Newsletter Summer 2015 – 2016

December 01, 2015 posted in General

Low Calorie Spice Kit

As we head towards yet another Olympic year, it might be a good time to think about fitness.  Not elite fitness in our case, we hasten to add, but a level of well-being that makes life enjoyable.  Christmas is notoriously the weight-gain season, with those Christmas party nibbles, irresistible cheese platters and calorie-rich sparkling wine, along with our feeling that it’s okay to let our hair down, foodwise, after another challenging year.   While you’re having fun, keep in mind that what you put on now you’ll have to take off later.  Our great new Low Calorie Spice Kit will help you sail through those low-cal days, and you’ll reap the benefits in the fantastic feeling of dropping a few kilos.

Growing Produce

One of the pleasures of summer is growing some of your own produce, even if it’s just a little trough on the balcony or windowsill.  Whilst self-sufficiency is just a dream for most of us, it’s a good feeling to pick a little sprig of parsley, or even an entire lettuce, to augment our store-bought groceries.  People get very upset to see coriander plants leap from cute seedlings to lanky, adolescent-seeming, flower-producing giants almost overnight … don’t fight it, embrace the change, and harvest your own fresh coriander seeds once the flowers have finished.  A freshly-picked coriander seed is juicy and lemony, so instead of nipping your flower-heads in the bud, stand by for a real seasonal treat.  Coriander leaves change their appearance once flowering begins, but the smaller ferny leaves have the same flavour as the larger youthful leaves, and you can still use them.

What’s New at Herbies?

Ginspiration Kit

Well, we have something exciting for the person who has everything … a gin-making kit, priced at $65.00!  The new Ginspiration Kit contains allspice and juniper berries, orange peel, coriander and fennel seeds, orris root, rose petals, lavender, grains of paradise and peppercorns (a very full box indeed!) so you just need to team it with a decent bottle of vodka and your special someone can make bespoke gin.  As the spices are individual rather than pre-blended, each batch can be varied to suit each g-individual taste.  You can imagine the fun we had researching this!  The kit contains enough juniper berries for 2 batches, with some left over, and ample for several batches of some of the other spices.

Summer Box of Ideas

Also new is our 2015-16 Summer Box of Ideas, of course, bringing you new ideas for the season, with four packs to inspire you, at the usual price of $25.00.  This season we bring you lovely Australian-grown premium oregano leaves, Fragrant Sweet Spice, Smokey Barbecue Spice, and our unique Catch of the Day spice, with recipes for salads, sweet things, seafood and more.  This simple little box is a great way to introduce someone you know to the world of spices in the easiest possible way.

Do you love our native Australian spices and blends?  The special uniqueness of these products is part of their charm, however it does mean that, in the event of a crop failure or shortage, there is no alternative country from which we can source them.  There is an availability crisis right now that means some of our much-loved Aussie blends may be temporarily out of stock.  Here’s a hint: stock up on your favourites, and broaden your outlook so that you can try something new if they have become unavailable.

Spice Kit Changes

A little change is always refreshing, and our Barbecue Spice Kit has been changed to include the fabulous Chimmichurri Spice Mix.  You’ll be blown away by the idea of Brazilian-style broccoli steaks on the barbecue!  And the Thrilling Grilling Kit has had a small amendment to include our tasty Creole Spice Mix. This is how we made a positive of a negative when Australian native spices became scarce!

What is Fennel Pollen

It is actually finely shaved fennel flowers (with a little incidental pollen thrown in), with a small, crumbly consistency.  Use fennel pollen when you are looking for a light-as-a-feather, ethereal version of the sweetly anise flavour of fennel.  We love to sprinkle it over little chocolate melting moments before baking.

Price Changes

Well, it had to happen … price changes come into effect from the beginning of December.  As you know, our prices do fall as well as rise, as we reflect what’s happening in the market.  The drop in the Australian dollar has cost us dearly, and, as foreshadowed in a previous newsletter, crunch time has come, although we have kept individual rises as minimal as possible.

Discover New Flavour Favourites

As you know, almost every Herbie’s label carries a recipe on the back, to give you a starting point in making good use of your spice or spice blend.  It makes us sad to think that some of you use that recipe exclusively, without exploring further dimensions of the product.  Naturally, we all have our favourites – for example, the good old Berbere Chicken recipe is often employed in our kitchen.  Recently, we had all the ingredients for Berbere Chicken but found we were – alas! – out of Berbere spice mix.  Making the same recipe using the Smokey Barbecue blend was a delightful discovery, so go ahead, mix and match to find new flavour favourites.

Thanks to all of you who signed up for our bright, paper-free on-line Newsletter.  You can also choose to receive our monthly recipe update by clicking on Recipes on the website and opting for the monthly recipe update.

We spent part of October visiting Kashmir to see the saffron harvest, a wonderful experience.  Saffron likes quite harsh conditions, so the freezing winters and short, hot summers of this region are ideal.  Each saffron bed is raised, so that the acres and acres of saffron look as though they have been neatly laid out with double mattresses!

One would like to imagine fields of purple crocus flowers in great profusion, however, the pickers go out every four days to collect whatever flowers have opened during the three-week flowering period, so the aspect is mostly bare-looking ground and a sprinkling of flowers that have come up since the earlier picking.  Have you noticed that our Kashmiri saffron has a softer, silkier feel than any other saffron?  This is because the stigmas of the flower are spread out on cotton to dry at room temperature, rather than being dried over heat.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season.  May your Christmas cooking be fabulous, and your New Year safe and happy.  Happy Spicing!

Herbie and Liz

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