by Angela Patel
I always have a couple of pots of fresh herbs sitting on my kitchen window sill. My favourites are basil and coriander but flat-leaf parsley, lemon thyme, chives or rosemary are my other go-to herbs.
Keeping them fresh and healthy for longer than a few days can be a bit of a challenge but the Cole & Mason Self Watering Herb Keeper does all the work for you, just top up the water well and the plants will stay perky and well hydrated for weeks!
A sprinkling of chopped herbs can lift and enhance almost any dish! But I particularly like making herb flavoured butters to have on stand by in the fridge. They are great for topping grilled meats, pan-fried fish and steamed veg or stirring into pasta and enriching sauces.
Follow these simple steps to make your own herb butters:
Prep: 20 mins plus chilling or freezing
- For each butter you’ll need about 125g salted butter. Allow to soften at room temperature for at least an hour. A quick way to speed up the softening process is to coarsely grate the butter into a bowl.
- Beat the butter with a spatula or wooden spoon until very soft and smooth then gradually beat in your chosen herbs and other flavourings (see Flavour variations below).
- Drop the butter in a rough sausage shape onto a square piece of baking or greaseproof paper. Roll the paper around the butter to form a roll and gently twist the ends like a Christmas cracker.
- Chill the rolls in the fridge until firm. Each flavoured butter log will keep for at least a week. Or place in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- To use, simply unwrap and slice off rounds of the butter as you need them. Allow frozen butters to defrost in the fridge overnight.
Here are three classic variations but you can use any combo of herbs with other flavourings such as dried chilli flakes, finely grated Parmesan, a spoonful of creamed horseradish, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes or black olives – the choice is endless!
- Classic garlic and herb – beat in 2-3 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 peeled and crushed garlic cloves and season with freshly ground black pepper. Use to top char-grilled steaks, pan-fry mixed mushrooms or make home-made garlic and herb bread.
- Lemon, thyme and pepper – beat in 2 tbsp freshly chopped thyme leaves, 2 tsp lemon zest and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Great with grilled or oven-baked fish but also delicious stirred into hot cooked rice or dotted onto char-grilled vegetables.
- Basil and chilli – beat in 2-3tbsp shredded fresh basil leaves and 1 finely chopped de-seeded red chilli pepper. This butter livens up pasta and stir fries but also is perfect for sautéing tiger prawns or adding to steamed mussels.