Saturday, 16 February 2013

A Year of Flavour with Herbs & Spices : February

Another month, another chapter to discover in Schwartz's little A Year of Flavour with Herbs & Spices book. I love their "Add a little, change a lot" concept and discovering all the new ways of using herbs and spices.

They say : "With Valentine's Day, Pancake Day and Chinese New Year, February is a month for celebratory food to share with loved ones. Whether it's dishing up a romantic dinner for two or finding a mouthwatering oriental recipe to see in the Chinese New Year, our February hints and tips illustrate how to use a range of herbs, spices and recipe mixes."

Hints & Tips

-Treat your loved one to a sweet and spicy breakfast : heat honey, add ground ginger and drizzle over hot toast.

- Pep up your pasta with a little Perfect Shake Garlic Italian stirred into a simple tomato pasta sauce. (You can see our review of this one here.)

- Grate whole nutmeg into spinach, mushrooms or sweet potato to make your Valentine's vegetables extra special.

- For an oriental flavour, lightly sprinkly scallops with Perfect Shake Chinese Five Spice before frying.

- Start your Chinese New Year dinner with prawn toast. Sprinkle sesame seeds over slices of bread topped with mashed prawns and shallow fry.

- Prepare a classic French style dish using Schwartz Chicken Chasseur Recipe mix and relax while the rich mix of tomatoes, herbs and wine simmers gently in the oven.

- Make a Chinese-style pork marinade by combining 2 Star Anises with 4tbs soy sauce and a pinch of ground Cinnamon, 2 tsp sugar and 2 tbs dry sherry. Pour over 4 pork loin steaks, cover and allow to marinate for 30 mins or overnight in the fridge.

- For a romantic surprise, spice up chocolate fondue by adding crushed Chillies and ground Cinnamon.

- For a quick but luxurious Easy Butter Toffee Sauce to accompany many desserts, place 100g butter and 100g sugar in a saucepan on a medium heat. Stir until it turns a deep yellow colour. In a separate saucepan, gently heat 125ml cream and a vanilla pod for 2 mins. Stir the cream mixture into the butter and sugar, whisking constantly until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.


Roasted duck breast with rhubarb and cherries in an orange and wine sauce enlivened with Ginger


4 duck breasts, skin on
4 tbs honey
125g (5oz) rhubarb, finely chopped
50g (2oz) dried cherries
1 tbs Schwartz Ginger Ground
300ml (½ pint) orange juice
300ml (½ pint) rosé wine


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.

Heat a frying pan, add the duck breasts, skin side down and fry until the skin is crisp. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, skin side up, keeping the pan and the fat for later.

Pour 2 tbs of the honey over the duck and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.

Remove the duck from the oven, reserving the juices from the duck, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the rhubarb, dried cherries and Ginger to the frying pan that you used to cook the duck and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Pour the orange juice and rosé wine into the frying pan and bring to the boil for about 10 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce. Add the juices from the duck and the remaining honey, and bring back to the boil. Reduce to a sauce consistency, then return the rhubarb and cherries back to the pan for 1 minute.

Serve the cooked duck with the rhubarb, cherries and sauce.

For more information and recipe ideas :

Disclosure : I received a box of Schwartz herbs and spices, along with their A Year of Flavour book, in order to write honest reviews.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

A Year of Flavour with Herbs & Spices : January

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