Bay is from the same botanical family as laurel but, unlike laurel, its leaves are not poisonous; bay leaves should be dried to develop their full flavour; bay leaves scattered in a pantry will repel meal moths.
Bay trees, with their glossy green leaves, can be quite prolific. I have one about 2 feet (60 cm) high, which gives me all the bay leaves I need. Fresh bay leaves, however, can impart a slightly bitter flavour, so this is a herb which is far better used dried. To dry them is easy: just hang a branch in an airy spot and the leaves will dry in a couple of weeks.They are used probably more than any other herb, to flavour stocks, sauces, casseroles and marinades. One idea you might like to try is to place a bay leaf in about 2 inches (5 cm) of boiling water, add some salt, then sit a whole prepared cauliflower in the water to cook with the lid tightly closed. When it’s tender (about 10 minutes), drain, melt some butter over the cauliflower and sprinkle on a little nutmeg.
This is a lovely spicy salad with Moroccan overtones – perfect for a buffet lunch, party or serving with cold cuts and spicy chutneys.
I've always loved the fragrant flavour of spiced pilau rice, and could easily eat it just on its own, adding nuts to give it some crunch. However, it's also an excellent accompaniment to any spiced or curried dish.
The amount given here will be enough for 6 people with a curry comprising several dishes, but if it's to be served with just one dish, the pilau will serve four. For what's commonly known as pilau rice, you simply follow this recipe, omitting the her
Black-eyed beans are the lovely nutty beans that are popular in recipes from the deep south of America and, with the addition of other vegetables, they make very good beancakes.
Fresh stocks are now available in tubs from supermarkets, but if you need a large quantity these can be expensive. Powdered, gluten-free vegetable stock, made by Marigold, is widely available – an excellent storecupboard standby.