Herbie’s Spices Newsletter Summer 2023 – 2024

November 25, 2023 posted in General

It’s about this time of year that we wonder where the year has gone.  It seems only last week that we packed away the Christmas decorations, and now – already!! – it’s time to be decking the halls, jingling the bells, and spicing all sorts of Christmas foods from pudding and cake to mulled wine and ham.  If you’ve not yet done your cake and/or pudding, think about mixing some Quatre Epices Sweet with the Mixed Spice, for a more spicy profile.  To be even more exciting, use some Garam Masala to replace about 25% of your Mixed Spice and enjoy the richly spiced flavour. Our latest Single Recipe Kit for Christmas Ham is a family favourite.

Of course, this is the 21st century, and many of us no longer follow the old European traditions when it comes to Christmas foods.  Often we choose to opt for something lighter and simpler to prepare for the crowds that join us in the festive season.  One of our favourite crowd-pleasers is the Middle Eastern Chicken Tray Bake that you’ll find in the recipe section of our website – it’s delicious, and easy to prepare ahead so that it just needs to be popped in the oven when needed.  Look for our Christmas Pavlova on the website too – we look forward to it every year, and it delights us every time.  If you’re in holiday mode, just make the delicious spiced syrup and use a bought pavlova shell.

Will, Herbie's Operations Manager

We’ve been a little short-staffed recently.  Julie, who mixes all our blends, was away on her honeymoon, whilst Jacinta from dispatch is on maternity leave with a beautiful baby boy.  Taylor, who packs spices with care and patience, is also in maternity leave with her equally beautiful baby boy.  Jason, our general manager, went on well-earned annual leave, while Will kept everything running smoothly. And our lovely part-time Uni students were unavailable as they studied for their exams or were on a well-earned GAP break.  So a certain person who thought she might have been retired has been bringing labeling home to keep up with demand!  It’s always good to get hands-on time with the products, and to be reminded of the great recipes on the backs of the packs.

The happy news is that everyone, with the exception of our new mothers, is back now, so there are plenty of hands on deck to make sure your Christmas orders can be quickly fulfilled.  Speaking of which, do bear in mind that even if your order leaves us promptly, the Post Office is under extra strain in December and deliveries may be slow.  The message is: put your order in early!  And a little reminder if you’re considering kits – The Christmas Feast Kit is for preparing food for your Christmas day menu, so don’t put it under the tree as a gift!

There is a lot of talk about AI these days.  You’ll find whether you’re ordering your chook food, or going online to troubleshoot your vacuum cleaner, it’s very possible that you’ll have a conversation with “Lisa” or “James” that is a bot rather than a real person.  Let us assure you here and now that we’re still real people at Herbie’s Spices.  When you contact us to ask a question, it will be answered promptly by Herbie, Kate, Will or Jason, (all real people), and we have no plans to change the way we do things.  If you ask a question at 10.30pm, you will have to wait until we’re there in the morning, but I think you’ll agree that, even if it takes a little longer, it’s worth the wait to have communication with a real person.

Over the past twenty-six years, we have developed or adapted many recipes for inclusion on labels or on the recipe sheets for our spice kits.  It occurred to us, since customers have been asking for a cookbook, that all these recipes would be useful if they were together in one place, so we’ve put together a little book called Embrace Flavour with over 150 recipes.  There are tried and trusted classics, such as Hungarian goulash with three different paprikas (why re-invent something that is so good?) and lots of original creations to show how easy it is to use spice blends. Plus lots of suggestions of alternative blends and spices to use, so that you can use just one recipe and have different flavour profiles.  We trust you’ll find it handy.  The recipes in Embrace Flavour are in addition to any of the fabulous recipes you’ll find on our website.  The younger members of our staff tell us that it’s the perfect book for those leaving the nest to start their independent lives.

Because Embrace Flavour has the same dimensions as The Spice and Herb Bible, they can fit nicely together in one shipping box, so we’ve decided to bundle them together.  You’ll save $12.00 if you order them as a bundle, and possibly find two Christmas gift solutions at the same time.

Spices and blends tend to fall into two categories as far as use goes:  those that you add by the spoonful or the pinch to your sweet or savoury cooking; and those that you sprinkle on to the finished product.  This second category includes things like chilli flakes, Furikake seasoning, bagel sprinkle, crunchy salad sprinkle, Dukkah … you get the idea.  Rather than grabbing a pinch with your fingers, wouldn’t it be nice to just shake it on?  We have found some rather nifty shakers, and have put together a kit in time for Christmas that makes it just so very easy.  The Sprinkles Kit of four shakers includes: Aleppo Pepper, American Spicy Barbecue rub, Bagel Sprinkle and Medium Heat Chilli Flakes.  What’s not to like?

Aleppy Waterways, Kerala - India

We made the hard decision to delay the trip to India planned for 2024.  However, there is now an itinerary in place for January 2025, and we’ll be launching it to interested parties early next year.  India is the world’s largest producer of spices, also the world’s largest consumer and the world’s largest exporter, so where better to take a journey of spice discovery? If you saw Joanna Lumley’s Spice Odyssey on ABC TV, she visited the breathtaking ancient city of Hampi, which is one of our proposed destinations. January is winter in India, and as the continent has been markedly affected by climate change, it is the best time to avoid unrelenting heat in the north.  The southern areas, of course, are tropical and therefore hot all year round.  Let us know if you’d like to be notified when the itinerary becomes available in January.

Happy Spicing!

And have a fabulous festive season

Herbie and Liz

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