HERBIE'S BLOG

Herb and Spice Bible

Behind the Scenes

Pepper and Salt

In India, Pepper is the King of Spices and Cardamom the Queen! Recipes say "Season to taste" and people ask "With what?" Answer: to season always means with salt. We were visited by a lovely customer, David. David wanted to know what are the best peppercorns, and all the food shops he visited told him that they had all kinds of salt, but "Yeah,

Behind the Scenes

What’s so Special About Aleppo Pepper?

Besides being a popular spice for Yotam Otolenghi, Aleppo Pepper is becoming the go-to chilli for many cooks and food lovers. Why would a style of chilli be called a pepper? After all it is not a peppercorn! Let’s start with a bit of background. You may recall that Christopher Columbus was sailing west to get to the Indonesian spice islands, because he guessed

Behind the Scenes

Nigella – ‘The Spice That is’!

Cooks are discovering a culinary seed spice that believe it or not has been ubiquitous for many years. Those little black seeds we see on Turkish bread, are more often than not nigella seeds! The nigella of culinary use is an erect annual, a member of the buttercup family and close relative to the decorative plant that is known as ‘love-in-a-mist’ (N. damascena). Nigella

Cooking

Enjoy a Spicy Christmas with Family & Friends

Christmas is a great time to spend with friends and family. Celebrate the festive season with these fantastic recipes and truly wow your guests.

General

We Need to Talk About Ras el Hanout and………

The way popularity can start a race to the bottom! Let me begin by sharing my thoughts on Pot-Pourri, a now devalued and bastardised item. Some history: When I was growing up in my parent’s herb & spice business in the 1960’s, I would earn pocket money helping my father harvest scented plants to make his classic Pot-Pourri. Pot-Pourri was a traditional blend of

Behind the Scenes

Juniper, Gin and Ginspiration!

Making your own bespoke gin can be fun and satisfying if you have the right botanicals. Herbie’s Spices Ginspiration Spice Kit, combined with a vodka of your choosing, is a great way to commence your gin journey. Juniper Berries are the main ingredient that must be used to call a product Gin. However there are a number of other botanicals, which when used in

Behind the Scenes

Spice Facts and the Brilliance of Blending

We receive many questions about the world of spices, and in particular what makes a truly wonderful spice blend. The following article answers those questions, and we hope provides much more useful information. Spice Essentials In spices, we are fortunate enough to have a hobby that is also our passion, our business, and our livelihood … and it’s something that other people also find

Behind the Scenes

There’s More to Cloves than Christmas

There's More to Cloves than Christmas When studding the Christmas ham with cloves last year, in preparation for coating with our special glaze, we thought people may be interested to know some facts about this wonderful spice. Following is an extract from Spice Notes & Recipes by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill. Although this edition is out of print it has been replaced by The Spice

General

Some Spiced Holiday Reading

With the holiday season fast approaching after the flurry of Christmas activities, I thought some of you may be interested in some spiced holiday reading of a chapter from my book Spice Travels. In 2002, Spice Travels, A Spice Merchant’s Voyage of Discovery was published. Introduction Spice Travels has given me a wonderful opportunity to share many of the spice experiences I have had while in

Behind the Scenes

Is Cassia Really Cinnamon?

Yes! Cassia is a variety of cinnamon as previously explained in our “Cinnamon Facts” Blog. Chinese cassia, Batavia or Indonesian cassia, and Saigon or Vietnamese cassia are harvested in a different manner from Sri Lankan cinnamon. Various cassia botanical names are (Cinnamomum cassia, C. burmannii, C. lourerii and C. tamala) and many years ago was called Saigon Cinnamon in the USA, and  Dutch Cinnamon, Baker’s Cinnamon, Bastard Cinnamon and

Behind the Scenes

WHAT IS ACHIOTE?

WHAT IS ACHIOTE? Achiote is another name for annatto seeds, (Bixa orellana) and achiote paste is the Mexican condiment that gets its main flavour from annatto seeds. So what are annatto seeds? Annatto seeds are collected from a relatively small tropical evergreen tree that grows 5–10 m high. The leaves are heart-shaped, glossy and provide an attractive background to the large bright pink flowers, which have the

Cooking

How to Make a Curry

How to Make a Curry When it comes to spice blending, making a curry powder from scratch is one of the best ways to gain an understanding as to how the various flavour characteristics work to create a harmonious and interesting blend. The Main Types of Spices Spices can be grouped into five basic categories.  These are; sweet, pungent, tangy, hot, and amalgamating.  The

Behind the Scenes

Turmeric Explained

Turmeric is receiving worldwide interest, due to the many health-giving properties being debated by scientists, and natural health practitioners. Whatever you believe about turmeric (and a Google search will give you lots of pros and cons), we believe it is a wonderful spice, and one that can be enjoyed culinarily in many different ways. We are not health practitioners, as our expertise relates only

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