NEWSLETTER: Winter 2002
- Herbie visits central Australia
- What's new at Herbie's
- Queensland Blue Tasty Bites
- As the cooler weather draws in
- Herbie visits Lismore & some housekeeping
Herbie visits central Australia
Herbie recently made a trip to Central Australia to research bush tomatoes, also known, in their crushed form, as akudjura. During his couple of days north-west of Alice Springs, he was priveleged to accompany three of the women of the Warlipri tribe as they foraged for the ripe "kudjura" berries and witchetty grubs. (Did you know that witchetty grubs are only found in the root of the witchetty bush?) The bush tomatoes ripen and dry on a low-growing, scrubby little bush, and are picked by hand by the local women. The other name for bush tomato is desert raisin, which gives you some idea of the tangy, acid, yet sweetly caramel flavour of this unique berry.
We first made the Egyptian spice blend, Dukkah, about four years ago. Then we got to thinking, there's a possibility for a play on words with the good old Aussie word, ockker. On Herbie's return from Central Australia, our minds started ticking, and we now have Ockkah, the Aussie dukkah. Besides the pistachios, hazels, and sesame seeds which are the body of the blend, there are akudjura, ground native pepperberries, and wattleseed to give a finished product with a fantastic nutty flavour and surprising sweetness from the native spices.
What's new at Herbie's
What else is new at Herbie's? The muse has been busy, and we're proud to introduce our new Korma curry mix - a mild, flavourful curry ideal for lamb or chicken. We've helped you out with a recipe on the back of the pack, enhanced with yoghurt, saffron and ground almonds - cooked on top of the stove or in the oven, it's a sure-fire winner.
Over the past year, we've had several customers asking about a Salt and Pepper Squid seasoning, sometimes called "Prickly Ash" because Szechaun peppercorns are the empty seed pods from the prickly ash tree. Always keen to fulfil the wishes of our customers, we've done as they requested. It's a simple blend with the right proportions of sea salt, ground black pepper, ground Szechuan pepper, and chilli, which are toasted in a dry pan before coating your seafood and stir-frying. The effect is simple, tasty and delicious.
Last in the line-up of new products, but certainly not least, is a super Szechuan Spice, which was inspired by fantastic hawker-stall meals of Szechuan chicken many years ago when we were residing in Singapore. Szechuan food is characteristically very hot, and the Singapore version sported handfuls of fried dried long chillies! Our mouth-watering version contains plenty of chilli, but remember to add the long chillies if you want to make it even hotter.
From time to time we need to review the contents of the spice kits. As the prices of various spices fluctuate, we can find that we are selling a kit for a fixed price of $27.50, while the contents might be worth up to $31.00 - this is not good for us! A great deal of thought goes in to making sure the kits are good value for you and viable for us. Naturally, when the contents of a kit change, so do the recipes, so it keeps the kit range interesting for you too. At this stage, we've taken the opportunity of including some of the new products, for example, Ockkah has just gone in to the True Blue Aussie kit, teamed with Queensland Blue pumpkin … how Strine is that? This is the recipe we've included.
A good wedge of Queensland Blue pumpkin olive oil spray Ockkah
Heat oven to 180 degrees C. Peel and seed the pumpkin, then cut into pieces approximately 3cm square. Spray an oven tray with oil, place the pumpkin squares on the tray and spray again. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Pour the ockkah into a bowl and roll the pumpkin squares, one at a time, in it. Serve the squares with drinks, at a picnic, or as a luncheon vegetable dish.
As the cooler weather draws in, the time comes when it is cosy to have dishes slow-cooked in the oven, warming your kitchen as your dinner cooks. It's a good time to re-visit our delicious, warming Tagine mix, and the Berbere chicken recipe (see back of the pack), which is just as good made with the tasty, peppery Rasam mix. In winter, the Sambar comes into its own as a true comfort food. A little chilli is warming and you don't have to make it too hot. Try this for an easy, different, meal: soak a chipotle chilli in a cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Lift the chilli out, remove the stem and seeds, and chop the flesh roughly. Use the soaking water with a good chicken stock base to make a cup of stock, then puree the chilli and stock together with a can of tomatoes and some oregano. Chop a few onions, slice and cook until transparent, then cover the base of a shallow ovenproof dish with them. Lay chicken breast or thigh pieces on the onion, pour the chilli/tomato stock over. Bake at moderate heat for about 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked. Yum.
After considerable thought, we are reviewing our opening hours. From 1st June, our new closing time (Monday to Friday) will be 5.30pm instead of 6.00pm. We have been happy to make ourselves available to those who call in on their way home from work, but as the great majority of these customers call in before 5.30, we don't think the earlier closing time will inconvenience anyone greatly. Until next time, happy spicing……