Dried Barberries, most widely known in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially in Iranian dishes (where they are known as zereshk) have a host of other uses too. These mild, slightly sweet, tangy little berries are wonderful in rice dishes, couscous & casseroled chicken recipes.
They are a delicious addition to homemade mincemeat at Christmas and stuffings for roasted meats.
Try a handful mixed in with your breakfast muesli or yoghurt, alternatively incorporate them into muffins or desserts.
They are rich in Vitamin C and have been used medicinally for centuries, particularly for digestive disorders.
We like the look of this idea…
Soak some barberries for 10 minutes then drain. Sauté in a little oil with chopped onions. Add cooked rice, chopped almonds, some cumin & coriander and serve with lamb or chicken.
The ultimate natural food colouring, Beetroot powder gives the cook a palette of intense pinks and reds. Highly nutritious, with numerous reported health benefits, it’s mild and slightly sweet taste does not compromise the flavour of a dish. Widely used in Indian cooking, it can also add vibrancy to sweet & sour dishes, pastas and goulashes and extra nutrition to soups and stews. Valuable too when baking, for colouring sponges, icings & buttercreams. Particularly wonderful when added to smoothies & vegetable juice blends! Aside from culinary uses, it can also be used in hand made soaps, bath bombs and make-up.
Beetroot powder is suitable for both vegetarians & vegans and anyone with intolerance to artificial food colourings.
Historically, beetroot has always had a place in human society. Reportedly found as charred remains dating back to Neolithic times, it was then revered by the Romans as a cure for fever, constipation and other ailments. It has long been considered to contribute to general good health and is reputedly an effective aphrodisiac, due to the presence of the mineral boron and the amino acid arginine!
More recently, beetroot has been recognized as highly effective in the reduction of blood pressure, due to the presence of nitrates. Health benefits abound including high levels of iron, which can assist in combating anaemia. Abundant in anti-oxidants, beetroot is also a good source of a wide range of other vitamins and minerals. One teaspoon of beetroot powder is approximately the equivalent of one fresh beetroot, so it’s easy to reap the benefits of this fabulous super-food by incorporating it into your cooking!
Delicate purple-blue flowers of fragrant French Lavender give intense sweet floral flavours with notes of citrus and mint.
The flowers should be used sparingly due to their intense flavour. A lovely ingredient for baking, especially in shortbread and cupcakes, they can also be used in many dessert recipes.
Lavender is also fantastic in savoury dishes, particularly good with lamb and chicken. It can also be used as a culinary decoration too.
And of course, often used to fill hand-made lavender bags for scenting drawers and wardrobes!
How to make Lavender Sugar…
Mix 1kg of sugar with 2 teaspoons of lavender flowers and store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.
Click on the following link for our delicious Lavender Shortbread recipe…