GARLIC is something I put in most dinners I make and when the recipe calls for 2 cloves, I throw in 3 or 4. We've always been big on garlic in my family, I suppose because it's just so versatile. I can't think of a cuisine that doesn't commonly call for garlic.
My first memories of this little treasure comes from watching Mum and Dad cook dinner. It didn't matter whether Mum was making her Chicken Fricassee or if Dad was making his (best ever) Bolognese sauce, they both start the same way. A heaped teaspoon of minced garlic emerges from the jar and is added to the frypan along with its cousin, the onion, and a dash of olive oil. While we make the effort to use freshly peeled cloves these days, that is the starting point for most dinners. This love of garlic has been passed down to me and Josh and I ensure garlic goes in everything we make. Just the other week Josh made the most beautiful classic roast lamb with cloves stuffed into slits in the meat. The scent of roasted garlic infused the whole leg of lamb (and the kitchen,) and the cloves had sweetened and softened to take on the texture of an apple.
Recipes for pesto, marinades and dressings will often call for garlic in its raw form and the strong flavour of uncooked garlic adds a whack of fragrant heat. Most commonly though, the cloves are chopped or minced and then fried until aromatic to be used in sauces, amongst everything else. Garlic, butter and mushrooms sizzling away is one of the most delicious smells and in a post next week I'll share a recipe that features all three ingredients.
Besides adding flavour to dishes, each bulb carries a hearty hit of health benefits. Garlic holds anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties and it is high in Vitamin C. Those little cloves are known to help keep blood-pressure levels down and they even fight the flu. When I feel a sniffle coming on I like to make a curry packed full of garlic, ginger and turmeric. They're all best friends who happily help out your immune system.