We know that bay trees were also common in the temple gardens of ancient Egypt, and that Aesculpius, Apollo’s son, an a healer, believed that bay was a powerful; antiseptic, and guarded against the plague. He incurred his father’s wrath when he had the bay dedicated to him. In the 17th century Culpeper wrote that the oil of the bay leaf and berries could get rid of pimples, and’all griefs and pain proceeding from wind…’
We use it to flavour almost every European dish we cook, although we tend to omit it in Pakistani cuisine, but there is no real reason for that. It goes with just about everything and is even used as a pickling spice.
The recipe below is a useful one for a basic chicken stock which can be frozen in small or large quantities and kept till you are ready to use it. It’s healthier than a stock cube, and much tastier. Also it’s a good way of using the whole chicken after it’s been roasted.
BASIC CHICKEN STOCK
1 whole chicken carcass, skin removed
1 large whole onion stuck with 2 cloves at the top and 2 at the bottom
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 bunch parsley
1/8 tsp nutmeg
8 black peppercorns
3 or 4 bay leaves, torn depending on their size
2 tsps dried mixed herbs, or just dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Remove any scum that rises to the surface and do this at regular intervals when you start cooking this stock.
Cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
Cool and freeze for future use.
This has Taste and is a Treat, and can be used in many dishes.