Bubble’s visionary chefs love to create imaginative dishes with an impact – that look stunning and fully deliver on flavour. In order to do this, our menus incorporate many exciting and unusual ingredients. Herbs and edible flowers are often a key feature, regularly used to intensify flavour, heighten the senses and add a luxurious aesthetic complement to the dish.
“Contemporary London food couldn’t exist without this abundant array of fresh herbs, and it would be so much less vibrant without the edible flowers that our fantastic growers produce.” commented Bubble’s Executive Head Chef, Jens Nisson, “As well as the exotics, we are rediscovering some native classics which add incredible flavours, not just to savoury dishes, but to sweet items and cocktails too. Finishing with a fresh, clean-tasting herb can lift the whole personality of a dish; taking it somewhere new and exciting.”
We asked our trusted supplier, Herbs Unlimited, for their insight into how these incredible plants can make a big difference to enrich our food and drink experience.
“Fresh herbs and flowers have been used since Roman times for elevating ingredients and enhancing dishes.
The trend for both Scandinavian and street-food inspired seasonal menus has meant that simple and beautiful ingredients with bags of fresh flavour are once again at the forefront of modern menus.
The Instagram generation of diners not only eat with their eyes, but also share beautifully constructed and innovative flavour combinations. The use of freshly cut herbs can bring about new flavour sensations and chefs are experimenting wildly with unusual flavours, especially British herbs and edible flowers.
Bubble regularly uses the following speciality herbs and edible flowers;
Lovage – high in vitamin C, lovage is perfect to roll into fresh pasta to add flavour, or match with mackerel for a pungent celery like flavour. Bubble chefs used lovage to make an emulsion with raw oyster at a high profile dinner at Kensington Palace on a scallop tartare starter.
Borage – mildly diuretic, both borage leaves and flowers are delicious in salads adding cucumber notes, also pairing well with bacon and blue cheeses. The flowers look and taste amazing in cocktails. Bubble chefs use borage to garnish a twist on the classic Summer Pimms cocktail in order to enhance the cucumber flavours and intensify the sensation of refreshment.
Nasturtium – with their antibacterial properties, the leaves and flowers add peppery zing to salads, or make excellent sauces. They are also great for making colourful and tasty pesto. Bubble chefs use nasturtium to garnish a main of peppered venison loin. The picante leaves provide a dynamic counterpoint to the richness of the meat and its sauce. Nasturtium leaves also feature in the pictured dish – Winter vegetable broth, celeriac dumplings, apple blossom, nasturtium.
Angelica – widely reputed to aid digestion, the leaves of the “herb of angels” goes well with fish and is wonderful with rhubarb. Bubble chefs use this herb to flavour a botanical cocktail spray alongside a well known gin which features Angelica as a key ingredient.
Anise Hyssop – an astringent, which contains tannins, anise hyssop is a strong Summer trend for 2017. It adds a natural sweetness in soups and pasta dishes, and can be used for infusions. Bubble’s pastry chefs make an ice-cream from the leaves to serve alongside our nitro-poached orange and chocolate aero rocks.
Bronze fennel – stimulating bronze fennel is great for digestion. It has a delicate liquorice flavour which pairs well with all fish, or can be used in soups, salads and dressings. Bubble chefs use this fragrant herb instead of dill with Summery fish dishes.
Oxalis – both the leaves and flowers are delicious, not to mention being high in vitamin C and a mild antipyretic. Herbs Unlimited won a Yorkshire Taste award in 2016 with their variegated leaf variety, sometimes known as “Iron Cross”. Red oxalis, also known as butterfly sorrel is also available and popular for the beautiful butterfly shaped leaves and fresh taste. Add to sauces, soups and salads or as an unusual and pretty garnish for dishes. Bubble chefs use butterfly sorrel with a roast duck and beetroot dish to add a little sourness to balance out a rich and slightly sweet main course. The deep purple colour also tones with the other ingredients.
Herbs Unlimited have a wide range of speciality herbs and edible flowers in season, and also all year round, from selected imports to home grown, providing a continuous supply. Founder and Managing Director Alison Dodd is a Cordon Bleu trained chef who started importing speciality herbs to the UK and packaging them on her kitchen table. She now works with her son, Phillip, from 120 acres in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, with 45 full-time staff who, together, supply the whole of the UK with daily overnight deliveries.
Bubble is delighted to congratulate Herbs Unlimited as they celebrate an impressive 25 years supplying the catering, food manufacturing and wholesale industry with freshly cut herbs, salads and edible flowers.