Living at Elaleni Lifestyle Estate means you can grow all sorts of edible plants and herbs in your home garden. Fresh, home-grown herbs are great for adding flavour to your meals while also providing a burst of nutrients.

Here are our top 5 culinary herbs and some ideas on how you can add these to your meals.

Mint

Mint contains high amounts of vitamin A, Iron, and vitamin C, and is a great remedy for stomach issues such as indigestion and nausea. Incorporating mint into your diet is as easy as adding mint leaves to water for drinking, or even letting them infuse in hot water like a tea. Mint is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking, and you’ll even find mint in Middle Eastern breakfast dishes like this one –

  1. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and then toss in a pan with a touch of olive oil and smoked paprika. Once they are warmed and coated, tumble them onto a plate for serving.
  2. Take plain yoghurt of your choice (we find organic, preservative-free double-thick works best) and add chopped mint and grated cucumber and mix together. You can add salt and pepper to your preference. Once mixed, spoon the yoghurt mix over the warm chickpeas (aim for a ratio of 3 parts chickpeas to 1-part herbed yoghurt). Lightly dust the herbed yoghurt with some ground cumin.
  3. Soft poach your free-range Elaleni eggs and once ready, lay on top of the herbed yogurt and chickpeas. Finish off with a drizzle of chili oil and breakfast is ready!

Basil

Basil has powerful antioxidant properties thanks to flavonoids found in this herb. These flavonoids play an important role in protecting against cellular damage. Along with its antioxidant properties, basil is a great anti-bacterial and can aid in protecting against unwanted bacterial growth from harmful bacteria such as Listeria and Staphylococcus. Basil has long been associated with Italian cooking; however, this herb is not limited to savoury dishes. You can get creative and pair basil with sweet fruits like strawberry for a vibrant and healthy salad –

  1. Chop as many strawberries as you like and place in a salad bowl. Tear up as many basil leaves as you desire and sprinkle over the chopped strawberries.
  2. Depending on your preference, crumble feta or goat’s cheese (as much as you like) over the strawberries and basil.
  3. Drizzle the salad with a balsamic glaze. If you don’t have a balsamic glaze, heat ½ cup of balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons of honey on the stove until it reduces and thickens. Once it has thickened, allow it to cool and then drizzle over the salad.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is used widely in Eastern and Asian cooking. Lemongrass itself it very tough and does not work well for eating, it does however impart a wonderful fragrant flavour to foods, especially coconut milk-based dishes. The next time you make a Thai curry, why not use coconut milk infused with lemongrass? Here’s how:

  1. Peel and clean a stem of Lemongrass and set aside.
  2. Decant a can of coconut milk into a saucepan and set to a medium heat.
  3. Add the lemongrass stem to the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the coconut milk starts to bubble, turn the heat right down and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. Take the saucepan off the heat completely and let it cool.
  6. Once the coconut milk has cooled completely, remove the lemongrass and strain through a fine sieve.
  7. Pour the coconut milk into a glass jar and store in the fridge until needed.

Oregano

Oregano has both anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Its versatility means it can be used topically (on the skin) to treat things like toenail fungus, or ingested with water to aid in treating sinusitis, Candida, or yeast infections and even Bronchitis. From a culinary perspective, oregano can be used fresh or dried. You can dry oregano at home by tying bunches together with string and hanging them upside down in a warm, dry place. Once it has dried, store it in a re-purposed glass jar for future use. Oregano is a great addition to tomato-based dishes, like this antioxidant rich Italian tomato soup –

  1. Cut 5 medium Roma, or jam tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds. Peel and chop one large red onion into chunks. Peel and chop 4 cloves of garlic.
  2. Place chopped tomatoes, onion and garlic on a flat cookie sheet or a large roasting dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes, onion and garlic with black pepper and sea salt flakes.
  3. Roughly chop oregano and basil and sprinkle over the chopped vegetables. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables and mix until evenly coated.
  4. Roast in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius until the tomatoes begin to char a bit (don’t leave it too long!).
  5. Switch off the oven and transfer the roasted vegetable mix into a large pot on the stove top. Set the stove to a medium- low heat.
  6. Add about ¾ litre of water and a cube of stock (you can use vegetable or chicken, depending on your preference) and mix. Let the mix come to a boil them switch off.
  7. Once the mix has stopped boiling, either use a stick blender or a stand blender to blitz the soup until it is smooth (how smooth you like it is up to you).
  8. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with fresh oregano. Your soup is ready to enjoy!

Rosemary

Aside from being an excellent natural pesticide, rosemary is also a great herb to use in cooking, it is a hardy herb which takes well to high temperatures and roasting in the oven. Fragrant rosemary can be used to add a punch of flavour to earthy vegetables like potatoes. Why not try this simple potato salad at your next braai?

  1. Boil 1.3 kg of new potatoes in a pot of water . Add a tablespoon of salt to the water.
  2. Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain them and set aside in a wide dish to cool a bit.

To make the dressing you will need:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • Seasoning: salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

  1. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisking until oil and mustard are well incorporated.
  2. Pour dressing over warm potatoes and stir gently to coat. Taste and season with sea salt or kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy.

 

(original recipe from: https://thecafesucrefarine.com/)

Growing herbs in your home garden means you’ll be able to enjoy them any time. If you find you have an abundance of herbs and cannot use them fast enough, chop them up and mix with olive oil and then freeze into an ice cube tray. That way, whenever you need herbs you can simply remove one of the cubes to dissolve before adding to a dish. Elaleni Lifestyle Estate is an edible estate which means you’ll be able to enjoy fresh, organically grown produce, from the estate as you like. Take your nutrition to the next level by combining powerful homegrown herbs with estate produce which is grown free from pesticides and chemicals.