A spiky evergreen bush, rosemary is a member of the mint family. It has a pungent, pine-like taste with lemon and camphor undertones that add flavour to meats, potatoes and breads and is a common ingredient in marinades and soups.
Rosemary is at its best palled up with garlic on roast spring lamb or chicken, on blistering hot focaccia bread with a splash of olive oil or in slow-cooked tomato sauces. It also works well with rabbit, mustard, honey and oranges.
To use sprigs of fresh rosemary in cooking, strip the leaves from the woody stalk by holding the tip and pulling down on the leaves in the opposite direction they are growing. Chop the tough leaves finely before adding to other ingredients, ideally at the start of cooking to allow it plenty of time to break down.
Dried rosemary loses some of the aromatic perfumed flavour of the fresh stuff but is handy to have to hand in the kitchen. Simply hang a bundle of freshly clipped sprigs upside down in a cupboard for about four to five weeks then transfer the leaves to an airtight container.