Dishes often have more than two primary ingredients, but by playing with just a couple of ingredients and understanding their underlying subtleties, you can start to get more creative in the kitchen and have confidence in the final result before it’s even served, and have trust in your foodie instincts.
Here’s a few intriguing, and somewhat magical, combinations that simply must be tasted. Some simple recipes have been supplied, but try to use pairings to transform your own dishes.
1. Cumin & Carrot
Cumin seeds bring a touch of the Middle East to your table. Once crushed and roasted they release a wonderful nutty flavour. Their spiciness adds a delicate flavour to roast carrots, intensifying their natural sweetness. Throw in a splash of zesty orange to caramelise and mingle with the delicious spice and let the magic happen.
Roasted carrots with cumin
- Carrots with cumin and orange
- 400 g baby carrots, scrubbed
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme
- 1 small pinch cumin seeds
- Zest of 1 orange
- 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- Salt and pepper to season
You will also need an ovenproof casserole dish with a lid.
Wash the thyme stalks in hot water for 20 seconds. When cool enough to handle, strip the leaves off the stalk. In a food processor, whiz the thyme leaves, the cumin seeds and orange zest together with the butter.
Lay out a 30cm square piece of greaseproof paper on a work surface and scoop the butter on to the middle. Roll one edge up over the butter as if you were trying to fold the paper in half, and with your hands shape the butter into a cylinder shape as best you can. Wrap the butter up in the paper, twist the ends so the package looks like a Christmas cracker and place in the fridge to set.
2. Rosemary and Watermelon
Originally from the Mediterranean, rosemary’s bittersweet green leaves resemble pine needles, floral in taste intense and producing a fragrant aroma. It’s an obvious companion to goat’s cheese and lamb, but the floral notes allow it work well with sweet dishes and fruit too.
For a real summer vibe, try combining rosemary with watermelon. The soft sweet flesh of the watermelon has grassy, veggie undertones which pair nicely with the refreshing eucalyptus character of the herb. This Rosemary Watermelon Lemonade is perfect for lounging in the garden on a warm sunny day.
3. Feta Cheese and Mint
You can get a surprising range of flavours of goat’s cheese, from light and citric flavours to a strong full Billy Goat Gruff kick. Feta cheese has a distinctive tangy and salty flavour that ranges from mild to sharp.
It is extremely versatile and goes well with a plethora of foods! From the more expected beetroot, cucumber and olives to the slightly more daring like coffee, chocolate or raspberry.
For a delicious vegetarian treat at your summer picnic, why not mash feta, mint, chives, black pepper and fold into little filo pastries and bake! Delicious.
4. Bimi® Broccoli and...
We couldn’t finish this without mentioning our good friend Bimi® broccoli. A versatile vegetable, whose flavour pairs well with dishes from around the world as it has a predilection for salty ingredients; from blue cheese in British cooking, to soy sauce and black beans in China, Bimi® broccoli is a hard ingredient not to pair up!
However a few particularly good matches are peanut, bacon, anchovy and chilli.