Newsletter Winter 2019

June 03, 2019 posted in Behind the Scenes

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 together before roasting and grinding, then that coffee will not be single origin. So all of the different peppercorns in our range – Telicherry from Southern India, Kampot from Cambodia, Super Grade from Southern India, Australian from Queensland – could be said to be single origin.  We don’t bother to tell you that on the label, because it’s self-evident, really. Same goes for our saffron from Kashmir, and saffron from Iran … single origin, obviously.

Hand Selected

“Hand selected” is another of those buzz-phrases popping up on lots of labels.  Every pack of Herbie’s product is packed by hand, so again, it’s pretty self-evident that it’s hand-selected, if that’s important to you.  When it comes to actually selecting the spices that we pack for you, it’s not so much the hand that does the selecting, but the eye, the nose, and the palate of an expert that are employed to help us decide what is good enough quality for us.

We recently spent a few days in Vienna and Salzburg, enjoying centuries’ worth of amazing music and culture, glorious spring weather, and – er – predictable and old-fashioned food.  There’s nothing wrong with a Wiener Schnitzel once in a while, and the occasional strudel is not too bad either.  But it did make us wonder, are we in Australia addicted to novelty?  We clamour for new, new, new. New ways with Indian food, new-yet-ancient grains, new ways to eat gluten-free and carb-free, explorations of food that is familiar in other countries but new in our own. After consideration, We’ve concluded that we’re the clever ones, keeping food vibrant and interesting, keeping ourselves intrigued with endless possibilities.  That’s where Herbie’s Spices come in, bringing you the spice flavours from across the globe so that the foods of the world appear in brilliant authenticity in your kitchen.  And it does make sense, considering that most of us don’t do the physical work of previous generations, to look for lighter, healthier options to help us through our screen-obsessed lives.

Having said all that, it does rather turn one’s mind in the reverse direction as well, to consider the classics of our grandparents, our early migrants, our iconic cooking heroes such as Margaret Fulton, Rosemary Hemphill, Robert Carrier and their contemporaries. When did you last have a delicious, satisfying Boeuf Bourguignon, a rich lamb casserole or curry?  Surely our world is big enough for the old as well as the new.

We’ve addressed this in our Winter Box of Ideas, bringing you ideas for one-pot wonders – some for now, some to freeze for another time. This seasonal collection, in its frosty white box, contains Persian and Mexican blends, Korma curry mix, Ancho chillies and Bouquet Garni, to take your taste buds on a trip around the world, for the small round-the-world ticket price of just $25.00 plus postage.

Easter Bread Pudding

Easter Bread Pudding

Do you still have that spare pack of Hot Cross Buns in your freezer, well after the children have eaten their fill?  We can’t recommend highly enough the recipe for Easter Bread Pudding that Kate created for us as an innovative way of using your excess buns. Just go to our website recipe section … what a treat on a chilly night!

Have you read Herbie’s interesting blog on Ras el Hanout on our website?  This special Moroccan spice blend is popping up on all sorts of menus all around the world, and it seems from our experience, that many versions are rather disappointing.  There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to a recipe for this blend, so it’s to be expected that there will be variations, but the name Ras el Hanout means “top of the shop”, and as such it must be the very best that the spice blender can offer.  The best end result can only come from the best ingredients.  No matter what care and time is invested in making it, and no matter whose recipe you use, with inferior base ingredients, the finished product will disappoint.

What’s New at Herbies?

Katsu Curry

For lovers of Japanese flavours, we have a new Katsu curry, mild and aromatic. Usually served as a sauce over panko-crumbed chicken pieces, it’s just the ticket for introducing your little ones to curry flavours, as it is sweet and delicious.  Just follow the recipe on the back of the pack.  You’re going to love it!

Black Garlic

We’ve also added Black Garlic, made when garlic bulbs undergo a form of fermentation under strictly controlled conditions, including temperature, humidity and time. The result is that the inside of the bulb changes to a soft, black, sweet, aromatic umami-like taste. After peeling the skin from the bulb, the Black Garlic can be finely sliced or mashed. Serve with cheese like quince paste. Use in risotto and as a substitute for truffles.

Yellow Crushed Chillies

For chilli lovers, we now have Yellow Crushed Chillies. These hot, hand crushed yellow chillies from the Himalayas are popular with cooks from the northern parts of India. The bright yellow colour, sweet aroma and intense heat makes it a must use addition to when a new chilli experience is desired.

Spice Tour

We have thoroughly enjoyed getting back into the spice tour routine, with our sojourn to northern India and Ladakh all set to go in September.  Recently, we have been offered an opportunity to visit one of the world’s largest wholesale chilli markets.  Consequently, we have put together a 19-day tour early next year, which takes in: the above-mentioned chilli market; visits to several spice farms in Andra Pradesh state; ancient historic ruins; one of India’s largest Hindu temples; the French-influenced city of Pondicherry; and the beautiful Alleppey waterways and the historic, vibrant city of Cochin. There are a few places left before we reach our limit of 20 travellers, so if you’re looking for a new experience next January/February, let us know and we can send you details.

Happy Spicing

Herbie and Liz

Explore All
post

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
post

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,
post

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.

post

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!

post

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
post

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
post

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
post

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
post

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.
post

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
post

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
post

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.

post

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.

post

Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2020-2021

A world-wide annus horribilis is drawing to a close, and all we want for Christmas is a better year ahead. For many, time spent in confinement has been a time for reflection, communicating with loved ones, and cooking up a storm.

post

Herbie Makes a Curry in Kumily

In this video, following a short elephant ride, I have the audacity to show my Indian friends at Spice Village how I make my Saturday Curry!

post

Herbie’s Newsletter Spring 2020

Rose Harrisa Mackerel Spring is a time always associated with flowers.  Cauliflowers, broccoli and broccolini, even cabbage and kale, are all flowers, and it occurred to us that one could make a culinary bouquet by adding rose harissa to these flowers.  We started the experiment with rose harissa sprinkled on cauliflower cheese, then progressed to rose harissa stir-fried with broccolini, and broccoli florets tossed with rose
post

Why Herbie is Obsessed with Spices

During this time when many of us are isolated, either voluntarily or forced, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I cover at the beginning of a Spice Appreciation Class. As classes are off now, here goes a virtual communication! People often ask why I am so obsessed with spices. This video explains where it all started,

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.
Subscribe