Thursday, 21 August 2008

Cooking with Mint

Peppermint has a stronger taste than spearmint, so if you are planning on using these in recipes you should have this in mind. The common garden spearmint goes well with savoury dishes. This is what you would usually find in supermarkets. Peppermint is used extensively in sweet recipes to it's strong flavour.

Oil of Mint can be substituted instead of mint extract but need to use 25% - 50% of the volume given for the extract.

Dried mint is a good standby but is best used in cooking that involve longer cooking times such as stews, soups and meat and poultry dishes. Freeze dried mint is a bit different as it can be used in most dishes as it retains it's moisture once defrosted. Used with omelets, sauces and dressings you will have no problem as it doesn't require cooking. The general rule of 1 tablespoon fresh mint to 1 teaspoon dried mint goes here. See Dried herbs.

Recipes with mint in come from all over the world India with its chutneys, England with her good old mint sauce and jelly, (invented by the Romans.) North Africa/Middle East extensively used with rice and other grains cereals.

In Greece, Turkey and the Balkans States mint is used in stuffed vine leaves. Further east we find mint in the Vietnam the dish, 'Pho', this is their national dish Moving on to another continent, the South Americas have mint in their salsa dishes. Mint is indeed an International herb.

Cooking mint with vegetables and imposing the mint flavour just send the taste up a league or two. Minted peas or minted new potatoes are a classic example of a bland vegetable transforming into a wonderful meal.

Meats such as lamb, poultry and fish dishes excel with the addition of mint.

Then there are the deserts which again make some thing good into something special with its' inclusion, mint and chocolate is a classic example.

There are thousands of recipes which include mint and I have selected a very simple Mint and Pea Soup for you to try out.

Mint and Pea Soup

Serves 4
Time 25 min

Ingredients :
1kg fresh or frozen peas
12 mint leaves
1/2 litre chicken stock
200ml cream
Salt and Pepper (Freshly ground)

Bring the stock to the boil and put the peas in with 2 tsp of salt. Bring back to the boil for three minutes.

Strain off the juice and keep to one side. Cool the peas down under some cold running water then add the mint leaves, cream and half the stock.

Ladle into bowls, season with an garnish with couple more mint leaves.

You may wish to browse a few site I have looked up that have some fantastic dishes you might want to have a go at. - A wide range of mouth-watering recipes here - An Australian based site with more recipes than you'll ever need - Another 180 delicious recipes here.

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