Herbie fully loaded: kitchen herb garden essentials

Even if you have a rack full of dried herbs and spices, nothing quite compares to the flavour fresh herbs add to a dish. In fact, we’d go as far to say that you can pretty much away with your rack of herbs, and replace them with these five fresh herbs instead.

Mint:aside from being a great addition to lamb and peas, mint is also great added to tabouli, paired with Asian herbs such as holy basil and Vietnamese mint to create a zippy Thai salad. It is wonderful rolled up and very finely sliced on melon or pineapple. You can even make a tomato sauce for pasta that pairs fresh mint with lemon and loads of feta for a very different impact from the usual Italian flavours.

Parsley:continental parsley is the everyday herb. You should try and use it as much for colour and freshness as flavour to finish servings of everything from soup to casseroles. You can chop it up and stir through mashed potato or mince for hamburgers or meatballs. It can bulk up a pesto and has a wonderful friendship with fish, seafood such as mussels, garlic and lemon zest. Curly parsley is the devil and should never be used unless you are arranging raw meat in a butcher’s window. It is tickly and continental parsley has a nicer, stronger flavour.

Basil: is the BFF of tomatoes and the core ingredient (along with parmesan, pine nuts and garlic) of pesto. But why not try it with pink salmon for a change – or if you are feeling really radical, very finely sliced on strawberries.

Coriander: it’s a fixture in Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Thai dishes, but why not try some stirred through your next batch of mushrooms on toast for a bit of a departure from the norm?

Chives: can happily tread anywhere that spring onions go – snipped and sprinkled on boiled or baked potatoes, potato salad, omelets or a melted cheese toasty, or garnishing soups or casseroles. It’s great to add a gentle oniony bite to vinaigrettes or mix finely chopped chives with Greek yoghurt and salt to make a salad dressing.