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Epic Ingredients 1: Italian herb blend

One of the things I love best about travel is the change in culinary scenery. At deli shops and supermarkets, I pick up herbs and ingredients to help replicate dishes at home.

In Naples, I love those little food shops that are so cram-packed full of foodstuffs that you can barely move, once in the door. In one such Aladdin’s Cave of ingredients, I found bags of mixed dried herbs that have revolutionised my Sunday roast chicken and jazzed up a simple spaghetti. Those bags are sadly empty and I am still searching the internet for replacements. Until I find them, here is what they contain:

Dried tomato, dried basil, dried garlic, celery seeds and chives – perfect for creating your own blend and storing in a jar for future use – away from the light.

The instructions on the back of the pack suggest the following simple stir-through spaghetti sauce:

While the spaghetti is boiling in salted water, heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add 5 tablespoons of the above mix and stir until all become golden. Then stir the sauce through the spaghetti and season to taste. (In personal experience, you might find that a bit more oil helps the sauce go further.)

You can also sprinkle this mix on pizza, use it to season a simple tomato sauce or invigorate a roast chicken.

For Epic’s Roast Chicken, stuff the bird with quarters of lemon and about 5 heaped tablespoons of the above mix. Then rub lemon juice and oil into the skin. You should remove the lemons on carving, but you’ll be left with a lemon and herb sauce that makes this chicken tender, tasty and different.

Bon appetit!

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