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Cooking with Herbs

some of these recipes are based on starch, grain and cereals, so strict vegetarians may substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock.  Herbs bring out flavours, and give a dish a focal point.  Enjoy trying these few recipes displayed here.
HERB QUICHE (pictured top right)
350 g or 12 oz or 3/4 lb short pastry (pie dough) made with 225g or 8 oz or 2 cups flour,
1 egg yolk.
100g or 4 oz or 1/4 lb sorrel,  100g or 4 oz or 1/4 lb spinach,
50g or 2 oz or 1/4 lb spinach, 1 bunch watercress,
4 tabs chopped mixed herbs - tarragon, chervil, burnet and dill
2 eggs
450 ml or 3/4 pt or 2 cups thin/light cream
sea salt and black pepper
50g or 2 oz or 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Line a 23-25 cm or 9 - 10 inch flan tin (pie pan) with pastry.  Weigh down with foil and pastry trimmings and bake for 10 minutes in moderately hot oven (200C or 400F or Gas Mark 6).  Remove foil and trimmings, brush the pastry all voer with beaten egg yolk and put back in oven for further 5 minutes.  Take out and cool.
Wash and drain sorrel, spinach, parsley and watercress.  Put in large pan of boiling water and boil for 4 minutes.  Drain well, pressing out moisture with back of wooden spoon. When greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze out liquid between your hands.
Chop drained greens and add mixed herbsto them.  Beat eggs in bowl, add cream and beat till blended, adding salt and pepper to taste and most of the grated Parmesan cheese, reserving a little to scatter over the top.
Mix egg mixture with chopped greenstuffs and pour into pastry case (pie shell).   Scatter reserved cheese over top and bake for 30 minutes in a moderate oven (180C or 350F or Gas Mark 4).  Serve immediately.
MUSHROOMS in Pastry Cases (pictured bottom on above photo)
350 g or 12 oz or 3/4 lb short pastry (pie dough) made with 225g or 8 oz or 2 cups flour,   450 g or 1 lb flat mushrooms,  50 g or 2 oz or 1/4 cup butter,
1/2 tab. flour,   200 ml or 1/3 pt or 7/8 cup of stock (chicken or vegetable),
6 tabs sout cream,  salt and pepper to taste,  1/2 tab each of chopped parsley, chives and tarragon, 1 egg yolk.

Chill pastry for 30 minutes before using.  Roll out thinly and line 4 small tin moulds.
Lay a small piece of greased foil in each one with a few pastry trimmings on it.  Bake for 10 minutes, in moderately hot oven (190C or 375F or Gas Mark 5).  Remove foil and pastry and put pans back in oven for further 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Wipe mushrooms with clean damp cloth and cut off stalks.  Slice caps.  Melt 40 g or 1 1/2 oz or 3 tabs butter in a covered pan.  Cook mushroom caps gently, stirring once or twice.  When soft, drain off juice and remove the pan from heat.  Melt remaining butter in a saucepan, and stir in flour.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time.  Add heated stock and sour cream and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
Add salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste, then mix in drained mshrooms.  Reheat mixture and stir in herbs.
Brush pastry cases all over with beaten egg yolk and bake them for further 5 minutes in a moderately hot oven (190C or 374F or Gas Mark 5).  Remove them from oven, fill with hot mushroom mixture and serve immediately.
100 g or 4 oz or 1/2 cup long grain rice,  salt and pepper to taste,
3 tab olive oil,  2 teas white wine vinegar,  squeeze lemon juice,
2 tab each of chopped parsley and chives,  1 tab. each of chopped drill and tarragon

Cook the rice in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender; drain well.  While rice is still hot, stir in some sea salt and black pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.  When rice is cooled, stir in chopped herbs.  This can be served with cold fish dishes, cold meat and hard-boiled eggs, as well as other vegetarian dishes.
GREEN PANCAKES with Cream Cheese.
100 g or 4 oz or 1/4 lb sorrel or spinach,
100 g or 4 oz or 1 cup all purpose (plain) flour,
1 egg,   pinch salt,   lard for frying,
150 ml or 1/4 pt or 2/3 cup milk
450g or 1lb or 2 cups cream cheese,   salt and pepper,
4 tab. chopped chives.

Wash and drain sorrel and push leaves through juice extractor; you should get about 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) juice. 
Sift flour into bowl with salt.  Beat egg and milk, then sorrel juice.  Allow the batter to stand for a little before using.  Season the cream cheese with salt and pepper, and
Green Pancakes with cream cheese,
and Herb Gnocchi
mix in chopped chives.  Melt a little lard in frying pan and use batter to make 8 small pancakes.  Put about 2 tabs. of cheese filling in each pancake and roll them up.
225 g or 8oz or 1/2 lb spinach,   100g or 4 oz or 1/4 lb sorrel,  1 bunch watercress,
1 tab. each of chopped chervil, tarragon, and dill,   25 g or 1 oz or 2 tabs. butter,
175 g or 6 oz  ricottacheese,  salt and pepper to taste,  2 eggs,  2 1/2 tabs flour,
75 g or 3 oz or 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese,  melted butter to serve (optional).

Start the day before.  Wash and drain spinach, sorrel, watercress and parsley.  Throw them into a large pan of boiling water and boil for 4 minutes, then drain.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze as much moisture as possible in hands, then chop finely, by hand or in food processor.
Add chopped herbs and stir the puree in a saucepan over a low heat for several minutes, to dry out.
Cut the butter in small bits, beat ricotta cheese to a smooth consistency, and add to puree with salt and pepper.  Stir in 1/3 of Parmesan cheese.  Take the pan off heat.
Beat the eggs, and stir them into mixture.  Finally, stir in sifted flour and beat until smooth.  Pour into shallow dish and leave to cool.  Place in fridge uncovered; and leave overnight.  (can be left for up to 2 days).
After chilling, the mixture should have become firm enough to handle.  If too moist add a little extra flour.
Have a large pan of lightly salted water on the boil, and form the green mixture into egg-shaped gnocchi,  using 2 teasp. and rolling them very lightly on floured board.  Drop them in batches into pan; do not crowd.
When they float to surface, after 4 to 5m inutes, lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on a cloth.  Test one to make sure
they are cooked through, then transfer to a hot serving dish while you cook the others.  Sprinkle the gnocchi with a little Parmesan cheese and serve with a bowl of the remaining Parmesan on the table and a small container of melted butter, if liked.
NOODLES with Marrow and Dill
450 g or 1 lb vegetable marrow , summer squash, or courgettes (zucchini);
50 g or 2 oz or 1/4 cup butter,
sea salt and black pepper,
2 tabs chopped dill,
350 g or 12 oz or 3/4 lb noodles.

Peel marrow (or squash etc).  Discard seeds and soft interior is using squash but keep if using courgettes.
Cut flesh into small cubes.  Heat butter in saueepan, and cook gently till jsut tender, but still crisp, without allowing butter to burn.  Add seasoning and stir in dill.  Leave to stand, covered, while you boil the noodles.
Drain well and return them to pan.  Reheat gently, and stir in marrow with its juice.   Serve immediately.
This is part of a Cooking with Herbs  series, so be sure to check out other sections.
Series begun July 2000
revamped 3 January 2004