Herb and spice specialist Schwartz has published its flavour forecast for 2012 (see our article outlining six trends and the flavour combinations it believes will influence us during the year). These four show-stopping recipes recipes stood out for us. If they are part of a special occasion, why not kick off with Schwartz’s two new cocktails, one refreshing and light the other intensely lemony – both big-hitters.

Jerusalem artichoke and vanilla soup with seared scallops

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves 4


50g (2oz) unsalted butter

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1 Schwartz vanilla pod

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1kg (2.2lb) Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, sliced and placed in water with a squeeze of lemon juice

1 medium potato, peeled, thinly sliced

1 litre (1.5 pints) light chicken stock

200ml (7fl oz) double cream

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs unsalted butter

4 Jerusalem artichokes, cut lengthways into thin wedges

8 medium size roe-less scallops

Vanilla salt (optional)

  1. Heat the butter in a large pan, add the shallots and cook over a low heat for five minutes until softened, and slightly caramelized. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add the seeds and pod, with the garlic and artichokes, to the pan. Cook for a further eight minutes. Add the potato, chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, season with salt and pepper and cook until the artichokes are tender (approximately 20-30 minutes).
  2. Remove from the heat, remove vanilla pod and blend the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a fine sieve into a clean pan, add the cream and season to taste before warming through. Add a little extra stock/water if it’s a little too thick.
  3. Meanwhile, pre-heat a frying pan, heat a little of the olive oil then add half the butter, the artichoke wedges, vanilla salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until golden and tender (four to five minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper.
  4. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat, once hot add the oil. Season the scallops with the vanilla salt and sear in hot oil over a high heat for 30 seconds on each side or until golden. Add the remaining butter and cook for a minute more.
  5. Place the scallops and artichokes on the base of a large flat soup bowl, pour soup around them and serve immediately.

Raw lamb kibbeh with asian pear salad

Prep time: 35 minutes

Cook time: 0

Serves 2

Ingredients for the lamb kibbeh

175g (6oz) lamb, freshly minced

2 tbs cooked bulgar wheat

Pinch Schwartz paprika

Pinch Schwartz cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp Schwartz allspice, ground

1/2 tsp Schwartz cinnamon

1/2 tsp Schwartz coriander seed, roasted and ground

1/2 tsp Schwartz cumin, ground

1 tbs mint, chopped

1 tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped

Schwartz sea salt and black pepper

1 tbs red onion, finely chopped

Ingredients for the garnish

1 spring onion, finely chopped

1 tbs cucumber, finely diced and seeded

2 breakfast radishes, halved lengthways with a little leaf

1 tsp roasted sesame seeds

1 red or green chilli, finely sliced

Ingredients for the endive and Asian pear salad with sesame, pomegranate and coriander dressing

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs pomegranate molasses (or use pomegranate juice)

1 tbs brown rice vinegar

1 tbs lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, crushed

2 tbs coriander, chopped

1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

1 Asian pear, sliced finely into juliennes (or use a conference pear)

1 endive, halved lengthways, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 tbs pomegranate seeds

Ingredients for the crispy pitta bread

1 pitta bread, split in half width ways

Olive oil

Pinch Schwartz cayenne pepper

Pinch Schwartz ground cumin

  1. For the lamb: Mix all the ingredients together, season to taste, shape into a rectangle and top with garnishes.
  2. For the salad and dressing: Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic and coriander. Toss the endive and pear in the dressing. Put the mixture on plates and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.
  3. For the crispy pitta bread: Drizzle the pitta bread with the olive oil, sprinkle with the spices and place under a hot grill until golden.

Blueberry and cardamom glazed ham, with cardamom and blueberry braised lentils

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Serves 8

Ingredients for the ham

2kg (5lb) mild-cure gammon

1 small onion, halved

1 stick of celery

1 carrot, halved

2 litres (3 pints) blueberry juice, reserve 200ml for the glaze

12 Schwartz cardamom pods

2cm ginger, sliced

5 Schwartz black peppercorns

4 tbs honey

2 tbs wholegrain mustard

Ingredients for the cardamom and blueberry braised lentils

2 tbs olive oil

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

1/2 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

12 Schwartz cardamom pods, remove the husks, crush the seeds

225g (8oz) puy lentils

550ml (18fl oz) of the hot blueberry ham cooking liquor

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

50g (2oz) fresh blueberries

  1. For the gammon: Place the gammon in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil then drain. Rinse the gammon and return it to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, cardamom pods, ginger and peppercorns. Pour over all but the reserved 200ml of blueberry juice and top up with water, if necessary, so the gammon is just covered. Bring to the boil, skim the surface and reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours, until the meat is tender. Leave to cool in the cooking liquor.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, 425°F Gas Mark 7. Remove the joint from the pan, reserving the cooking liquor for the lentils. Once cool enough to handle, carefully cut the skin off the ham, making sure to leave a layer of fat, lightly score the layer of fat into diamond shapes. Line a roasting tin with foil and place the joint on top. Warm the honey, mustard and reserved blueberry juice in a pan and bring to the boil. Spoon over the fat and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the glaze has caramelised. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.
  3. For the lentils: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, chilli and cardamom. Cook for five minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Meanwhile place the lentils in a fine mesh colander and rinse well under cold water, drain before adding to the vegetables.
  4. Add the hot stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add a little more ham stock if the lentils look a little dry during cooking.
  5. Remove from the heat, season with sea salt and pepper, cool a little before stirring through the blueberries and parsley.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with the sliced glazed ham.

Red tea chocolate ganache with cinnamon plum compote

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients for the ganache

7g (1/4 oz) Rooibos tea leaves

150ml (1/4 pint) boiling water

200g (7oz) dark 70% cocoa solids chocolate, chopped

For the cinnamon plum compote

300ml (1/2 pint) boiling water

7g (1/4 oz) Rooibos tea leaves

125g (5oz) caster sugar

450g plums, halved

2 Schwartz cinnamon sticks

  1. For the ganache: Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves, cover and infuse for two minutes. Place the chocolate in a saucepan, then strain the hot tea over the chocolate, heat the saucepan on a medium-low heat then whisk until the chocolate has melted. Transfer to a container suitable for refrigerating, cool then chill for two hours or until set.
  2. For the compote: Pour the boiling water over tea leaves and leave to infuse for two minutes. Strain in to a large saucepan and bring to the boil, discarding the tea leaves. Add the sugar and cook for one minute. Add the plums and cinnamon sticks then simmer for 8-10 minutes until softened. Remove the plums. Simmer the cooking liquor until thickened, pour over plums and leave to cool (it should be served at room temperature).
  3. To serve: Remove the chilled chocolate from the fridge. Dip a tablespoon or ice cream scoop in hot water and scoop out onto a plate. Serve with the plum compote.