Q: What is a bouquet garni?

While the cold and wet weather has impacted on some fruit and vegetables lines (read: beans, rocket, zucchini flowers), we are pleased to say that our locally-grown ‘bunch’ herbs are holding up well this winter. Not only are they high quality, but in good supply and therefore fantastic buying at the moment. Simon George & Sons has an extensive range of ‘bunch’ herbs available and while Thai Basil and Garlic Chives are currently in short supply, the varieties listed below should continue to be among our best buys over the coming weeks. So why not take advantage of the favourable conditions and stock up on some of nature’s most vibrant, mouth-watering flavour enhancers.

Selection & Storage: When selecting herbs the general rule is to look for bright, fresh leaves, free of bruising or yellowing that boast healthy, firm stems. To maximise the shelf life of most bunch herbs place them in a glass of water, cover the top of the glass with plastic, seal and place in the fridge- change the water daily.




Availability: all year, best Dec - Apr

Appearance: bright green, oval leaves

Flavour: slightly sweet, grassy cloves

Storage: place stems in water, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Change water daily and use within a week

Preparation: delicate herb, once sliced it browns very quickly. Quite versatile, basil can be used fresh to accent a dish or can be used as the base of a sauce or to accent flavours such as tomato



Availability: all year

Appearance: bright green, pointed, smooth leaves

Flavour: earthy aroma, almost bitter edge

Selection: leaves should be bright green with a glossy top and boast a strong aroma

Storage: store in airtight container in fridge or freeze in an airtight bag

Preparation: slow cooking specialist, removed before consumption


CHERVIL: aka French parsley


Availability: Apr - Dec

Appearance: looks similar to parsley or a carrot top

Flavour: aniseed, parsley

Preparation: flavour is lost when dried or cooked, so use fresh in salads or as a garnish


CORIANDER:  aka cilantro

Image: freepik

Availability: all year

Appearance: broad bright green, feathered leaf

Flavour: pungent, distinct aroma

Preparation: use in Thai or Asian cooking especially curries, stir-fries, salads. Add stems of leaves as base of sauce, then delicate leaves prior to serving to get maximum flavour and as a striking garnish.


DILL: aka dill weed


Availability: all year

Appearance: fine, feathered, blue-green leaves

Flavour: light, aromatic grassy flavour

Selection: leaves should be nicely feathered and stems firm and healthy

Preparation: add just before serving to fish, egg, potato dishes or as a garnish




Availability: Spring - Autumn

Appearance: green stems and distinctive small, purple flowers

Flavour: delicate, floral flavour, with citrus overtones

Preparation: flowers and leaves can be used. Most often used in baking (ground into sugar), desserts, meaty stews, salads or as a garnish (even as a garnish in a glass of champers)


LEMON BALM:  aka balm mint, sweet balm


Availability: short season, spring-summer

Appearance: heart shaped, veined leaves covered with coarse hairs

Flavour: fresh lemon aroma and flavour

Preparation: Fantastic with fish. Add late in the cooking process or use fresh in salads or as a garnish. Combines well with Chervil




Availability: all year- peak in warm weather

Appearance: long grass –like stalks

Flavour: pungent, distinctive lemon hit

Preparation: peel tough outer layers of stem and trim base. If using as an infusion, bruise the stem to release oils before adding. Or finely chop into stir-fries, curries etc


MARJORAM: aka sweet marjoram


Availability: all year

Appearance: woody stems, small, oval leaves (that fall on opposite sides of the stem) and white flowers

Flavour: delicate and aromatic- sweeter and milder than oregano

Preparation: fantastic with roast meat dishes, in stuffing (vege, chicken or meat) and as a garnish on salads, egg and potato dishes




Availability: all year

Appearance: wrinkled leaves,

Flavour: refreshing, unique aroma and flavour

Preparation: savoury and sweet


VIETNAMESE MINT: aka hot mint

Availability: all year

Appearance: long, pointed leaves with a purple tint at base (distinct band across leaf)

Flavour: spicy, citrusy, pepper flavour – common in South East Asian, Vietnamese cuisine

Preparation: rinse gently and use raw in salads, summer rolls, shredded into laksa or stews



Availability: all year

Appearance: light green, wrinkled leaves

Flavour: sweet, refreshing mint flavour

Preparation: most commonly used mint variety for cooking – fantastic in savoury meat dishes, salads, desserts (chocolate) or cocktails


OREGANO: aka wild marjoram


Availability: all year

Appearance: tiny leaves and pink/purple edible flowers on a woody stem

Flavour: slightly sharp, warm, pungent flavour

Preparation: quite hardy, add early in the cooking process as slow cooking enhances flavour  




CONTINENTAL PARSLEY aka Italian parsley

Availability: all year

Appearance: flat, cut leaves

Flavour: refreshing aroma, mild flavour

Preparation: best variety for cooking as its bright flavour holds up well and will enhance the accompanying flavours in the dish


CURLY PARSLEY aka English Parsley

Availability: all year

Appearance: dark green leaves that curl up at the edges

Flavour: coarser flavour than continental parsley

Preparation: edible stems and leaves, refreshing and visually appealing garnish




Availability: all year

Appearance: long, sharp leaves

Flavour: warm, pepper

Preparation: a hardy plant, rosemary is often used as a base to roasting meat dishes such as lamb and poultry- firm woody stem also serves as a fantastic skewer that subtly flavours the meat as it marinades and cooks


SAGE: aka kitchen sage

Image: freepik

Availability: all year

Appearance: green, leathery leaves that are covered in fine hairs. They can be long and slim or slightly broader

Flavour: musky, pepper flavour

Preparation: good cooking herb especially with fatty or oily foods. Also good in soups, mash potato, marinades or baking


TARRAGON: a very delicate herb, tarragon tends to wilt after harvest. This does not impact the flavour


Availability: all year

Appearance: long, slim leaves on a woody stem with a stunning edible, yellow flower that appears in winter as its natural season ends

Flavour: spicy, aniseed with a slightly sweet, tart aftertaste

Preparation: a classic French herb, tarragon is a well known ingredient in béarnaise sauce and compound butters – popular herb for flavouring fish and chicken dishes



Availability: all year – easily affected by weather therefore supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Appearance: long, slim, glossy green leaves

Flavour: stronger than regular tarragon but still boasts the same slightly tart, aniseed punch

Preparation: use more sparingly due to its powerful flavour


THYME: best with strong flavoured dishes as it can overpower a dish very easily



Availability: all year

Appearance: woody stem with tiny, grey-green rounded leaves

Flavour: strong, pungent aroma – spicy, pepper flavour

Preparation: fantastic for slow cooking as holds flavour well


LEMON THYME: aka citrus thyme

Availability: all year

Appearance: small, heart shaped leaves (green/yellow) on a woody stem

Flavour: strong lemon aroma and mild flavour

Preparation: sweet and savoury




Availability: all year

Appearance: small, rounded pale green leaves on light green stems

Flavour: zesty, slightly bitter

Preparation: use torn into soups, salads, sandwiches or as a garnish


A: A bouquet garni is a bundle of aromatic herbs tied together with string and dropped into soups, stews, stocks and casseroles to add flavour. The bouquet garni allows chefs to capture the flavour of the herbs, while also having the freedom to remove them at any stage of the cooking process. While there is no set recipe, the  Bouquet Garni is traditionally known to feature parsley, thyme, bay leaves and possible marjoram- however celery, leeks, carrots and a variety of other herbs are often added into the mix. In fact, the Larousse Gastronomique notes that in ancient times the bouquet garni contained cloves and was wrapped up using a thin slice of lard.


Q: How do colds and flus impact our ability to enjoy food? 

This week’s bulletin was inspired by this week’s SMH article on natural remedies and the validity of using food as medicine. There is no doubt that over the last decade there has been a significant cultural shift towards wellness, so much so that Australians last year spent $1.4 billion dollars on vitamins and dietary supplements. For those of use not keen on lining up our pills every morning or drinking 15 cups of herbal tea a day, this week’s bulletin is dedicated to fresh produce that not only serves up a powerful flavour hit in the kitchen but also offers impressive health benefits. 



Flavour hit: very spicy but with a distinctive, almost fruity aroma

Appearance: current stock is hydroponic- look like very small, red lanterns 

Availability: all year, best Nov - Mar

Selection: look for taut, even skin with a bright colour 

Storage: wrap in paper towel and store in fridge

Preparation: chop into an angry sauce, be careful to protect eyes as it is very strong

Health bonus: helps prevent artherosclerosis (heart disease). For those with a cold, the spicy heat will clear the nose, while the beta carotene (Vit A) in red chillies keeps the skin/mucus membranes healthy. The capsaicin in chillies is also proven to reduce inflammation 



Flavour hit: hot, spicy aromatic and pungent with a smooth texture 

Appearance: firm, striated root with light-brown skin and light-yellow flesh 

Availability: all year, best Mar - Nov

Selection: firm, smooth, plump rhizomes

Storage: unpeeled in a zip lock back in the refrigerator

Preparation: peel then chop, grate or slice into soups, stir fries, curries etc 

Health bonus: nature’s wonder drug - anti-nausea (carminative), anti-inflammatory (arthritis), anti-bacterial and anti-microbial (colds/antiseptic), proven anti-cancer properties, stimulates circulation and combats chills/fevers and heart disease


GALANGAL: aka Siamese Ginger


Flavour hit: pungent mustard with slight fruit undertones- popular in South East Asian cuisine

Appearance: similar to ginger but with pink-tan skin and white flesh

Availability: all year

Selection: firm, smooth, plump rhizomes

Storage: do not refrigerate as it will blacken the galangal. wrap in absorbent paper and place in a plastic bag in cool, dry area

Preparation: peel then chop, grate or slice into soups, stir fries, curries etc

Health bonus: similarly to ginger- anti-nausea (carminative), anti-inflammatory (arthritis), anti-bacterial and anti-microbial (colds/antiseptic), stimulates circulation and combats chills/fevers




Flavour hit: rich & pungent, onion tones though roasting brings our nutty flavours  

Appearance: white, purple or pink bulbs with a thin neck, covered in a papery skin

Availability: all year - Australian seasons are Oct - May

Selection: choose dry, firm, plump bulbs

Storage: store in cool, dark well ventilated place

Preparation: as per wasabi/horseradish it is the chemical reaction caused by preparing garlic that gives it its flavour. Crushing results in an intense aroma and taste while slicing will cause a milder reaction and therefore flavour

Health bonus: natural antibiotic, also assists in management of blood pressure & cholesterol 



Flavour hit: strong peppery taste with hints of ginger & orange - used widely in Indian cuisine

Appearance: appears similar to ginger but distinct deep yellow-orange flesh 

Availability: All Year

Selection: firm, smooth, plump rhizome

Storage: store unwashed in the fridge, wrapped in a paper towel in a plastic bag

Preparation: unless you want orange hands handle with care, can be ground, chopped, minced, grated or sliced into dishes

Health bonus: reduces risk of Alzheimers by 50%, anti-inflammatory, gargled with water its anti-bacterial properties ease a sore throat




Flavour hit: spicy mustard hit- bright, pungent and aromatic - used mainly as a condiment 

Appearance: white, tapered root covered in light-brown, hairy skin 

Availability: Mar - Nov 

Selection: avoid shrivelled or dry roots with soft, green spots 

Storage: loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator

Preperation: fresh roots aren’t pungent but (similar to wasabi) the process of cutting, grating or grinding causes a chemical reaction and releases oils responsible for the pungent aroma and taste. Once prepared, use quickly or it will lose potency (and if left exposed a bitter taste)

Health bonus: anti-oxidant and detoxification functions-great for colds as it has high vitamin C content is a strong antibiotic, bronchodilator (asthma, bronchitis) and stimulates the immune system




Flavour hit: intense, acidic, citrus flavour used in Thai, Indonesian and Cambodian cuisine

Appearance: dark green glossy leaves in figure of eight shape

Availability: All Year

Selection: look for a deep, glossy colour on the leaf

Storage: store in zip lock bag in refrigerator

Preparation: remove centre vein, slice finely or tear into stir fries, soups, curries or salads 

Health bonus: small amounts of beta-carotene 


LEMONGRASS: aka Takrai 


Flavour hit: pungent, distinctive lemon hit features heavily in South East Asian cuisine

Appearance: long grass-like stalks 

Availability: All Year - peaks in warm weather

Selection: look for plump, firm stalks

Storage: keep in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator

Preparation: peel tough outer layers of stem and trim base. If using as an infusion, bruise the stem to release oils before adding. Or finely chop into stir-fries, curries etc

Health bonus: the citral in lemon grass has anti-bacterial properties that help to ward of colds & coughs, it is also moderately high in folate and helps detoxify the body


SAW TOOTH CORIANDER: aka Saw leaf herb, Ngo Gai, Thai Coriander, long leaf coriander

Image: com

Flavour hit: intense coriander - peppery & pungent, used Vietnamese, Thai & Punjabi cuisine

Appearance: thick, long, serrated green leaves

Availability: Apr - Sept

Selection: choose vibrant green leaves that look fresh and not wilted

Storage: good shelf life, store as per other cut herbs (either refrigerate dry in sealed bag or cut stems and sit in water then refrigerate)

Preparation: tougher than usual coriander it is torn or chopped into soups, stir-fries, curries and salads. Good for drying as it holds flavour & colour better than regular coriander. 

Health bonus: often prepared in tea to stimulate appetite & soothes stomach ache


VIETNAMESE MINT: aka laksa leaf

Flavour hit: spicy, citrusy, pepper flavour - common in South East Asian, Vietnamese cuisine

Appearance: long, narrow leaves with red-brown tint at base & green tip

Availability: All Year

Selection: choose vibrant green leaves that look fresh and not wilted

Storage: wrap loosely in paper towel & store in zip-lock back in fridge

Preparation: rinse gently and used raw in salads, summer rolls, shredded into laksa or stews

Health bonus: traditionally used to treat stomach complaints and reduce swelling.




Flavour hit: intensely hot, peppery, sweet mustard - similar to horseradish

Appearance: short, thick, green knobbly stems 

Availability: All Year

Selection: choose fresh, firm stems

Storage: wrap unused stems in a paper towel and store in a sealed bag in the refrigerator

Preparation: similarly to horseradish it is the chemical reaction caused by grating that releases the signature flavour of wasabi. grate to a fine paste allow to rest for 2-3 minutes to achieve full flavour then serve 

Health bonus: many believe wasabi is good for clearing the sinuses however the opposite it true. It is the anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties of wasabi that are notable


A: Approximately 80-90% of what we taste is thanks to our sense of smell. The taste receptors on the tongue only distinguish between sweet, salty, sour and bitter,  it is actually the scent or aroma of the food that allows us to enjoy  complex, subtle flavour combinations. Therefore when you suffer from a cold/flu or any condition that interferes with your ability to detect these scent particles, it stops the brain being able to communicate the usual taste information stored for that food.