Bouquet Garni


The bouquet garni (French for “garnished bouquet”) is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.

There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most recipes include thyme and bay leaf. Depending on the recipe, the bouquet garni may also include parsley, basil, burnet, chervil, rosemary, peppercorns, savory and tarragon. Vegetables such as carrot, celery (leaves or leaf stalks), celeriac, leek, onion and parsley root are sometimes included in the bouquet.

Sometimes, the bouquet is not bound with string, and its ingredients are filled into a small sachet, a net, or even a tea strainer, instead. Traditionally, the aromatics are bound within leek leaves, though a coffee filter (or cheesecloth) and butcher twine can be used, instead.

Dishes made with a bouquet garni include:

Boeuf bourguignon
Pot au feu
Brown Windsor soup
Poule au pot
Carbonnade flamande
Lapin chasseur
Blanquette de veau
French onion soup



Chicken & Kale Soup

I was looking at ways to change my eating habits and experiment with new recipes. I came across Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook ‘It’s all good’ and thought I’d give her recipes a go.
As most of you know, all good cooks read a recipe all the way through before starting. I skimmed the recipe and thought.. too easy. Sent my husband to buy the ingredients while I was at work, and got home at 530pm to start cooking. I was off to a good start, putting the chicken with vegetables on and went onto the next step and realised, oh… step 1 is simply making a stock and it’s wasting good veggies, plus it’s gonna take 2 hours! So by the time I got the stock on, it was 630pm which meant we wouldn’t be eating this until around 830-9pm. Wow… had not expected this, even though it was clearly written! And I was starving! So, I baked some extra chicken breast with left over parmigiana sauce (which took 30mins in the oven to cook through), and I started taking some of the leek, celery, carrot and onion from the stock pot and served it with the chicken breast. Soup would be for dinner the tomorrow night.
Even though I took some of the veggies out of the stock pot, it didn’t affect the taste of the stock. The stock has such a rich, smooth taste to it. Perfect for winter! So I guess I’m reminding you all… A) read the recipe through and B) be patient.
This chicken and kale soup has a slight variation to the recipe in the cookbook.


1 whole chicken (uncooked) or 1.2kg whole chicken breast
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large leek, washed and roughly chopped (stalk and leaves)
3 large carrots (1 peeled and roughly chopped, 2 peeled and diced)
1 yellow onion, quartered
3 bay leaves
2 leafy springs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped off stalks into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Combine the chicken, celery, leek, roughly chopped carrot, onion, bay leaves, thyme, whole black peppercorns, and large pinch of salt in a large pot and cover with cold water.
2. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
3. Strain the stock into a clean pot (or transfer into bowl and reuse the pot you are using) and discard the cooked vegetables.
(If you have a problem with wasting good food, like I do, I saved the cooked vegetables and served them with chicken breast the following night. Alternatively, make a hot pot).

4. Pull the meat off the whole chicken or get your chicken breast and roughly dice. Add the chicken to your stock, along with remaining carrots and kale.
5. Simmer for a further 20 minutes. Add additional ground pepper and salt to taste.

The art of living like Gwyneth


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