Herbie’s Newsletter Autumn 2020

February 27, 2020 posted in Food

Our Best Wishes

The start of this New Year and new decade has been memorable for all the wrong reasons, and our hearts go out to all those who have been directly and indirectly affected by the extreme weather and terrible fires.  A fire that started in the same road as our factory mercifully went in the other direction and left us with just ash to clean up.  Others have not been so lucky.

Herbie’s Spices Retail Area

Over the past few years, some of you have gradually found our little retail counter at the door of our Charmhaven factory, where you can tell us your wish list and we will hurry to the dispatch area to bring what you want.  This year brings exciting changes, as we do a little re-shuffle of our space and create a proper retail area where you can browse, ask questions, and take your time. We look forward to welcoming more of you as word gets around.  We’re just minutes from the freeway, should you happen to be driving between Sydney and Newcastle!

Our Indian Adventure

Our year began with another trip to India with a happy group of seventeen lovely travellers.  Exploring just the south of this fascinating continent gave us a good experience of the regionality of Indian food, from the peppery Chettinad to the French-inspired Pondicherry cuisine (home of our delicious Vadouvan curry blend), and the coconut-rich seafood of Kerala.  Is there another Indian adventure in the pipeline?  Well, maybe; if you fancy a trip in March/April 2021, let us know.

Aloo Gobi Spice Blend

Our Indian sojourn in 2019 was to the north in autumn.  Seasonal food was abundant, and we encountered aloo gobi everywhere we went.  (Aloo = potato, gobi = cauliflower.  Look, you are speaking Hindi!)  We all came home wanting to cook this delicious vegetarian dish, without too much bother, so Herbie did his thing and came up with an Aloo Gobi spice blend.  The recipe is conveniently on the back of the pack.

Golden Grill Spice

We were sad to see the demise of Healthy Life stores in NSW; they had been customers of ours for many years, and they had asked us to create a turmeric-rich blend especially for them.  Rather than let a perfectly good blend fall into oblivion, we have given it a little tweak and re-named it Golden Grill spice. Have it with vegetable stir-fries, grilled white meats, and in your autumn soups, to add the goodness of turmeric to your diet.

One Pot Wonders

Also new this season is a simple little $25.00 kit in a pale green box, that we have called One Pot Wonders.  For those time-poor times when you need something in a hurry, have a few of these little stars in the freezer.  And on a cool autumn day, set aside a bit of time to cook a few of these delicious meals for later.  With packs of our Tagine Spice blend, Herbs de Provence, Curry Mix with whole seeds, and Italian Herbs, you have a world of flavour at your fingertips!

Box of Ideas

Speaking of kits, naturally we have our brand new Box of Ideas for this autumn.  Lavender, ajowan, peppermill blend, Turkish spice mix and American Spicy BBQ are featured this time, with lots of easy, tasty recipes to share with friends and family.  In the autumnal russet-red box, it’s $25.00 plus postage.

Labels & QR Codes

What’s happened to the labels?  Yes, you’re not imagining it: the labels definitely have a different background colour.  Here’s the reason:  the new labels are actually the original shade that we started with in 1997.  Over the years, the shade gradually crept to the almost-dull yellow of 2019, until we suggested to our printer that the original pale cream background be re-instated.

What’s that funny square filled with squiggles on the back of our pack?  It’s called a QR code, and here’s how you use it.  Scan it with your smart phone and it will take you to more information about that product on our website.  You’ll find more details and, at this stage, recipes for most products.  (Give us time and we’ll fill it with even more good things!)

Postage Calculations

A great many of you take advantage of our website to order your spices.  It’s the way of the world, ordering whatever you want online, and many online stores offer free shipping.  Does anyone really believe that shipping is free?  A 500g Express Post bag costs over $12.00 at the Post Office – a little cheaper for us as we buy hundreds at a time and get a little discount.  Now let’s face it, someone has to pay for that postage.  If a vendor offers free shipping, you can be pretty sure that shipping is loaded into the price.  We prefer to give you the honest price of each product, and show you that the postage is added at the end.

Our postage is calculated at a flat $8.80, plus 22 cents per pack (incl. GST).  It’s   impossible to have a perfect system with online orders – sometimes we are a bit ahead, sometimes we lose a bit.  If you order just one pack of spice, you are possibly going to pay more for postage than you do for the spice.  Think carefully whether there might be one or two other spices you could use, to make the postage more reasonable for what you’re spending.

Upcoming classes: We’re visiting old friends at The Essential Ingredient in Surry Hills at 11.30 on 8th March, and other old friends, The Sydney Seafood School, for an evening blending and cooking class on 20th April.  Why not join us? To book, just click here: Sydney Seafood School and use promo code/voucher HERBIES for a 20% discount.

Happy Spicing

Herbie and Liz

Explore All

Meal Ideas for Isolation

We thought that in these unprecedented times, it would be appropriate to share some handy meal ideas to ease the stress of isolation and potentially limited food sources. Having to self-isolate creates an opportunity to brush up your cooking skills and have some fun experimenting with some flavours you may not have tried before. Let’s face it, everyone can cook. Have you ever grilled

Spices and Spice Blends for Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking

In this short video, Ian "Herbie" Hemphill talks about how Herbie's Spices, herbs and spice blends are all suitable for vegetarian and vegan cooking. A great spice blend for vegan meals is Aloo Gobi Masala. All ingredients are listed on the labels, so you know exactly what you are getting. For a wealth of information on spices, herbs and making your own spice blends,

Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2019 – 2020

We’re all in accord about single-use plastics. Having seen huge drifts of plastic in the pristine seas off the Indonesian islands, we know just how important it is to get rid of those shopping bags, plastic wraps and sandwich bags. When one gets emotional about bad plastics, it’s easy to begin to demonize all plastics, and perhaps it’s timely to repeat this message from our Newsletter of some years ago.


Spices & More in South India Jan-Feb 2020

We invite you to join us, Herbie and Liz, as we return to our beloved India to take you to some places where many tourists don’t go! And some amazing places that you just can’t miss. This is designed as a holiday, not an endurance test, and we have made the itinerary a little more leisurely than some earlier tours, so that you arrive home refreshed and well. Be a part of our small group and join the fun!


Herbie’s Newsletter Spring 2019

What kind of meal do you think of when you hear the word “curry”?  The origin of our English word is Kari, meaning a spiced sauce.  The English took the idea back home from the colonies, and the classic Madras curry – well-balanced and flavoursome - became a staple in the English household.  The French, meanwhile, had colonized the Pondicherry area on the south-eastern

Newsletter Winter 2019

What is Single Origin? We see it emblazoned on tea, coffee, spices and other foodstuffs.  It’s pretty simple really.  If all your potatoes have been grown in the Hunter Valley, they are single origin from that region – they don’t all have to come from the same farm. If, say, a coffee blender buys beans from Africa and South America, and mixes them all

Easter Spice Essentials

With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to think about the spices you’ll need for your Easter recipes. For all those sweet recipes such as cakes, biscuits and hot cross buns, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and cardamom are traditional, along with Mixed Spice. For extra fragrance and flavour, try using our Fragrant Sweet Spice Blend as an aromatic substitute. Easter is a great time

Herbie’s Newsletter – Winter 2022

Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us …..  on 7th July this year we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of Herbie’s Spices.  When we opened the doors of our little shop in the chilli-red terrace in Rozelle, little did we know that it would become a destination for local, interstate and international cooks and foodies.  Our business plan all those years

Peppercorns – What’s Your Favourite?

When we think of peppercorns, it is easy to think of them in terms of black pepper, and well, is black pepper just black pepper? More about white pepper and other pepper varieties later, for now we want to tell you about the different black peppercorns, and the nuances in aroma and taste each type has. Pepper vines are a particularly attractive sight in

Herbie’s Newsletter Autumn 2022

We took a break over the Christmas/New Year period, and arrived home, tired and jet-lagged, to a mostly empty fridge.  It was definitely a moment to appreciate our hero spice mix, Lentil and Dhal Spice, which pulled together a delicious, easy meal using pantry staples and surviving silverbeet in the pot outside our kitchen door.  What did we eat? This: SPICED RED LENTIL AND

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


Za’atar, (often spelled zaatar, zartar, zatar) is a Middle Eastern spice blend that is used to flavour breads, and to season dishes in much the same manner as Mixed Herbs are used in Western cooking. The term Za’atar tends to create some confusion in the marketplace, as this Arabic word is used in many Middle Eastern countries to describe both the herb thyme, and

Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2021 – 2022

This time last year, we thought the worst of COVID-19 was behind us.  We know now that it was just the beginning of another annus horribilis thanks to the Delta strain, but our changed conditions seemed to bring kindness and humanity to the fore.  As always, food has been a comfort and a blessing.  We’re coming to you a little earlier than the new

Herbie’s Newsletter – Spring 2021

Home Made Pizza Like so many Australians, we have had plenty of lock-down time during winter.  Our fabulous local pizzeria closed for a time, and we had to make our own pizza – not so difficult, really.  Here’s a simple dough recipe: mix 400g white bread flour with 1½ teaspoons of dry yeast and 1 teaspoon Italian Herbs.  Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in

Welcome to our New Website

The first thing you will notice is that this website looks quite different to the one you may be used to. In response to the many questions we have received from our customers over the years, we have built in many new features that will enhance your shopping experience. While navigating the site is intuitive, we've described some of the many new features here.

Herbie’s Spices Newsletter – Winter 2021

Following through on our gradual revision of the Spice Kits, we’ve had a look at the Al Fresco kit.  At our place, outdoor meals often include big sharing platters, which enable those who are hungry to really dig in, and those with bird-like appetites to pick gently at morsels, without any embarrassment about how much is put on, or left on, the plate.  So we’ve

Black Pepper Beef Recipe at Spice Village, Kumily, Kerala, India

Braised Black Pepper Beef, with Chef Manoj at Spice Village, Kumily, Kerala, India Serves 4-6 1kg beef tenderloin, trimmed Masala Marinade 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil ½ cup grated fresh coconut 2 shallots, peeled and sliced 2 teaspoons coriander seeds 5 small dried red chillies, seeds removed and chopped 3 sprigs curry leaves 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper Braising Curry Sauce 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut

Herbie’s Spices Newsletter – Autumn 2021

We trust that you have all survived Australia’s quiet introduction to the new year. Isn’t it wonderful that, in times of trial and frustration, cooking, eating and sharing bring such consolation? For those of us separated from our loved ones by insurmountable obstacles, we can be encouraged by improving conditions this year.


Herbie makes Avial (South Indian Vegetable Curry) in South India

Herbie loves being in South India, the food and the people. In this video he makes Avial (a South Indian Vegetable Curry). Making lightly spiced meals is one of life’s great pleasures, made all the simpler with our Herbie’s Spices all-natural spice blends.

Join the inner circle

Herbie’s Spices Inner Circle fills a need in the community of cooks and food lovers for early-access & upcoming events to all those hard-to-find herbs and spices.

Please enter valid email.