Rule 1: Forget your cubes.
Rule 2: Make your own stock.
The stock cube taste is fine if you are happy with that chemical construct taste. It was Fanny who pointed this out to me quite recently and it was a bit of a revelation.
However I’ll be quite frank my darlings: I’ve been having issues. For a little while now I have been experimenting with different vegetable stock recipes and a lot of them are complete dribble. Tasteless, flavourless, bland and uninteresting.
There is a debate that says mild isn’t bland and I get that. But my experiences showed that unless some punch was added, there would not be a vegetable in the world that could usurp or even match a meat stock. And lets face it I’m pretty nice about vegetarians. One has to be compassionate that’s what I say.
So why would anyone possibly put up with such dullnesses? I can’t answer that but having thought about the meat stock process for a while I took it from first base.
So I roasted the vegetables first having cut them up into chunks.
I put them in a pan with lashings of olive oil and some herbs – thyme mainly.
The vegetables were cooked at 200°c for an hour – turning them every 20 minutes or so so each way they got hit with the heat.
In another stockpot I put the water and the bay leaves and some more thyme and started to heat it up, just as the hour was up for the roasted vegetables.
The vegetables went straight into the stockpot, though I loosened the garlic from its casing.
Then I cooked it on a simmer for 3 hours, until the flavour developed satisfactorily
Several lugs of olive oil
4 bay leaves
A good sprinkling of thyme
1 whole garlic head
5 carrots cut up into chunks
5 celery stalks cut up into chunks
1 yellow pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
5 tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper for enhancement
Once cooled pour it through a sieve/mesh strainer and you will have a stock that will be several times better than any prefabricated stock cube.