A bush of garden thyme will be a good friend to any cook, as it provides fresh leaves all the year round. It has a really strong, warm resinous flavour and needs to be used sparingly if it is not to overpower other tastes.

A teaspoonful of chopped thyme added to a salad dressing is a good idea, and I use little branches of thyme in my stocks and casseroles – and always add some to beef stews. As it is a herb that dries well, it's useful for flat dwellers and non-gardeners.

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