NEWSLETTER WINTER 2018
This time last year, we were considering another visit to India, after several years’ break from taking groups to that wonderful, ever-stimulating continent.
Well, it happened, it was great fun, and we’re back.
Highlights must include the hair-raising cycle-rickshaw ride through the old town of Varanasi; the vibrant, thrilling Holi day of colours; a visit to a small government school outside Deogarh, where one teacher ran a school for 65 students; and of course, day after day of truly fabulous food.
Eating succulent fresh chickpeas straight from the stem in the Jaipur markets was a new experience – the tops of the plant are cut in 50-60cm lengths, the housewife picks the peas from the stem and then the stem becomes fodder for the cows.
There was a time when no self-respecting (and self-preserving) tourist would take a chance on salads in India. Those days are gone, assuming your hotel is of a certain standard, and this delicious, simple and elegant salad was such a hit that we asked the chef for the recipe:
Aloo Chana Chat
Rough translation: Chick Pea and Potato snack
- 2 cups cooked, cooled chick peas
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 3 large green chillies, chopped
- ½ teaspoon Chaat Masala
- 1 Tablespoon green chutney
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon tamarind liquid concentrate
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- 3 medium potatoes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Small handful coriander leaves
Peel and boil potatoes, cut into small cubes or mash lightly. Mix the potato and chickpeas with onion, tomato and green chillies. Add pomegranate seeds, Chaat Masala, salt, tamarind concentrate and green chutney. Mix well and transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve at once.
And while we’re on the subject of India …. Gunpowder!! This shot of heat is the latest thing at trendy mod-Indian restaurants around the world, as a garnish and as a fuse-lighting trickle that leads to an explosion of flavour. Herbie analysed the components of this spicy blend whilst we were in India, and now you can buy it in a 30 gram pack, for $4.90.
We have noticed a growing interest in Kashmiri-style (basaar) curry lately. When we were in Srinagar a couple of years ago, we were impressed with the dark, rich, slow-cooked mutton or goat curries. So Herbie has put together a spicy combination of the usual curry spices like chilli, cumin, coriander, turmeric and pepper, combined with the more subtle contribution of fenugreek, caraway, cardamom, cloves, asafetida and dagar phool. If you like your curries hot and hearty, this is the one for you – in a 40g pack at $5.50, you’ll have enough to make two batches of curry for four people.
The winter Box of Ideas has some lovely flavours for you, with our popular Turmeric Seafood Rub, warming Thai-style Green Curry, spicy and versatile Berbere, and our rich Quatre Epices Sweet blend, in our frosty-white box, at the usual price of $25.00 plus postage.
Who doesn’t love haloumi, that rubbery, squeaky cheese that delivers such a tasty punch of saltiness? Having indulged in a brick-sized block of it, a slice or two of haloumi browned in the pan has been our snack of choice lately. We give it individuality by sprinkling with a spice mix before it hits the pan – Sydney Spice (aka Balmain and Rozelle Spice), Smokey Barbecue, smoked paprika and our new Gunpowder are our current favourites. Which of our blends do you use on your haloumi?
We all love a hearty pea and ham soup on a chilly day, and we’ve made a discovery that makes it even better! Add a tablespoon of our delicious, turmeric-rich Tempero Baiano spice mix to the soup as it’s cooking … just fantastic!
You will remember the sad vanilla story, of thefts and shortages, that was in our recent Autumn newsletter. Well, sometimes events run in strange ways … we were able to access some vanilla beans from a different source, but when they arrived we very quickly decided that, although the flavour was fine, they were not up to our quality standard.
So we popped them in a dehydrator for a day or so, ground them finely, and – hey presto! – we have some really lovely vanilla bean powder. It will help to tide you over the scarcity of whole beans, and it’s here just in time to enhance your winter bowl of porridge. It’s $12.00 for a 20g pack.
Lentil and Dhal spice, Shichimi Togarashi, and Butter Chicken spice mix have stormed into our Top 100 range. If they’re not on your list of favourites, take the recommendation of your fellow Herbie’s consumers and get acquainted with these great, easy, spice blends.
Hooray! Wattleseed, that crunchy, richly coffee-flavoured little miracle is back in stock, in both whole and ground forms. We can have Choc Wattleseed biscuits again, using the recipe on the back of the pack. They’re just the ticket with coffee or a nice cup of tea.
We’re off to Perth to do some classes with our good friends at Matters of Taste. There is still some room for you to attend the class on Saturday 2nd June. Just go to the Matters of Taste website www.mattersoftaste.com.au or call them on (08) 9319 1097. We’d love to see you!
Happy spicing, Herbie & Liz