The Makrut lime (Citrus hystrix), Negro Nectarine or Mauritius papeda, is a citrus fruit native to tropical Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
The leaves and the fruit have an intense flavour and both are used for cooking traditional Indonesian dishes, and are now used by chefs around the world in a variety of dishes.
I find the flavour much better than lemon for fish, and a lime butter is absolutely delicious on prawns.
This week I stuffed trout with sliced limes, lime leaves (use young ones), garlic and lemon thyme. Grated carrots made an ideal bed for the fish to sit on while they poached in a cup of white wine. Covered with foil they took about 20 minutes to cook in an oven set at 200 F.
It can be used to replace lemon in most recipes and is also a great change to that slice of lemon in your water.
Health benefits of Makrut lime are improving digestion, detoxifying the blood, oral health and an immune booster. You can use it hot water as a rinse for hair or in a foot bath. ,Crushing a few leaves is a good insect repellent
Fresh Herbs are so simple to use and can really work some magic into your meal. Here are some of my favourite ways to use common herbs, but don’t be shy to try them in different ways.
In an ideal world we would all have fresh herbs in our gardens or in pots. No problem if you haven’t, most supermarkets stock fresh ones, washed and ready to use.
Basil – introduces a summer fragrance as well as flavour. It is divine added to a mix of roast baby tomatoes and boiled potatoes which have been coated in a decent olive oil. You can really use it in most dishes with tomato or cheese and its great with pasta.
Thyme – Another fragrant herb that goes well with so many foods. Use common thyme with red meats, root vegetables and soups. Try lemon thyme with fish, chicken or steamed veggies. An easy recipe is to steam broccoli with a few sprigs of lemon thyme. When its cooked top with some finely chopped lemon thyme mixed with grated parmesan.
Parsley – Possibly the most essential and versatile herb of all. To make an easy sauce simply melt some butter and add chopped parsley. Use it with veggies, grilled chicken or fish.
Sage – This herb has a strong, salty flavour, so use sparingly. Chopped it goes well with pork, some beef dishes, potatoes and is delicious with butternut.
Coriander – the herb you either love or hate – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground! Excellent with most curries and spicy dishes. Try chopping it finely and mixing with natural yoghurt, use a dollop on top of your curry and taste the difference
Mint – There are several types of mint to try. My favourites are spearmint or pineapple mint for sweeter dishes, punches and cocktails. Peppermint, indigenous mint or garden mint for savoury dishes. And then there is Eau de Cologne mint which is dreadful in anything!!
Aniseed – Here I mean the fresh leaves and flowers. Absolutely lovely with fruit or sparkling water. I also enjoy it with egg salad.
Rosemary – I only really add rosemary to rich red meats like lamb, beef or game. I find it too strong with anything else. Use sparingly!
Chives – Another herb that will compliment most meals. My absolute favourite is scrambled eggs (made with cream), finely chopped chives and smoked salmon served on whole-wheat bread