before serving.

Ginger-Apple Sauce

  • 3 large apples
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon wine vinegar

Peel and core the apples, and cut into thin slices. Cook the apple slices with the ginger gently in a cup of water. Puree the mixture after cooking. Re-heat the sauce, add the soy sauce, the sugar, and the vinegar to taste. I serve this with roast pork, but it also goes well with BBQ pork or roast / BBQ lamb.

Hot Spicy Barbeque Sauce

  • 3 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 paprika peppers, 1 red, 1 green, finely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground dried chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 5 tomatoes, pealed, stoned and cut into small cubes
  • 1 glass of dry red wine (I use Cotè du Rhón.)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 1/4 litre of beef stock
  • a pinch of sugar

Braze the onions, garlic and paprika peppers in the butter, then add the chili, tomatoes, ginger, red wine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook thoroughly, stirring regularly. Mix the flour and the cold beef stock and add to the chili mixture, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Press the mixture through a sieve, re-heat add the sugar and season with salt. Goes well with BBQ pork chops, but try it with other meats -- you will be surprised.

Note: Please feel free to use the Measurement Conversions tool to convert any unfamiliar units in the recipes to those you are more comfortable using.

Ginger Chutney

  • 125g fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 500g onions, finely cubed
  • 750g apples, finely chopped
  • 1/4 litre wine vinegar
  • 275g sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook all the ingredients in a wide pot for about 30- 40 minutes, stirring continuously. Fill the hot mixture into glass jars, screw the lid on and leave to cool. Store in a cool place for a week before using.

Apple-Peach Chutney

  • 500g apples, finely cubed
  • 500g peaches, skinned, stoned and finely cubed
  • 200g raisins, washed and drained
  • 1/2 litre water
  • 1/4 litre vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 6 cloves
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

Sprinkle the apple cubes with some vinegar, this stops them changing colour. Cook the raisins with the water, vinegar and seasoning to a puree, add the apples and peaches and simmer very gently for 6 minutes, do not boil. Fill in glass jars and screw the lids on tight, store in a cool place for at least 14 days before using.

Ginger-Olive Oil Marinade

  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon peal
  • 5 pressed garlic cloves

Mix all the ingredients together, place your meat in the marinade and leave for 3 hours. I use this one for pork, lamb, or fish but mostly for fish.

Red Wine Steak Marinade

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 glass of a dry red wine (I use Bardollino for this one.)
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 1 pressed lemon, just the juice
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon really hot mustard
  • 1 dried bay leaf, rubbed

Mix all the ingredients, leave to cool in the fridge for 1/2 an hour, massage it into the steaks and leave to marinade over night. I think you will enjoy your steaks this way, especially if you like them rare as I do.

Note: Please feel free to use the Measurement Conversions tool to convert any unfamiliar units in the recipes to those you are more comfortable using.

Christmas is the only time of year when someone else may use my kitchen, when I am at home, and then only for a day or two in preparation for the festivities. My darling daughter took over making the Christmas cookies whilst at school, and still does today. Here are two of the recipes I gave her. The second one has been chosen deliberately, as I know Rossana - the beloved Meet Herb author -- has a passion for Pfeffernuesse :)

Ginger Cookies

  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250g castor sugar
  • 250g flour
  • 1 table spoon fresh ginger, crushed
  • a glass of glazed fruits

Heat water in a wide pot, place a glass bowl in the water and mix the castor sugar, egg and egg yolks to a creamy substance. Remove from the cooker and stir continuously until cool.

Mix the flour with the ginger, fold the crème into the flour and rapidly mix. Roll out on a floured rolling board to about 1/2 cm thickness. Now press out your cookies, 4cm diameter should be big enough. Place them on a baking tray and leave to rest for an hour. Preheat your oven to 180°C or 350°F. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes till they are a light golden colour. Remove from the baking tray whilst still hot and decorate with small strips of the glazed fruit. Leave covered for a couple of days before serving, the cookies are still very hard after the baking but soften after 2 days.

Pfeffernuesse

  • 500g flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 300g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 3-4 good pinches each of ground ginger, ground cloves, ground nutmeg and ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • peel of 1/2 a lemon, grated
  • peel of 1/2 an orange, grated
  • 75g candied lemon peel, chopped
  • 50g grated almonds
  • 200g castor sugar for the icing

Whip the eggs and sugar stiff, then gradually add the flour mixed with the baking powder and the milk. Then the work the spices, orange and lemon peel into the mixture. Finally knead the candied lemon peel and almonds into the mixture. Cover and leave for an hour, roll out to a thickness of about 1 cm and press out your cookies (about 3 cm diameter). I do mine the traditional way and form cherry sized little balls which are then placed in a wooden form.

Leave the Pfeffernuesse over night, to dry out, covered with a linen cloth.

Preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F and bake the Pfeffernuesse on a well greased baking tray for 10 - 15 minutes. When they have cooled, mix the castor sugar with 2 - 3 tablespoons of hot water to a creamy icing and coat each pfeffernuss individually.

Pfeffernuesse are as hard as stone after baking, so place them in a Cookie tin, seal and leave for 14 days. They keep a long time then, if you haven't eaten them first!

Ginger-liqueur

  • 75g fresh ginger, sliced thinly
  • 1 bottle of cognac (I use Hennessey for this liqueur.)
  • 200g honey
  • 4 tablespoons of water

Pour the cognac over the ginger slices and leave to soak for a week. Shake the bottle or glass every day. After a week, pour the cognac through a sieve, mix the ginger slices with the honey and water in a pot and bring to the boil. Boil for a good 3 minutes, and then leave to cool covered over. When it has cooled pour back into the cognac and shake well, seal and leave to rest. At first it will be a bit cloudy but when left for a week or so this will settle. This keeps forever in a good sealed bottle -- if you have the will power to leave it!

No Name Long Drink

This one was invented by my sister and brother-in-law.

This is a refreshing long drink invented, accidentally, at a family party.

Take a long drink glass, pour 1 inch of crushed ice into it, pour enough Vodka in to just cover the ice, fill the glass to 1 inch off the top with Ginger Beer (don't get this mixed up with ginger ale -- ginger beer is the same colour as bitter lemon, you should be able to get it in most Scottish pubs). Stir with a glass cocktail stick.

Now comes the tricky bit, once the liquid has stopped spinning, gently and slowly pour 1/2 an inch of Martini Bianco onto the ginger beer, due to the difference in specific density the vermouth should stay on top and mix very, very slowly with the rest, so you actually drink the vodka-ginger beer through the vermouth, not unlike drinking Irish coffee through the cream topping.

Neat huh?? Bet you would have had trouble weeding any out too.

That takes us to the close of another month . . . and coincidentally another year as well. I promise -- next month will NOT be "Ginger Part Three"!!!

Here's hoping you all get what you wish for this holiday season. And that the New Year brings you peace and love and prosperity.

And . . . to borrow a phrase from my favourite Christmas song . . . "May your days be merry and bright . . . and may all your Christmases be white!!"

TTFN!!

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