Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
This is a spice that has a liquorice like flavour with a sweet, aromatic aroma. It is available either as seeds or as powdered seeds. Commonly used in baking and desserts and flavouring some alcoholic drinks.
Be careful not to confuse this spice with ‘star’ anise as they have a similar name and often, if looked up online, will show both in the same pages. This spice has a more aromatic flavour whereas star anise has a stronger flavour which is more attributed to Asian cooking.
There are also some health benefits with this spice, it helps to improve digestion and can cause a relief from flatulence, indigestion, bloating and the easing of abdominal pain which are the most common benefits.
This is a fantastic spice to use in a wide variety of baking. It is delicious when used in bread making and equally delicious in muffins and cookies. It is also fantastic when used in the making of Italian style sausages, and when used with chicken.
A lot of desserts also have anise in them giving them a sweet liquorice flavour to enhance a delicious treat. It is also very popular in the making of confectionary with its sweet aniseed flavour.
This spice is very tasty when used in soups and sauces. I like to use it in soup and I have a tasty recipe which I enjoy cooking. You can see here how to make it.
Serves 4 people
400 grams of carrots chopped
1 x large onion diced
3 x cloves garlic chopped
1 x litre chicken stock
2 x teaspoons of anise powdered seed
3 x tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
200 ml cream
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Get a large sauce pan and put it onto a medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions and cook until soft. Then add the garlic. Now add the carrots and cook with the onions for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil and simmer, then add the sea salt and black pepper to taste. Now add the powdered anise and stir. Leave to cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
Now use a stick blender and blend until smooth. Stir in the cream.
Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve.