Baharat, also known as Lebanese Seven Spice or Advieh, has become one of the many ‘go-to’ spice blends along with Ras el Hanout and Chermoula. Herbie, always up to date or ahead with spice trends, was asked to contribute this article to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 1999. Yes, 24 years ago! This is the article: Legendary spice merchant and blender, Ian (Herbie) Hemphill, has
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 their native Southern India, where in the western ghats (steps) of Kerala, they are trellised on palm trees, and sometimes eucalyptus, in what the locals charmingly refer to as ‘spice gardens’ rather than plantations. The pepper vine is not a parasite, so the living tree simply provides an accessible trellis, and its canopy of foliage gives shade for the vine and to the pickers during harvesting.
Pepper vines have minute flowers that are borne on 3–15 cm long catkins that hang among the foliage. Pollination of the hermaphrodite flowers, is assisted by rain, which increases the efficiency of pollen distribution as water flows down the flower cluster. The fruits (peppercorns) form in densely packed spikes. Each spike may produce 50 or more single-seeded fruits which, when fully formed, are deep green. The peppercorns then ripen from their green state to turn yellow and finally become a bright reddish-pink colour when completely ripe.