Friday, 18 July 2008

WHB - The Party Goes Herbal

In continuing with my pub fare theme from yesterday, I have decided to highlight how you can use herbs from your garden to make simple pub fare more exotic and healthy while costing less.

Minted cocktails - all you need is a long glass (Collins), a muddler, lots of mint and a refreshing cocktail recipe. If you haven't used a muddler before, it is just a small baton used for bruising mint and other herbs in the bottom of your glass. This bruising brings out the essential oils that give great flavour to your cocktails. If you do not have a muddler, a wooden spoon will do.

Minted Gin Collins - adapted from LCBO Food and Drink

2 oz gin
20-30 mint leaves
1 1/2 oz simple syrup*
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
4 - 5 oz soda water
sprig of mint
wheel of lemon

1. To a highball glass, add torn mint leaves, and simple syrup.
2. Muddle or mash thoroughly.
3. Fill the glass with ice and add gin and fresh lemon juice.
4. Top with soda and stir.
5. Garnish with a large sprig of mint
*Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated in a pot until sugar is dissolved, and cooled. Keep in refrigerator in a sealed jar.


Everyone loves cocktail nuts but let's face it - they are expensive, fattening and filled with goodness knows how much salt, sugar and chemical based flavourings.

I take simple soy nuts from the bulk store (plain) and dress them up myself with herbs from my own garden. Feel free to adjust the seasonings for your own taste.

Herb Roasted Soy Nuts
Makes 1½ cups

1 ½ cups plain soy nuts
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp kosher salt (or a nice coarse sea salt, not table salt)
Fresh ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread soy nuts out on small baking tray to make 1 even layer if possible.
Drizzle with a little olive oil, about 2 tbsp.
Toss with herbs, kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Roast in oven 10 minutes.
Allow to cool.
For tips on drying herbs, look to my previous post here.

These will be more impressive to your guests than anything you can get out of a can or jar and you won't have to feel guilty for eating them!

Weekend Herb Blogging is a weekly event created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, her site provides an abundance of healthy dishes to delight the senses.

This weekend's Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted Archana from Archana's Kitchen. Check out her site for some beautiful Indian and international cooking. Click here for the round-up.

Ok, this has nothing to do with herbs but, how cute is it that Bella is reading my Ruth Reichl book? Ok, give it back now, mommy's reading that. Please?