Not everyone has access to fresh herbs but packet ones can also enhance recipes and used correctly can actually alter the flavours in a meal. I recently found a root Ginger (jengibre) in my local supermarket and it made me think about its different uses. Ginger can be used in potpourri, made into a marinade and add flavour to a stir fry, smoothies or other drinks. My favourite is Ginger Tea (recipe below) which is brilliant if you have an upset tummy and it is light and spicy and warms you up in the winter. Ginger can be used in sweet and savoury recipes to great effect. The Stir Fry below is very quick and easy and of course the pork can be changed to chicken or just leave the meat out. Along with the tea recipe I have also added my Cheats Ginger Beer and mentioning Ginger would not be complete without a Gingerbread recipe as it’s not just for Christmas.  

Buen Apetito  

Ginger Tea

Thinly slice your fresh Ginger. You don’t need to peel it first, but do rinse it and scrub off any visible dirt. Plan on using about a 1” piece of Ginger per cup of tea.

In a saucepan, combine the Ginger with fresh water (one cup of water per serving). Bring the mixture to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for five minutes (or up to 10 minutes, if you want extra-strong tea). Pour the tea through a fine sieve to catch all of the Ginger. If desired, serve your tea with a thin slice of lemon or orange for some complementary acidity. You might also appreciate a light drizzle of honey or maple syrup, which will temper the fiery Ginger flavour. 

Pork Stir Fry

  • Egg noodles
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 250g/9oz pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Thumb-sized piece Ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 100g mange tout
  • 1 tsp sesame seed

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the noodles following pack instructions. Meanwhile, mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp water, then stir in the soy sauce and honey and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the pork and cook for 2 mins until browned all over. Add the Ginger, garlic, pepper and mange tout, and cook for a further 2 mins. Reduce the heat, then add the soy and honey mixture, stirring and cooking until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Divide the drained noodles between 2 bowls. Top with the pork and vegetables and finish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Ginger Flapjacks

  • 250g butter (plus extra for the tin)
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 5 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1½ tsp ground Ginger
  • 200g porridge oat
  • 100g whole oats
  • 140g plain flour
  • 50g desiccated coconut

Icing (optional)

  • 175g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp ground Ginger
  • ½ stem finely chopped Ginger root

Heat oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/gas 6. Butter and line a 20-21cm square baking tin with baking parchment. Gently melt together the butter, sugar, syrup and ground Ginger in a large pan. Tip in the oats, flour and coconut and mix well. Press the mixture into the tin to flatten evenly. Bake for 30 mins until golden and crisp.

Icing

Put the butter, icing sugar, syrup and ground Ginger in a small pan and heat gently, stirring until melted together. Pour straight over the flapjacks, scatter with the chopped Ginger and cool in the tin.

Gingerbread

  • 100g salted butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 225g plain flour
  • 50g icing sugar

Heat the butter, syrup and sugar together in a small pan until melted, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix together the bicarb, Ginger, cinnamon and flour in a large bowl. Pour in the buttery syrup mixture and stir to combine, then use your hands to bring together to form a dough. The dough will be soft at this point, but it will firm up in the fridge. Put the dough on a sheet of baking parchment, shape into a rectangle and lay another sheet of parchment on top of it. Roll the dough out to a thickness of ½cm. Transfer to a baking sheet to keep it flat, leaving the parchment in place, then chill in the fridge for 1 hr.

Heat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan/gas 5 and line a large baking sheet with more baking parchment. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut out shapes. Place the shapes, placing apart on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 mins. (Depending on the size of the cutters you use, they might need a few minutes more or less cooking in the oven). Leave to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Mix the icing sugar with 1-2 tbsp water – you want to create a consistency that’s thick and pipe-able (not too thin or it will run). Decorate the cooled biscuits with the icing using a piping bag with a thin nozzle.

Cheats Ginger Beer

  • 100g Ginger, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon , chopped
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 litre bottle of chilled lemonade or sparkling water, to serve

Put the Ginger and lemon in a bowl. Pour over 300ml water and blitz with a hand blender until very smooth. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and then press the pulp to remove as much liquid as you can. Add the sugar to the bowl and blitz again.

Decant into a bottle. Chill until ready to use. Add the lemonade or sparkling water to dilute before serving.