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Five Ways To Put Fresh Bay Leaves To Work In The Kitchen

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If you’ve spent more than a little time in the kitchen, you know that bay leaves are handy to have around. They give Italian cuisine its kick, and a fresh bay leaf is a vital part of a Bloody Mary.

If you have access to fresh bay leaves though, (say you have a bay tree in your backyard) there are plenty of other ways to take full advantage of your bounty. Below you’ll find five outstanding bay recipes that will let you get the most out of your resources.

Hearty Bay Porridge

Do you want to get your day rolling with something a little more memorable than instant oatmeal? Make full use of your bay supply with this thick, yummy bay leaf porridge.

  • Oatmeal, medium consistency – 240 ml
  • Water – 475 ml
  • Milk, one percent – 120 ml
  • Cinammon – bark, one piece
  • Cardamom – seed pods, one each
  • Bay leaf – one each
  • Eggs – two, large-sized
  • Lemon – one fruit, cut into wedges
  • Smoked haddock – 200 g
  • Sea salt – one pinch
  • Black pepper – to taste

The best way to prepare your oatmeal is to use a bain marie. If you don’t have one in the kitchen, an effective alternative is to put a pot of water on the stove and place a heat-resistant bowl inside it. Add your oatmeal and let it cook for seven minutes, stirring frequently. Next, combine your spices. Place the cinnamon, cardamom seeds and the bay leaf in a scrap of muslin and tie them up in a bundle. Add this to your oatmeal. Add the milk and the black pepper (if desired) at the same time and mix it all together. It will need another three minutes’ cooking time. Poach the haddock while the oatmeal’s cooking. Whisk the eggs briskly and add them to the oatmeal. Continue to cook until it gets very thick. Once the consistency suits your taste, remove it from the stove and pull out your sachet of spices. The oatmeal is ready for serving. Add your haddock by flaking it over the oatmeal bowl and add in as many lemon wedges as you want.

Fresh Bay Tea

The smell of tea is nearly as important as its flavour, so you’d be right to think that tea made with bay leaves is something special. Simply catching a whiff of this delicious tea is enough to sooth and relax you. Whipping up your own fresh bay tea couldn’t be simpler. Here’s everything you need to make two cups:

  • Water – 475 ml
  • Bay leaves – 3 each
  • Milk / sugar – as you prefer

Simply add the leaves to the water and set the pot on the stove. Let the tea reach the boil and keep it there for roughly 3 minutes. Your tea should steep for about four minutes more. Strain the bay leaves and use milk and sugar as you prefer.

Baked Bay Potatoes

Potatoes make a fine staple food, but adding a little seasoning will stop them from getting boring.  Incorporating bay into your baked potatoes is incredibly easy. Here’s the ingredient list:

  • Potatoes – 4 each, suitable for baking
  • Bay leaves – 4 each
  • Sea salt – coarse, 500 g
  • Butter – to taste

Preheat the oven to the normal temperature you would bake a potato in.  Cut the potatoes down the long axis and open them fairly wide without splitting them.  Add a single leaf to each potato.  Prepare the baking dish by spreading sea salt over the base then adding the potatoes, cuts facing upwards, into the dish.  Place them in the oven and let them bake until the insides are soft and the outsides are crispy – this will usually take about 1-1.5 hours.  Serve with butter.

Bay Ice Cream

Moving into the dessert section is where bay leaves really shine. Here’s an outstanding recipe for home-made bay leaf ice cream that’s sure to impress your family and your guests. The necessary ingredients are as follows:

  • Milk – 1000 g
  • Cream – 1000 g
  • Salt – 3 g
  • Dextrose (powdered) – 225 g
  • Sugar – 150 g
  • Glucose (powdered) – 82.5 g
  • Ice cream stabilizer – 10 g
  • Bay leaves – to taste

Equipment:

  • Chinoise
  • Ice cream maker

Start by mixing together the cream and the milk. Cold-infuse your bay leaves at this time. The mix should sit for at least a day in order to get the maximum amount of flavor from the bay leaves. Strain the leaves out once the mix is ready and start heating it. Whisk in the dry ingredients (glucose, dextrose and sugar) at the same time. The stabilizer should go in last. Put the mix through the chinoise and then add to the ice cream maker.

Savillum

For a really exotic bay based dessert, try this ancient recipe for bay cheesecake that’s been delighting taste buds since the days of Imperial Rome. For such a rich, delicious dessert, this recipe is surprisingly low in fat. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Bay leaves – 15 each
  • Flour, all-purpose – 120 ml
  • Ricotta – 230 g
  • Eggs – 3
  • Honey – 120 ml
  • Lemon juice – 5 ml
  • Orange zest, grated – 5 ml

Preheat oven to 225 C. Fill an oven-proof bowl with water and put it inside. Beat your eggs in a mixing bowl prior to adding the lemon juice, orange zest, ricotta and honey. Add the flour to the mix next, making sure to stir to ensure an even consistency. Lay your bay leaves in the bottom of a springfoam pie pan. Pour your batter over them smoothly. Pop the cake into the oven until it turns a golden brown. (This usually takes 30-45 minutes). Savillum can be served hot or cold according to your taste. http://www.healthagingtoday.org

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