lemon lavender tea cakes

Common Herbs and Spices in the Kitchen

For the budding Kitchen Witch, here is a list of common herbs and their culinary uses.

Angelica: Flavor fish or fruit desserts

Basil: With tomatoes or in a pesto

Bay: Leaves will flavor soups or stocks (remember to remove leaf before serving!)

Black Pepper: Literally anything you cant go wrong

Borage: Put flowers in salads and the leaves in soups

Caraway: Breads, cakes, soups, and casseroles

Cardamom: Chicken, biscuits, or in coffee

Cayenne: Seafood, egg dishes, and cheese

Chives: Leaves or flowers will flavor soups, salads, soft cheeses, eggs, and meats

Cinnamon: Mulled drinks or dessert

Cloves: Mulled drinks or meats

Coriander: Leaves mostly used in salads

Cumin: Season rice or baked bread

Dill: Pickles, vinegars, salads, cheeses, or fish

Fennel: Used for fish, chicken, and pork

Garlic: Casseroles, butters, dips, or soups

Juniper: In rich meats or game dishes (avoid if pregnant)

Lavender: grind into sugar for baking (only use lavender marked culinary)

Lemon Verbena: Leaves flavor cakes, fruit dishes and tea

Marigold: Petals in soups, soft cheese, butter, or salad

Marjoram: Mostly used in meat or vegetable dishes

Mint: Leaves in teas and liquors, sauces and relishes

Nutmeg: Desserts, fruity dishes, or green vegetables. I sprinkle it on meatloaf!

Oregano: Meat, vegetable, or pasta dishes

Paprika: Soups and seafood

Parsley: Primarily a garnish

Poppy: Sprinkled on top of bread and cakes

Rosemary: Flavor lamb, pork, and poultry

Saffron: Mostly used as a dye in rice dishes or cakes

Sage: Leaves or sprigs in meats, cheeses, teas, stuffings, sauces, or sausages

Tarragon: Leaves or sprigs used in salads, egg dishes, chicken, lamb, butter, or fish

Thyme: Can be used in any savoury dishes

DA2 characters as cupcakes

Aveline:  An untraditionally shaped cupcake, a dense pound cake baked into a solid square.  Alone it’s not very sweet, but when made with care it’s moist and buttery with a delicate crumb.  Topped with apples sautéed in butter and brown sugar glaze with just a hint of vanilla bean, studded with candied pecans.

Merrill:  A cupcake light as a feather, a delicate vanilla sponge topped with freshly ripened berries and airy whipped cream, but filled with a red currant jam, slightly tart – a secret only discovered after you’ve taken a bite.

Isabela:  Odd flavors from foreign lands, a spice cake heavy on the ginger and cardamom.  The topping would have to be nothing less than caramel, made from scratch, thick and buttery and served a little bit hot, dusted with a tiny pinch of fleur de sel.

Varric:  A white cake that seems to be nothing out of the ordinary, but topped with an apricot jam hidden underneath the plain white buttercream frosting.  It’s topped with something that at first glance looks like candied strips of mint, but when you bite into it you realize that it’s actually candied basil.  A miniature cupcake that is meant to be eaten whole, forcing you to appreciate all of the complex flavors, and also to tempt you into coming back for more.

Sebastian:  A cupcake scented with lavender, lemon and white tea.  The cake is light and delicious and barely sweet, but when you swallow and then inhale it leaves a taste in your mouth reminiscent of incense.  Topped with a barely-there whipped cream, garnished with a tiny curl of lemon zest too bitter to eat on its own.

Fenris:  A dark chocolate cupcake, darker than dark, on the edge of not being sweet, topped with a dark chocolate ganache.  At first glance it looks overwhelming, too much of the same flavor, but when bitten into you realize the richness of the flavors, how the ganache sweetens the cake just enough, the subtle heat of cinnamon hidden in the batter, the smooth texture of the chocolate frosting cut with cream and just the slightest bit of chili pepper.

Anders: A cupcake for a long sleepless night.  Chocolate cake mixed with strong espresso, dense and moist and almost bitter.  Topped with a light whipped coffee buttercream with just a dash of whiskey, just enough to be sharp on the palate and only barely tasted.

Carver: Taste something like a gingersnap, a little too spicy for some, with an intensity of flavor that alone would be off-putting.  The same could be said about the cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top - it’s a little odd, a little strong, a little daunting, and at there are moments that beg for each ingredient to be taken apart, separated and something different added to make it more mild, sweeter, less difficult to palate, but it’s an acquired taste and the parts never seem quite right when they’re not together.

Bethany:  A cupcake that tastes oddly like a cinnamon roll, as though it’s been cleverly disguised.  A light, sweet cinnamon cupcake with just a hint of apple, topped with a thick brown sugar and butter frosting with just a splash of maple syrup, served warm enough that the frosting is just beginning to melt.

Hawke:   A vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting.  On the surface it looks plain, nothing special, but the best part is in the quality of the ingredients.  The cake is moist and sweet, but sturdy enough to support the heavy frosting, not the sort of thing that will dissolve into crumbs on the fork.  The frosting is whipped liberally with heavy vanilla scented cream, smooth and rich without being overly sweet. Not a fancy, gimmicky cupcake, but one that can always be relied upon.