Monday, 27 May 2013

Herbs - Rosemary

Hi peeps!

Another LOUD HAPpY BirTHDAy to Anschke Wessels; another beautifully nutty cousin of mine. I hope you have a great day, hun! Miss you LOTS and have an AWEsoMe DaY!!! ♡

Todays topic is about herbs. No dish is complete without the use of complimentary herbs and spices; not to mention; the medicinal properties they contain. Let's take a look at some quick info on herbs: (fresh-herbs.com)

Did you know that...

Fresh herbs contain more antioxidants – substances that fight cancer and heart disease – than some fruit and vegetables

Rosemary is rich in antioxidants which help to maintain vitality & slow the ageing process

The Romans believed that the consumption of mint would increase their intelligence and the smell of mint in their houses was also a symbol of hospitality

Growing a pot of basil in the kitchen may smell good to us but it doesn’t to nuisance flies and mosquitoes who are repelled by the aroma

Mint leaves or oil deters ants and so a few scattered leaves in your cupboards can prove a useful, natural solution

Fresh herbs aid the digestion of food – especially fat - and help with the elimination of toxins from the body

Chives have a beneficial effect on the circulatory system, lowering blood pressure

Dill is effective for the treatment of colic, gas and indigestion

A Royal Herb-Strewer was a popular profession in England in the days before proper drainage and medicines were the norm. Back then, herbs were used for their deodorising and healing properties. A herb strewer’s primary duty was to distribute herbs and flowers throughout the royal apartments in order to mask the rather unpleasant aromas of the city

Today we use the majority of the traditional ‘strewing’ herbs to make scented sachets to deter moths, for pot pourri to sweeten the room and a variety of other aromatic uses

Herbal seeds have been found in pre-historic cave dwellings dating back as far as 500,000 years ago. Our ancestors have always used herbs in cooking and health remedies

The discovery of America is linked to Western civilisation’s search for easier access to rare spices and herbs. Columbus was, in fact, hoping to open trade routes for these substances when he blundered into the West Indies and the Age of Exploration unveiled the New World

The Egyptians studied herbs and used them in medicinal and religious functions as far back as 3500 B.C. The Chinese began the organised study of herbs in 2500 B.C. Written records in China have survived enumerating the uses of herbs that date from 100 B.C.

Dill was once an important herb in witchcraft, and a purported aphrodisiac, it has a distinctive sour flavour that makes an interesting and sometimes unexpected statement in cooking. The leaves, seeds and flowers of the plant can all be used

Parsley is a natural breath freshener, particularly in combating the potency of garlic

Ancient records reveal recipes for herb infused oils and creams in the tombs of legendary beauties such as Cleopatra

Pretty cool, right?! Most of the time herbs are also noted for adding flavours to certain dishes such as Rosemary for red meat (although added to a chicken mayo sandwich its awesome too!); Fennel for fish and basil for tomato dishes. Here is an awesome recipe made with Rosemary:

Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Lamb Chops by Chef John from San Francisco

Ingredients:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 large lemon, juiced and rind grated
1 tablespoon chile paste
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 lamb loin chops

Directions

Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, chile paste, garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt, black pepper, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Transfer into a resealable plastic bag. Add the lamb chops, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate.

Remove lamb chops from from marinade and scrape off excess. Discard used marinade. Season chops with salt and black pepper. Place on the preheated grill and cook until browned and medium rare on the inside, 3 to 4 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C).

Rosemary also has amazing medicinal properties:
Medicinal Uses: Rosemary stimulates the central nervous system and circulation making it beneficial for low blood pressure and sluggishness. Rosemary oil and rosemary essential oil are used to alleviate the pain of sprains, arthritis, sciatica and neuralgia.

Rosemary for memory, concentration and focus. Rosemary has a long herbal tradition as a herb that improves concentration and memory, Greek students would braid Rosemary into their hair to help them with their exams. Modern science attributes much of rosemary's action on the central nervous system to it's potent antioxidant, rosmarinic acid. However, you don't have to take their word for it, the uplifting aroma of a fresh sprig of rosemary in the summer will go far to convince you.

Rosemary for beautiful skin and hair: Rosemary is one of best hair tonics available, whether you are worried about hair loss, or just want healthy, happy hair, rosemary extracts used in shampoos and herbal hair rinses will work wonders. A few drops of the essential oil can be applied directly to the scalp or hair brush to restore dry, flyaway hair and make it shine. Rosemary essential oil stimulates hair follicles and circulation in the scalp, which may help prevent premature baldness. Use rosemary on a continuing basis for a healthy scalp that encourages healthy hair growth and slows hair loss. Hoffman 177 Rosemary extract (rosmarinic acid) is a natural way to stabilize and extend the shelf life of hand made cosmetics, creams, lotions, and other herbal compounds. Use rosemary in skin care to tone and soften skin.

How to Use Rosemary Oil Rosemary infused oil and rosemary essential oil are both used in massage oil formulations to relieve the pain of arthritis and of sore aching muscles. Rosemary used as a massage oil also helps to tone the circulatory system. Antioxidant compounds in rosemary prevent uterine spasms and menstrual cramps. Rosemary essential oil helps alleviate water retention and increases circulation when used in massage blends.

Cooking with Rosemary. Unlike milder herbs, rosemary can withstand longer cooking times, and lends itself well to roasted meats, chicken and hearty stews. A few teaspoons of chopped rosemary lends a tangy taste to biscuits as well. Rosemary vinegars are an excellent and healthy way to dress cold vegetables and salads.

Rosemary is such an extremely useful herb, with so many culinary, medicinal and aromatherapy attributes that it deserves a treasured place in your home. Even the twigs, stripped of their leaves find use as kindling and as a aromatic addition to barbecue fires. (Extracted from anniesremedy.com)

And that's all the info for today! Hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I did! Once again; happy birthday, Anschke! Have a kick-ass day girl!

Keeping it fresh
Chef Shants xxxxx

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