Newsletter Summer 2018 – 2019

November 16, 2018 posted in General


Food safety … food security … everyone hears the term, but unless you’re in the industry, you don’t quite know what it means.  So let us fill you in on just what is involved in keeping your herbs and spices the way you want them to be.  Certification by HACCP is the first step.  The letters stand for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, and means that risks are assessed and pre-empted before problems occur, using a paper trail that ensures that everything is accountable and traceable.  Quarantine of allergens is a good example … we have a dedicated mixer in a separate area, used only for nut and sesame mixes such as Dukkah and Za’atar, and nut raw materials are kept in a separate quarantined area shut away from all our other herbs and spices. A total clean-down process follows immediately after packing any products that contain possible allergens.

Allergens such as gluten are measured in parts per million.  If any trace is found, it must be declared (in other parts of the world, a small leeway is allowed).  So if you can imagine three grains of wheat amongst one million coriander seeds, that’s enough to mean that our labeling must show that presence as “may contain traces of gluten”.  This tiny amount can be due to wind-borne glutens when a field of wheat is nearby to a field of coriander.

We are constantly vigilant with our incoming goods, as we are in an industry that is older than the Bible, and full of tricksters and age-old adulteration practices that are only slowly reducing. Trusted suppliers send their goods with a certificate of analysis, but sometimes the more unusual spices come from very remote rural areas where this is not possible. Analysis of imported materials is an ongoing cost for us, in order to be sure that we are worthy of the trust you put in us.



What’s new at Herbie’s? We’ve been busy creating a truly magical Rose Harissa – if you love our original Harissa, you’ll find this one a little milder and more complex.  Use it to make a sauce, or mix to a paste with oil and water and spread onto chicken before roasting or steaming.





Also new, by special request, is Bill’s Steak Rub, in honour of our Californian stockist, Bill Williamson (see more later).  It’s his favourite combination of porcini powder, pepper, onion, garlic and paprika for the perfect barbecue result.




There are two new spice kits in time for your Christmas shopping … or shopping for yourself and your family.  The Box of Ideas, as always, brings new and different products to you every season. This Summer we’re looking at classic favourites that are appropriate for Christmas … Turkey Stuffing Mix, Gunpowder, Quatre Epices Savoury, Apple Pie Spice, and Satay Spice Mix.  You’ll have all your holiday catering solved, for the modest cost of $25.00 plus postage.


Also sparkling new is our blue Vegan Kit, full of delightful healthy recipes enhanced by our Yemini “Hawaij” Mix, Furikake Seasoning, Bread Maker’s Seed Mix, Barberries, Korma Curry Mix and Ras el Hanout Super.  Recipes include Pea Hummus with Seeded Crackers, Super Noodle Salad, Hawaij Roasted Carrots and lots more delicious meals.  You don’t have to be a committed vegan to love this kit in our $38.00 range – it’s all delicious!


We also have good news for gin makers … diced orris root.  You can now make your own gin without the cloudiness of a powder. So when you draw that person-who-has-everything in your Kris Kringle, and you opt for our Ginspiration Kit, the diced orris root will be a star inclusion in the kit.








There have been cries of shock and horror when it’s discovered that things are not what they seem – the oregano adulterated with olive leaves some time ago, and more recently the honey that proved to be not quite all honey.  Look at it this way … when supermarkets promise ever-cheaper prices, and consumers want to pay less and less, it’s a case of getting what you pay for.  When a producer is forced to sell a product for less than it costs to produce, naturally, that producer will minimize the cost by adding a cheaper component, or go out of business, leaving a team of blameless workers out of work. The ball’s in the court of the consumers.



Over 21 years, a chap’s allowed to change his mind, right?  Herbie has reviewed his Herbie’s Favourites kit, after over 15 years, to reflect his all-time favourites, in his favourite curry-coloured box, it’s now $38.00.



We recently paid a visit to our Californian stockist, Williamson Wines, in the pretty village of Healdsburg.  It’s always refreshing to see a different take on the use of spices and blends … for instance, a marrying of horseradish and Shichimi Togarashi coating a thinly-sliced steak fillet.  What a fantastic and unexpected use for a blend that we had always expected to see used mostly with seafood!  Cajun spice mix used on chicken wings with mirin and sesame oil was another delightful surprise.  These fresh looks at old favourites can remind us all to keep our minds open to new possibilities at all times.


Are you a Rozelle local?  We’re going to be in Rozelle at The Essential Ingredient’s Christmas bash on 29th November, from 5.00 to 8.00pm.  We’ll be showcasing our Ginspiration gin, and showing you some quick dip ideas for your entertaining season.


Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition

We wish you all the very best for your Christmas and holiday season.

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.