Parsley is one of the first herbs that I became aware of as a child. My mother grew it in her garden, and still does today alongside a wider selection of herbs including mint, chives, thyme, rosemary and sage. At the time, it was the curly leaved variety rather than the flat leaf and it was mainly used as a garnish.
I first encountered parsley as an ingredient when I worked at the local delicatessen and was introduced to tabbouleh. I started using it in handfuls after watching one of the early Jamie Oliver series and seeing his generous use.
Parsley is a very versatile herb and combines well with the other soft leaf herbs. Take three to four stalks of parsley, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf and bind with kitchen twine. This is the classic bouquet garni which can be used to flavour casseroles and stews.