Welcome to the LWTM – ‘Cooking with herbs’ blog series
In this blog series you will find historical information and recipes about the most commonly used kitchen herbs. They do not only add flavour, but they also make a positive impact on our health and well-being. To find out more about other kitchen herbs, please type ‘cooking with herbs’ into the search box.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
History: Chives are part of the leek family and related to onions and garlic. It has been grown in Europe for over 2000 years. The Ancient Greeks already used in in cooking and the Romans said to have used it to relieve sunburn, sore throat and to regulate blood pressure.
In Romania people hung bunches of chives from window sills and doors to ward off evil spirits and disease. Nowadays this tradition is still alive is still in popular culture where in films garlic is used to fight off vampires.
Chives contain essential oils that stimulate the digestion and help with the elimination process.
How to grow and use it: Chives are very easy to grow and can be cultivated in a small pot on a reasonably sunny window sill. It grows to about 30-45cm tall (12-20 inches). The stems are tubular and hollow and it is these that are mostly used in the kitchen. Chives produce pale purple flowers which attract bees, but interestingly due to its sulphur content is helps to keep most other insects out.
In the kitchen chives are used as seasoning in salad dressing and sauces or the raw herb can be chopped and sprinkled on cooked vegetables, especially potatoes and as topping on bread spreads.
Cream sauce with chives
This sauce works well as a compliment to steaks and fish dishes.
Ingredients: 2 pieces of white bread (crust removed), 250ml milk, 2 eggs (hard-boiled), 250ml creme fraiche or Greek Yoghurt, 100ml sunflower or rapeseed oil, 3 tbsp of chopped chives, salt & pepper
- Boil the eggs until hard-boiled
- Then put all the ingredients (except the chopped chives and seasoning) into a blender or food processor and mix until you get the consistency of a thick sauce
- Finally add the chopped chives and salt and pepper and serve cold.
Salad with chive & yoghurt dressing
Ingredients: For the salad (you can vary these according to your taste) : a small lettuce (washed), 1/2 cucumber (sliced), a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 red/yellow or green pepper (cut into strips)
For the dressing: 250ml 1 % yoghurt, 2 tbsp creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey, a bunch of fresh chives (chopped), salt and pepper to season.
- Prepare the salad in a big bowl
- put all the ingredients for the dressing into one small bowl, mix together, season with salt and pepper and add to the salad just before serving.