Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2019 – 2020

November 21, 2019 posted in General

Newsletter Summer 2019-20

Single Use Plastics

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:

We are proud of the exceptional storage qualities of our high-barrier laminate plastic bags, however from time to time we agonize over the eco-friendliness (or not) of our plastic packaging. We found it interesting that another food company has thoroughly researched the glass-versus-laminate question.  Put briefly, the Life Cycle Assessment conducted at RMIT University found that their non-recyclable pouch uses less non-renewable energy and less water to produce, and emits less CO2 equivalents over its entire life cycle than a glass jar.  They also pointed out that nearly half of Australia’s recyclable glass is not recycled in Australia, so the environmental effects of shipping the glass out of the country need to be taken into account as well.

We are doing our best to bring you the best quality product and not overburden our environment. Naturally, we cannot compromise on keeping your spices as fresh as possible. We are constantly watching for developments in packaging, and are hopeful that a recyclable or bio-degradable bag with equivalent barrier properties of our current packaging is not too far away.

Shortage of Cardamom Seeds

Further to our comments in the latest Newsletter about star anise being used in the making of Tamiflu, a contact in the know has let us know that Tamiflu’s effect is in doubt, so maybe our star anise supplies are safe! But it’s a case of “one door opens, another closes”, as we face drastic shortages of cardamom seeds.  The importation of seeds of any kind has become more difficult due to new Australian bio-security regulations introduced recently. That combined with low harvests in India (our source) and Guatemala (another major producer) you may have to stock up on whole green cardamom pods, and peel the husk away to avail yourself of the seeds as you need them.  That’s what we’ll be doing in order to continue to include ground cardamom in retail packs.

What’s New at Herbie’s?

Summer Salmon Salad

Summer Box of Ideas

Lots of new kit ideas, that’s what! Our Summer Box of Ideas for this season contains Jamaican Jerk seasoning and Brazilian spice mix for your summer barbecues, plus our lovely Native Lemon Pepper for your seafood (pictured is the Salmon Salad Recipe that is enclosed in the kit), Mixed Herbs for your stuffings and hamburgers, and Sugar and Spice for your sweet treats.  In our bright summer sky blue box, it’s $25.00 plus postage.

Risotto Blend and Black Garlic Powder

Also new for summer is our beautiful Risotto spice mix.  It’s never been easier to have a deliciously tasty risotto with the simplest of ingredients.  Just add a couple of teaspoons of Risotto spice mix to your stock, add some lovely seasonal vegetables, and stand by for the adulation from your diners!  After the sad demise of our black garlic bulbs (see latest newsletter), we have now found some amazing black garlic powder, which is pure umami, and we’ve used it as an important ingredient in the new spice blend, along with porcini powder, thyme, parsley, pepper, coriander seed and paprika. A 20g pack, priced at $6.75, will make two batches of risotto.

Ginspiration Plus

During winter, we visited Tasmania to do some classes for Hill Street Grocer, in Hobart and Devonport.  It’s impossible to fail to notice the plethora of boutique gin producers in Tasmania, most of them featuring the pepperberry which is native to that state.  We encourage you to seek out some of these boutique gins, which are really excellent.  Inspired, we played around with some Australian native spices in conjunction with our Ginspiration Kit, and were very pleased with the results.  That put us in a tricky situation … do we change what is already in our Ginspiration Kit, or make another one?  The solution, as we saw it, was to keep our excellent popular gin-making kit as it is, and have a little add-on box of spices for those who want to have more fun and experiment further with more than the traditional flavours.  So, we are happy to introduce Ginspiration Plus, an enhanced two-box bundle for $85.00 … making your own gin has never been so much fun!

Japanese Spice Kit

Brand new in time for Christmas is the Japanese Spice Kit, packed with Furikake Seasoning, Sansho powder, Katsu curry, ground ginger and Shichimi Togarashi, with some excellent recipes to get you started on your Japanese adventure. Due to the sky-high cost of Sancho powder, this kit is a little more expensive than most, but still reasonable at $45.00.  It’s in our purple box, in line with all the other cuisine-specific kits.

Kashmiri Saffron

Watch this space – our consistently superior Kashmiri saffron is about to have a downward price adjustment. Now there’s an early Christmas gift for everyone!

Travel in India

We’re thoroughly Indian-infused, back from a wonderful trip to northern parts of India, with 19 of the best travelling companions, and we’re off again in January to the south.  Just love those spices, the wonderful food, the amazing history and the delightful people that we meet along the way.

Peugeot Salt and Pepper Grinders

There’s great pleasure to be had in really good salt and pepper grinders that are easily adjustable and truly functional.  We have sourced a beautiful pack of Peugeot salt and pepper grinders, which we are offering in time for Christmas with complimentary Herbie’s Peppermill Blend and Spiced Salt, to get you started.  You’ll find all the details on the website.

 

Happy Holidays and Happy Spicing

Herbie and Liz

Explore All
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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
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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,
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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.

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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!

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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ALL ABOUT ZA’ATAR

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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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.

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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.

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