An annual plant, its aromatic leaves are used fresh and dried. When fresh they smell and taste rather like cloves; dried, they taste more like curry. Fresh leaves should be shredded with the fingers when used, as chopping may spoil their flavour. Basil goes well with eggs, aubergines/eggplants and sweet peppers, but it has a particular affinity with tomatoes, which has made it a popular addition to pasta and pizzas. It is also used in soups, sauces and salads, and forms the basis of the famous Italian sauce, ‘pesto’.