Making it a December to remember - a gift of seasonings in tune to the season with a recipe for herbed salts


I'm not a sweets person, despite what this blog might have led you to believe. My weakness, my delight, my love is for savoury dishes. And bread, but that has been amply discussed here, and I shan't bore you with yet another ode to bread, not this time - doesn't mean I'm not planning a bread post for the after Christmas, already! But the truth is, I prefer savoury nibbles to sweets. I like the salty and the herby and the spicy much more than I like the sugary.


If you present me with a choice between a slice of cake or a wedge of cheese, I'm gonna grab that cheese. If you tempt me with a bowl of olives and a bowl of sweets, those olives are gonna go down a treat. If you have me over for a cup of tea and spread a table with cupcakes and mini quiches, guess which ones I'm having? The mini quiche, yep, you guessed it. I go for savoury rather than sweet, I'm tart like that! (see what I did there? No? Yeah? Oh well, nevermind, then.)


And because I go for savoury rather than sweet, I love seasonings. I mean I reaaaaaally love seasonings. I'm always searching for new flavours, new combos, new herbs and spices. Though my favourite ever seasoning is the humble rosemary (we even have a traditional song about it, here in Portugal, so I'm guessing it's no wonder how much I love it!!), I do love the variety in my spice cupboard and the fact that I can just go and mix up whatever I want, to create new depths of taste, of scent. Especially on my roasts, I love coming up with new mixes.


So one of the things I like to gift friends and family is a batch of my very own mixed herbs and spices. I did some last year that were a huge success - and recipe will be coming soon! - both sweet and savoury, and this year I wanted to take it even further, so I started planning my mixes ahead, testing several combos, going for different combinations, to come up with two that are really rather good, and really rather versatile. One is for fish, the other for meat. I always start with a salt base, I call these my seasoning salts, and because it has a salt base, the various flavours do not become overpowering when you're seasoning your food: you cannot go heavy handed on the salt!


So this is my fish mix.  The ingredients you need are:

  • sea salt
  • lemon zest
  • pepper mix - rose, green, black, allspice  - ground
  • dill
I usually use dried herbs, but feel free to go for the fresh ones. So, for this batch you need to start by pouring some salt into a bowl, and then add the zest of half a lemon - depending on the quantity you're making, use your judgement! - a small handful of either dried or fresh dill, and a good smattering of the ground peppercorns. With a clean and dry spoon, mix it all up together and then transfer into vials that can be stoppered. The longer they infuse, the better they will taste. Make sure you add a label, specifying that it's either for fish or meat, and then all you have to do is wrap it up nicely or add it to a pretty hamper!


The meat mix is quite good for roasts, and it will go well with lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It can also be used to add some depth to a stew or to season steaks or chops. You'll need:

  • sea salt
  • rosemary
  • dried chilli flakes
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • sage
  • fenugreek
  • smoked paprika
The method is pretty much the same as above, you start by pouring your salt into a bowl, adding first the fenugreek and paprika, giving it a good stir, then adding the chilli and giving it another good stir, and finally adding the herbs - either fresh or dried! - using your judgement when it comes to quantity. The salt must always be 3 to one, so let this guide you, and if there's one herb you know is favoured by the recipient of the mix, add a little bit more of this one, so the flavours will sing. You can make your own combinations, for different things altogether, I have made some for pasta, some for cottage pie, some for pies and quiches. Let your imagination and tastebuds run free, and let me know what you came up with!



Comments

  1. The pictures are great! I love your blog:)

    irenethayer.com

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  2. adoráveis estes frasquinhos e as fotos ficaram encantadoras, pure charm, babe!

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    1. confesso q estas foram tiradas um bocado ás pressas e ás três pancadas, já estava a escurecer e tudo!! Mas n correu mal, felizmente

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  3. aaah que ideia GIRA!!!! Sua Jamia Oliveraaa :) devias fazer p bolos tb!!!!!! Mesmoooo, tipo um mix d canela, gengibre... HUM HUM

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    1. Pá, mulher! Acreditas que tal nem sequer me tinha passado pela cabeça, e no entanto é uma filha da mãe de uma excelente ideia??? Natal de 2016 já em preeeeeendaaaas!!! Merci!!

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