Stock cubes are easy and quick but making your own stock is very simple and healthier as you have control over the ingredients, which can be adapted to suit your own tastes. I grow nearly all my own herbs in my organic garden and dry them for use over winter. If you’re using fresh herbs then double the amounts as dried herbs are stronger. The addition of sweetness helps balance the flavours and use honey if you can as it is purer and helps detox the body. Here is my basic stock recipe using dried herbs with suggested alterations after:
½ tsp salt
½ tsp celery salt
½ tsp honey or 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp crushed bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp marmite or other yeast extract
1 tsp plain flour, sieved
Put all the ingredients in a jug and add dribbles of just boiled water, stirring vigorously between additions so all are well mixed and a runny paste is achieved. Keep stirring the mixture as you gradually add more water. Up to 2 litres of water can be added depending on your needs. For example to make a gravy add ½ litre water, for stews add 1 litre water and for soups add 1½ litres water.
Stock can be used straight away or allowed to cool and will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Alternatively, pour into Yorkshire pudding baking tins and freeze for quick 1 person portions. Once frozen solid they can be removed from the tray and bagged together. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan but do not boil or you will lose the goodness.
Other herbs to use as well or instead are: Mixed Herbs, Rosemary, Dill, Chives, Basil
For a more meaty flavour add more marmite (it’s vegetarian and we get ours sent over from the UK)
For a spicier stock, or to help with detoxing by increasing the metabolism, add ½ tsp chili powder or chili flakes
Adding ½ tsp turmeric will pepper the stock slightly and (apparently) reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Careful though as it will stain a plastic jug yellow!
For accompanying gravy:
Nut roasts – add 1 tsp of tomato puree
Pork – add 2 tsp crushed apple
Lamb – add 2 tsp mint
Duck – add ½ tsp orange peel + 1 tbsp orange juice
Chicken/Turkey – add 1 tbsp cranberry juice
Pink fish – add 2 tsp soy sauce
White Fish – add ½ tsp lemon peel + 1 tsp lemon juice