In most of the French Cooking recipes, a herb bouquet / garni is called for. The required herbs have to be put into cheese cloth and I have not been able to find this. So as an alternative I put the sprigs of herbs, usually parsley and thyme, into the cooking liquid whole. This can easily enough be fished out later.
Alternatively you can bind the herb sprigs together with a little twine or silicone cooking elastics. I have a picture of that somewhere on the blog. (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_gimiyBKnCnw/TAx5X_tDguI/AAAAAAAAAA8/4Sbdesgm5fc/s1600/DSC01842.JPG)
Also if the bouquet requires crushed garlic, I just peel whole garlic cloves and cut some shallow slits in them (2-3) to release the flavour. These can just as easily be fished out afterwards.