Herbie’s Newsletter – Spring 2022

August 23, 2022 posted in Behind the Scenes

What are the things that make you know what it is to be Australian?  To us it’s the feeling you have when you see a boomerang fashioned from flimsy balsawood, made in some cheap-labour offshore country, for tourists to buy for a pittance and take home as a “genuine” Australian article.  The same feeling of outrage and violation is felt by Koreans when their beloved kimchi is made using inferior, imported products to ensure a cheaper cost to consumers, bringing the entire Korean Kimchi image into disrepute.  The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Korea has revised their Kimchi Industry Promotion Act to legislate that true Korean Kimchi must be made from Korean-grown ingredients.  Why are we telling you this?  It’s to explain why our Korean Red Pepper Flakes, grown in Korea, are more expensive than some others you may find in the market place.  It’s your choice – have the genuine ones from Herbie’s, or make do with the lesser product.

Korean Red Pepper Flakes
Crunchy Salad Sprinkle

Bagel Seasoning is being talked about in some food scenes.  It’s a sprinkle to dust over your bagel, and is usually made up mostly of sesame seeds.  We don’t feel at this stage that we need to make a bagel seasoning for you, but if you do want something to add a further element of textural interest to your bagel, you could use our Bread Maker’s Seed Mix, or Crunchy Salad Sprinkle.

There’s nothing funny about having a serious allergy to nuts or glutens, and that’s why it’s mandatory for food manufacturers to declare the presence of these allergens in their products.  Just to stay out of trouble, some food producers think the safest way around it is to put a blanket “may contain traces of nuts/gluten” on all their products, which meets the requirements with a minimum of vigilance, but means that gluten/nut allergic people have to do without a product that may in fact be safe for them.  We have found an increasing number of our raw materials carry this statement, which doesn’t state clearly one way or the other what the actual status of allergens is.  So we have made the investment, both in dollars and time, to test individual shipments that arrive at our factory, so that, if there is no allergen detected, we can tell you so and you can enjoy adding that extra flavour to your meals.  Bear in mind that, if the label says a product contains gluten, that doesn’t mean that gluten has been added, just that it has been detected in the spice.  Because some of our more rare spices come from countries where quality control is basic, our vigilance is sometimes put to the test, and we recently had a time-consuming and stressful product recall as three of our labels did not reflect the possibility of the product containing peanuts or tree nuts.

Chillies Drying in the Sun in India

Mexican Barbacoa Beef

Mexican Barbacoa Beef
Mexican Barbacoa Beef

Are you aware that it’s already the run-up to another Christmas?  We’ve been feeling creative lately, and have begun a range of single-recipe kits in our cute little boxes.  To know that you have all the spices on hand, plus a fail-safe recipe, gives a nice feeling of security.  The eggplant bake is a dish we discovered in India: picture moussaka re-imagined by an Indian chef – surely the best of both worlds!

The fabulous fish stew recipe was given to us by friends from Kuwait – definitely an all-time favourite full of amazing flavours.  Slow-cooked beef is the star of our Mexican Barbacoa Beef recipe, and we know you’ll just love it.  Each kit is priced based on the spices contained, so there are different price-points.  Check them out on our website – there might be one that’s just perfect, (and the perfect too), for that music teacher or kind neighbour who deserves a little Christmas thank-you.

What’s new at Herbie’s?  Smoothies have grown in popularity over the past several years.  A smoothie is a great way to use up beautifully-ripe fruit, and a nourishing quick breakfast for busy mornings.  So we’ve made a fabulous Smoothie Booster spice mix, using flavoursome Australian native ingredients such as Davidson plum, strawberry gum and lemon myrtle, as well as traditional sweet spices like cinnamon, cassia, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.  Given a further boost with strawberry powder and ground rose petals, just a teaspoon of this blend to a cup of smoothie ingredients will delight your taste buds.  Tip: peel and freeze ripe bananas, then add broken chunks when making your smoothie to give an ice-cream-like consistency.


Our new Box of Ideas for Spring has given us many pleasurable moments as we developed the recipes for this kit.  Featuring our new Smoothie Booster as well as Bread Maker’s Seed Mix, Aloo Gobi Spice Mix and Aussie Barbecue Spice, it’s going to bring you lots of textural interest as well as great flavours.  In the baby-leaf-green box, it remains at the constant price of $25.00 plus postage.

Lemon Myrtle Flavoured Sorbet

As the warmer weather brings seasonal melons back to the stores, it’s time to remember that a little ground Lemon Myrtle tossed through chopped rockmelon is a great-tasting simple dessert.  Add just a drop of orange juice to give enough moisture to re-hydrate the lemon myrtle, and allow to stand for an hour or more before serving. This refreshing Lemon Myrtle Sorbet is to be enjoyed on a warm spring day!

I’m sure we’re not the only people who are noticing the increased cost of groceries.  Floods, war, and farmers holding back stock in order to rebuild their post-drought herds, have all played their part in increasing the weekly food bill.  Thank goodness, in times like these, for fabulous spice mixes to elevate cheaper ingredients to highly enjoyable meals.  Take chicken drumsticks, for instance – coat them with Smokey Barbecue Spice, or American Spicy Barbecue, or your favourite blend.  Fry to brown, then finish in the oven – delicious!  Mix a can of red kidney beans with a can of tomatoes and season with Lentil and Dhal spice – wholesome, low-fat and low cost as well.  Mix red kidney beans with Mexican spice blend and spoon over whole, opened baked potato – enough to satisfy a teenage boy!  Pork, as one of the more affordable meats, responds well to Sydney Spice, Jerk Seasoning, and – why not? – Pork Spice!  This Pulled BBQ Jackfruit recipe is a great vegan option. The only limit is your own imagination, and if that’s not working too well, have a look at the recipes on our website.

Vegan Pulled Jackfruit

“Happy Spicing”

Herbie & Liz

Explore All

The Mystique of Baharat Spice Blend

Baharat, also known as Lebanese Seven Spice or Advieh, has become one of the many ‘go-to’ spice blends along with Ras el Hanout and Chermoula. Herbie, always up to date or ahead with spice trends, was asked to contribute this article to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 1999. Yes, 24 years ago! This is the article: Legendary spice merchant and blender, Ian (Herbie) Hemphill, has


Herbie’s Spices Newsletter Winter 2023

When we started our operations on the Central Coast of NSW, it was a sleepy area in many ways.  How things have changed in 20 years!  We are pleased to announce that we have joined the vibrant Central Coast Maker’s Trail. Whether you have a few hours or an entire weekend to explore the Central Coast, the Makers Trail is the perfect adventure. This

Herbie’s Spices Newsletter Summer 2022 – 2023

Isn’t it surprising how quickly the seasons revolve?  Our hearts go out to those who have suffered immensely from the floods and wild weather in so many states.  For those more fortunate, we continue to eat and enjoy each other’s company.  Whether we’re celebrating Christmas, or just being together with loved ones on any other day of summer, food is always an important part

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 Kitchen July Recipes

It's that time of year when winter seems like it still has a way to go ... the evenings are still quite cold and mornings not quite light enough.  It's also when the immune system is put to the test with colds and Covid floating around. While we do not claim to be experts in medicinal spices, we do know that for thousands of

Is Chilli an Often Much Misunderstood Spice?

I awoke to the alarming news that the food regulator in Denmark has banned several varieties of a popular instant noodle brand due to it being too spicy! The regulator’s head of the Chemistry and Food Quality Division stated that the capsaicin levels were exposing consumers to chilli ‘poisoning’! Now, let’s think for a moment about what is going on here, and understand a

Herbie’s Kitchen June Recipes

With the much cooler weather we are enjoying curries even  more than usual (which is A LOT).  We have a huge range of Curry Blends, Spices, Recipes and Kits that span the large region of Asia and the wide varieties of curries you'll find.  From a coconut laden and fragrant Thai curry to a rich, deep and earthy North Indian curry, we have you covered.

Herbie’s Quarterly Newsletter

Welcome to Herbie's Quarterly Newsletter from the Spicery! We love our home-made pizza …. doesn’t everyone?  We usually mix up a paste using tomato powder and several of our other Herbie’s products in the pantry, and it’s so good that we think it should be available for everyone.  So, we’re happy to announce our new Pizza Sauce Mix.  Just mix half a pack with

Herbie’s Kitchen May Recipes

Welcome to the May Recipe Newsletter.  This month we are cooking with a host of new Italian Blends to the Herbie's range.  We now have a Garlic Bread Spice Mix, Bolognese Seasoning, Risotto Spice Blend and Pizza Sauce Mix.  This was enough to inspire us to create the ULTIMATE ITALIAN SPICE KIT, with these great blends, and Fennel Seeds and Chilli Flakes to round

Herbie’s Kitchen April Recipes

Welcome to the April Recipe Newsletter.  This month we are cooking with a wonderful selection of Australian Native Spices, Herbs & Blends.  It's great to see First Nations ingredients becoming part of the every day in Australian households and I hope you enjoy the recipes below. If you are new to cooking with Native Spices, try our TRUE BLUE kit, with 5 packs of

What is Mastic?

Mastic is the name given to the resinous gum that exudes from the scored bark of the Gum Mastic Tree. There are many varieties of mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus) in the Mediterranean and Middle East, yet most of the world’s production of gum mastic comes from the “Protected Designation of Origin” trees (P. lentiscus var. Chia) that grow on the Greek island of Chios. The name

Herbie’s Kitchen April Recipes

LATEST RECIPES FROM KATE AT HERBIE'S KITCHEN   Welcome to the March recipe newsletter, with our favourite recipes for a spice-filled Easter.  For those off on a camping or self-catering adventure, check out our Happy Campers Spice Kit for some spicy shortcuts and holiday recipes and ideas.  You can see all the Easter category recipes HERE.     EASTER BREAKFAST PUDDING This take on

Herbie’s Spices Newsletter Autumn 2024

Isn’t it wonderful that our Australian eateries, even in country towns, offer a wide and diverse range of cuisines?  It’s taken for granted that we have a choice of Italian, Turkish, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Indian, and so many more, thanks to the migrants who have chosen to live here and share their fabulous food with us. Mexican is becoming popular, but seems to be

Herbie’s Kitchen Monthly Update February 2024

LATEST RECIPES FROM KATE AT HERBIE'S KITCHEN   We've been inspired by the recent Lunar New Year to revisit our favourite Chinese-inspired dishes. Spices are an essential part of Chinese cuisine.. the unmistakeable aroma of Star Anise, or the numbing effect of Sichuan Pepper and the bite of hot dried Chilli. We have a variety of blends to make your favourite dishes with ease.  For younger

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.