Monday, 12 March 2007

weekend herb blogging - the round up!

Wow. With 39 entries this week, the round-up took a lot longer than I anticipated.

I learnt a lot of interesting things about seaweed tartar, angelica root, red amaranth, pomelo and dried Persian limes. We’re an interesting bunch of people, even if we are all food nerds.

Here are all the entries in order of submission:

Poricha Suraikaai Sambaar / Bottlegourd Curry
Anisha from Kovai-Samayal
New Jersey, USA
The bottle gourd has many interesting uses, including alkaline elixir for urinary tract infections, thirst relief during diarrhoea and a sedative for insomniacs. But most importantly bottle gourds are the theme ingredient in the first entry for this week's WHB. The gourds are fried and cooked with dal, tamarind pulp, fresh tomato, grated coconut and a multitude of spices then served with hot rice.

Chayote Squash Stir-Fry
Asha from Aroma!
North Carolina, USA
The chayote / chow chow / choko is native to Mexico and was an important food source for the Aztecs. This squash reportedly has positive effects on kidney stones and hypertension. It’s starchiness calls for heavy flavouring and Asha used mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red split peas (chana dal), chilli flakes, onion, garlic, curry leaves, cilantro and lemon juice to turn this vegetable into a wonderful light lunch.

Postre de Tapioca con Coco
Freya from Writing at the Kitchen Table
Colchester, UK
After terrible stories of bad tapioca pudding in school, Freya wasn’t sure whether this Latin American recipe would save the day, but it did and then some! Cooking pearls of this reconstituted cassava root, Freya used coconut milk, vanilla sugar, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, coconut extract, cream, milk and a knob of butter to ensure this dessert tasted creamy and spicy and nothing like the bland horror stories she’d heard about. Her final contribution was the addition of mango purée to make it a truly exotic treat.

Bhajji Amshi / Red Amaranth Curry
Sra from When My Soup Came Alive India
Sra was amused to learn that the elderly lady selling these vegetables called them disco greens as a salute to the Hindi film Disco Dancer and in an attempt to make her vegetables just a little more exciting. This Saraswat recipe uses red amaranth, jaggery (palm sugar), freshly grated coconut, tamarind pulp, green chillies and a whopping dose of garlic. The ingredients are cooked together to infuse the flavours then served with rice.

Blood Orange Sorbet
Lynne from Cafe Lynnylu
Augusta, Georgia, USA
The gene that makes the “blood” in blood oranges is a said to be a wonderful antioxidant and the various varieties of these red organges (from the US, Spain and Italy) each have different levels of “blood”. Lynne tells an interesting story of poison and intrigue surrounded a discovery of blood oranges and she also offers up a refreshing recipe for blood orange sorbet which is easy and stress free.

Lubia Polo / Persian Pilaf w Lime & Green Beans
Nupur from One Hot Stove
St Louis, Missouri, USA
Inspired by Madhur Jaffrey, Nupur took on this Iranian pilaf flavoured with dried limes. These expensive goodies add fragrant tang to any dish which Nupur and V adored. Thin slices of potatoes are layered with rice, green beans, onion, tomato puree garam masala, dried lime and turmeric. The dish is cooked until the potatoes and edges crisp and the inside steaming and ready to devour. Cut into wedges, Nupur says this was not only very pretty to look at but marvellous to eat.

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower
Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Our very own Herb Goddess, Kalyn, is quite partial to roasted cauliflower and she has a few recipes up her sleeve. This one, however, gave her an excellent opportunity to use the aleppo pepper flakes courtesy of Burcu. These peppers are "semi moist, hot, flaked red pepper" and Kalyn combined cauliflower florets, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, roasting until the cauliflower was tender and golden brown. I wouldn’t mind a side of that!

Rose-y Lamb
Ros from Living to Eat
London, UK
Dried rose petals are a seriously under utilised ingredient in most Western cooking, but the Middle East has all the bases covered and so does Ros. She ground the dried petals into a fine powder then rubbed a lamb leg with ginger and the rose dust. She then glazed the lamb with rose jam, rosewater and lemon zest. While the lamb roasted she knocked up some seriously delicious looking saffron roasted potatoes and courgette sauteéd with butter and mint. The lamb was finished off with a sauce made from lamb stock, beaujolais and rosemary as well as more rosewater and rose jam. Divine!

Wild Rice Chowder
Smita from Smita Serves You Right
Rochester, New York, USA
Using wild rice, Smita has added yet another soup to her growing list of duplicate soup batches. This soup contains onion, fennel, carrots, garlic, mushrooms and celery as well as some milk and stock. The overall effect was creamy, nutty, mild flavoured soup made from an interesting ingredient. In fact Smita explains that wild rice can be grown in swampland and used to feature in the diets of Native American since it is high in protein and low in fat.

Savoury Breadcrumb Cauliflower
Joanna from Joanna's Food
Henley on Thames, UK
Another cauliflower fan, this time it’s Joanna who has developed a way to produce savoury breadcrumbs that flavour cauliflower without adding the fattiness of cheese. Joanna fries some anchovies in olive oil then adds processed bread and continues to fry until the crumbs are golden. These breadcrumbs can “zizz up” anything.

Pork Chops w Beer & Thyme
Katie from Thyme for Cooking
Vendee, France
This thyme addict has found a recipe where she can use one of her favourite herbs en masse as well as prepare for St Patrick’s Day with a little beer salute. Katie fries onions and mushrooms, browns pork chops with paprika and deglazes the pan with beer, chicken stock and thyme. Pork chops marry so well with thyme and onions and I’m sure the beer sauce just added malty goodness.

Baked Swordfish w Mushrooms & Broccoli
Mandira from Ahaar
Buffalo, NY, USA
This WHBlogger has recently mastered the art of cooking fish at home and has experimented which a range of different types. This swordfish recipe marinates the fish steaks in lemon juice, black pepper, turmeric, salt and ginger for a few hours before baking them with vegetables, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro (coriander) until the fish flakes beautifully.

Springtime Salad
Helene from News from the Kitchen
Landau, Germany
This salad is pure simplicity with the sweetness of spring. Three ingredients combine: shredded lightly cooked carrot, pineapple (ananas) and pear. For a little bite you can use red or white radishes too, but Helene recommends you leave the salad overnight so the flavours can intermingle and develop.

Ovenbaked Laurel, Ginger & Garlic Potato Chips
Ilva from Lucullian Delights
Pistoia, Italy
Inspired by fellow blogger, Brilynn, Ilva for the first time in her cooking career laments not having a microwave so she can whip up some homemade chips/crisps. Nonetheless, everyone will agree that Ilva’s final version looks fantastic and her flavour combination of fresh ginger, fresh garlic and beautiful bay/laurel leaves has me drooling for a bowl so I can curl up on the sofa and snack away.

Mussels w Spinach, Leeks & Blue Cheese
Anna from Morsels & Musings
Sydney, Australia
This is my contribution to this week’s WHB. My recipe is fairly simple to make but the final result is exquisite and easily something you could serve at a dinner party or just as a nice treat for you and someone special. Serve with a beer and a bowl of French fries for that authentic Belgian feeling.

Tuscan Beans
Terry from Blue Kitchen
Chicago, IL, USA
After reading a reference to Tuscan Beans somewhere along the way, Terry whipped up his own side dish using luscious fresh rosemary. To recreate this rustic side first start with a mirepoix (celery, onion, carrot), to which rosemary, beans and garlic is added until warmed through and then the dish is finished off with a dash of olive oil. Terry emphasises the need to have a gentle touch for this recipe to avoid breaking the fragile cannellini beans.

Clear Beef Broth w Herb Pancake Wan Tans
Brigitte from Küchendunst aus Singapur
After recalling her grandmother’s Flädle-soup, Brigitte devised her own recipe for a beautiful broth and herb parcels. Beef bones, garlic, onions, leeks, celery, carrots, parsnips, turnips, bay leaves and thyme are boiled to make a flavoursome consommé which is spiced with Hungarian paprika. She then made her own dough stuffed full of herbs such as chervil, flat leafed parsley, thyme and chives. This is fried like a crépe then formed into a parcel which is stuffed with minced beef and Comté cheese before being floated in the rich, clear broth.

Prosciutto Bruschetta w Browned Sage Butter
Shawnda from Confections of a Foodie Bride
Houston, TX, USA
These tasty morsels are popular alongside pasta or a big hit on poker night. Butter is browned over a low-medium heat with fresh sage so that the essential oils leech into the sauce. Be sure to remove from the heat when you reach dark brown otherwise you’ll end up with a bitter flavour. This butter is then drizzled over slices of bread topped with prosciutto and grilled for a few minutes. Top with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and devour.

Lamb Shanks w White Wine & Tomatoes
Katerina from Daily Unadventures
Vancouver, Canada
Keeping rainy days at bay with these lamb shanks must be easy. Meat cooked on the bone can be so tantalising and tender and Katerina’s version of Jamie Oliver’s recipe looks amazing. Coriander seed, dried Thai chillies and dried rosemary are crushed together then added to flour as a spicy coating. The shanks are then browned before a mirepoix with garlic is cooked in the lamb juices before balsamic vinegar, white wine, anchovies and tomatoes are added. The lamb shanks are then stewed in this glorious concoction in the oven and served over mashed potato or risotto.

Pork-Leek Rolls w Butternut Squash & Pine Nuts
Gattina from Kitchen Unplugged
New Jersey, USA
Swapping beef for pork and pumpkin for butternut squash, Gattina transformed an old recipe into something new with her very own twist. Minced pork is cooked with some chopped leeks, garlic, white wine and is finished off with dried oregano and grated carrot. The outer leek sheaths are blanched then filled with pork and rolled against the grain so they’re easy to bite through. The final dish is served with roasted butternut squash, toasted pine nuts and drizzled with a basic tomato sauce.

Begedil (fried potato cutlet)
Tigerfish from teczcape
Bay Area, CA, USA
Cilantro has centre stage in this wonderful recipe for potato cutlets. Boiled potatoes are mashed then mixed with cooked minced beef, cilantro and fried shallots before being shaped into balls. Each begedil is then dipped into an egg wash before being fried in hot oil. These patties look so soft, moist and tangy with the fresh coriander peeking out of the crispy surface.

Middle Eastern Lamb Stew (Orta Doğu Usulü Kuzu Güveç)
Burcu from Almost Turkish
Bloomington, USA
Too hungry to wait 3 hours for her best lamb stew, Burcu discovered a perfect recipe from an unexpected source. Lamb is browned then cooked with onion, eggplants and garlic. Next tomatoes, broth, cloves, cinnamon, coriander and hot peppers are added and left to stew in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. When it’s ready, the stew is served with minted yoghurt and mopped up with toasted bread.

Pomelo & Prawn Salad
Anh from Food Lover's Journey
Melbourne, Australia
Memories of her grandfather’s garden north of Hanoi has Anh reeling for the beautiful quality fruits of Vietnam, such as the pomelo. The largest of the citrus fruits, it is similar to grapefruit although it’s sweeter and less juicy. They can sometimes even weigh more than 2kgs! The skin is also be used to make mali, an essence used to flavour desserts. Salads made of pomelo are very popular in South East Asia and Anh’s version using prawns is a welcome entry to WHB. A dressing of lime juice, sugar and fish sauce is combined with fresh coriander, Vietnamese mint and fried shallot flakes, as well as fresh prawns and pomelo segments.

Moroccan-Inspired Vegetable & Chickpea Stew
Ulrike from Küchenlatein
Kronshagen, Germany
After buying a new cookbook, Ulrike set about creating a North African feast using her favourite herb, parsley. Shallots, carrots, bell peppers and garlic are softened then flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and turmeric before stewing in a slow cooker with green beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, stock and lemon juice for 8 hours. Peas and dried fruit are added towards the end and the finished stew is served with couscous and fiery harissa.

Zorra from 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf
Andalucia, Spain
With wild fennel everywhere in her garden, Zorra was able to harvest the fennel seeds. As a child she did not appreciate the aniseed flavour of fennel so she recommends anyone who feels this way to pair fennel with tomato and enjoy the results. Her gratin combines tomato sauce, fennel, raisins and farfalle pasta which is topped with parmesan and butter then baked to perfection.

Chris from Mele Cotte
Atlanta, GA, USA
While trying to develop something interesting for lunch, Chris discovered bulgur wheat. It’s nutty flavour won her over and combined with lemon juice, mint, olive oil, tomato, parsley and onion she was hooked on this tangy, tasty salad which also happens to be wonderfully healthy. Parsley is her theme herb and she provides some interesting facts, such as parsley tea helping with runny noses.

Rosemary & Cheese Scones
Angie from My Kitchen:My Laboratory
With a new Nigella Lawson cookbook in hand, Angie made quick work of these savoury scones. Using her favourite herb, rosemary, she indulged in the intoxicating aroma and added it to a recipe using parmigiano. Angie was happy that the scones came out light and soft with a wonderful rosemary fragrance. They’re best served warm with a slab of butter, and that’s not too naughty since the recipe is light on butter anyway.

Spinach w Pine Nuts & Raisins
Emily from Superspark
Pasadena, CA, USA
Treasured in a recipe binder made by her friend are Emily’s old standby recipes that have stood the test of time. Among them is this wonderful and simple recipe for spinach from an Italian Jewish cookbook. As Emily notes, the flavours take on a Sephardic influence and have the sweet influences of pine nuts and raisins alongside onions and freshly ground pepper.

Angelica Roasted Chicken
Lydia from My Kitchen
Sydney, Australia
This very interesting recipe uses a traditional Chinese medicinal herb, Angelica Sinensis. Lydia bought some dried root to use in soups but instead tried a different recipe. She pounded the root with garlic, ginger and salt then marinated chicken for a few hours before oven roasting. By the sound of it this was a successful recipe and an interesting one to try. Visit Lydia’s post for more info on angelica’s medicinal qualities.

Pat's Marinara Sauce
Rinku from Cooking in Westchester
Westchester, NY, USA
Teaming up with a work colleague whose Italian ancestry means an insight into marinara sauce was a great experience for Rinku. She developed a strong appreciation for the simplicity and richness of this slow cooked sauce and will never scoff at tomatoes and garlic again! Using copious amounts of garlic, red wine, onion, basil and fresh tomatoes, Rinku created a sauce to use with pasta or as the basis of many other meals.

Spiced Chai
Toni from Daily Bread Journey
San Diego, CA, USA
This entry is not so much a recipe as the interesting and humorous story of one woman’s journey from tea avoider to tea indulgent. After being force fed tea when ill, negative associations meant Toni couldn’t stomach the stuff until a friend poured her a cup of green bancha tea and the love affair began. From Bancha to Sencha to Matcha and then to Earl Grey, there was no stopping her. These days Toni has a regular morning appointment with Spiced Chai and now branches out among the global pickings without even a hint of queasiness.

Greek Feta & Tomato Pasta
Cate from Sweetnicks
New Jersey, USA
This recipe uses ingredients that would be in most pantries. All you’d need to buy is the feta, unless you’re Cate, who seems to have vast quantities at hand. This light and healthy meal was deemed delicious by the Sweetnicks family and Neighbours and yielded around eight portions. Fried onion and garlic is heated with fresh plum tomatoes, dried oregano and a little white wine. Spaghettini and feta is then tossed through and served with black pepper. Cate also provided a bonus recipe for a mussel salad.

Linguine with Arugula, Tuna & Hot Pepper
Sher from What Did You Eat?
Davis, CA, USA
Using three of Sher’s favourite ingredients (tuna, arugula and pasta) this quick fix recipe takes 15 minutes from first chop to first bite. Significant amounts of peppery rocket were used to flavour this stylish pasta salad which uses Italian tuna in olive oil fried with chilli flakes and garlic. When the pasta is ready it’s mixed with the tuna and arugla, which wilts and emits a peppered perfume.

Saganaki Martini
Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Melbourne, Australia
This gorgeous merger of soup and cocktail is a salute to Melbourne based chef George Calombaris whose inventive recreations of traditional dishes are well known in Australia. Gin is added to herby tomato juice and candied olives add wow factor. Grilled haloumi cheese skewers garnish the martini providing the ‘saganaki’ element and diced Roma tomatoes, cucumbers and chives add crunch.

Ocean Micro-Palmiers
Virginie from Absolutely Green
Nantes, France
This cute little aperitif is made from spelt puff pastry, seaweed tartar and aromatics herbs. Virginie recommends using herbs that usually pair will with fish such as coriander or dill. Seaweed tartar is an interesting flavouring made from cold pressed oil (nut, soya, sunflower etc) and dried mixed algae which moistens and is then minced with shallots, gherkins and tamari to form a salty, oceanic paste.

Pookah from What's Cooking in Carolina?
Triangle, NC, USA
This post is all about the little things that make food seem pretty – garnishes! Pookah and her catering posse seem to have this down to a fine art such as dried vegetable confetti and chocolate covered coffee beans. Her recipe for candied orange rind will provide you with delicious chewy citrus treats that will last a few months in the freezer.

Ginger Stir Fried Rice
Lila from Bliss Defined
Washington DC, USA
This ginger addict has discovered one great way to ingest more ginger and use up some leftover rice. The recipe can be made vegan (tofu), vegetarian (eggs) or meatasaurus (chicken). Lila uses scallions, onion, carrots, peas, tamari, garlic, fresh ginger and a sprinkling of brown sugar to create this ginger fiend’s feast.

Purple Peacock Broccoli
Kenneth from Veggie Gardening Tips
Pennsylvania, USA
This rare purple broccoli provides ornamental decoration in the kitchen and the garden. The colour extends beyond the florets and touches the stems and leaves too. Young leaves can be treated as a leaf green and eaten raw in salads and the older leaves can be cooked like kale or collard greens. Its third use is as traditional broccoli, so that’s three veggies in one. Can’t wait to hear the results of Kenneth’s first harvest.

Chicken w Peas, Carrots & Potato Dumplings
Astrid from Paulchens FoodBlog?!
Vienna, Austria
During a visit home to see the folks, Astrid got busy making kartoffelknödel (or potato dumplings) which are made of hot mashed potatoes, potato flour and salt and are then boiled for 30 minutes. These were eaten alongside fried chicken breast and a vegetable dish of onion, carrots, leek, chicken stock and sour cream. What more could you ask for than your mother’s homemade meals?

Phew! That’s it folks. I hope you enjoyed the round up.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all your warm wishes, congratulations and excitement about my recent marriage. It’s been so nice.

Best of luck to next week’s host, Becky from Key Lime & Coconut.



  1. Great job! Thirty-nine entries and photos! That was a lot of work. I have to go to school now (sigh) but when I come home I'll read all the ones I've missed (which is quite a lot of them as it turns out.) Thanks again for hosting. Now relax and enjoy yourself for a while!

  2. Thanks for hosting, you did a great job. So many interesting entries.

  3. Thanks Anna for an outstanding roundup! Now relax!

  4. Anna,
    With your beautiful layout and the great write up, this round-up is really fantastic!

  5. Anna, a great write-up for this weeks's round up!

  6. Thanks, Anna, for taking on this huge task and doing such a great write-up of all the entries. Whew!

    One little glitch that may be my own doing has my Blue Kitchen link not currently working. So while Anna gets around to fixing it, you can just click through on my name here to get to my Tuscan Beans posting.

  7. Most of the links (esp. the blog links) don't work! The post links are mostly ok, though.
    Am going to take some time and browse through these soon. Thks!

  8. OMG!! That was a lot of entries! Such a nice round up - felt 'personalized' :-) Thanks so much!!


  9. Anna, you are awesome! What an incredible job you did! Your write-ups are terrific, especially considering how many entries you had. To do that good a job on each and every one was a Herculean task. Thank you!!!

    I don't know if you intended to have only the permalink work, or if you intended to create a link to the blog itself, but as it stands now, only the permalink is operative, not the link from Daily Bread Journal. No biggie - people will find the blog itself if they just take off everything after ".com".

  10. Anna, a great round-up... Love reading this post. Thanks for hosting! :)

  11. Wonderful roundup

  12. hi everyone, i think i fixed the html problems with the links.

    that's what i get for being lazy and trying to do a mail merge!!!

  13. Great Job! It all looks great to me - if there were problems they're fixed now (Tues, am Euro time). (I was off playing in the mountains for a few days...)

  14. Thanks, Anna, this is a wonderful round-up and a great learning experience!

  15. WOW!! Great job Anna!! So many entries and so many recipes to try.Wonderful and thank you for taking time to post all these Anna!:))

  16. thanks for hosting Anna, and thank you for this excellent round-up :)

  17. What a terrific job you did! And the recipes get better and better. Thanks, Anna


Thanks for saying hello. It's great to know there are people out there in cyberspace!

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