Gunpowder Spice Blend

April 17, 2018 posted in Cooking

During Herbie & Liz’s recent visit to India, they were delighted to see many of the restaurants including a dish of Gunpowder Spice along with the chutneys and other condiments. Herbie wasted no time in talking to the chefs about this blend that seemed to be all the rage. Although most were a little cagey about revealing all the ingredients and their proportions, Herbie was obsessed

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Stroll in a Spice Garden

March 27, 2018 posted in Behind the Scenes

A modern trend in agriculture is to focus on broad-acre cropping to achieve greater efficiencies. One may be surprised to learn that many spices are still grown on small family-owned holdings, where more than one crop is cultivated. There is a simple logic to this method, one that has served Indian spice farmers for centuries, and has a few key reasons for being sustained.

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Newsletter Autumn – 2018

February 27, 2018 posted in General

What was your stand-out food experience over the Christmas season?  We had an American-themed Christmas lunch for our staff at our place, and everyone was blown away by the pork ribs.  (And speaking of our wonderful staff, were you all happy with our service in the run-up to Christmas?  The girls were super-busy and worked very long days to make sure everything went out on time.)

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Spice Facts and the Brilliance of Blending

January 31, 2018 posted in Behind the Scenes

We receive many questions about the world of spices, and in particular what makes a truly wonderful spice blend. The following article answers those questions, and we hope provides much more useful information. Spice Essentials In spices, we are fortunate enough to have a hobby that is also our passion, our business, and our livelihood … and it’s something that other people also find

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There’s More to Cloves than Christmas

January 04, 2018 posted in Behind the Scenes

There's More to Cloves than Christmas When studding the Christmas ham with cloves last year, in preparation for coating with our special glaze, we thought people may be interested to know some facts about this wonderful spice. Following is an extract from Spice Notes & Recipes by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill. Although this edition is out of print it has been replaced by The Spice

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Some Spiced Holiday Reading

December 12, 2017 posted in General

With the holiday season fast approaching after the flurry of Christmas activities, I thought some of you may be interested in some spiced holiday reading of a chapter from my book Spice Travels. In 2002, Spice Travels, A Spice Merchant’s Voyage of Discovery was published. Introduction Spice Travels has given me a wonderful opportunity to share many of the spice experiences I have had while in

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Newsletter Summer 2017 – 2018

November 15, 2017 posted in Food

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost two years since we closed the door of our dear little store in Rozelle.  In the 19 years that we were there, in addition to our range of herbs, spices and books, we offered packs of empty jars, with blank Herbie’s Spices labels, for people to fill with their favourites.  We believe that our high-barrier, zip-lock plastic laminate

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Is Cassia Really Cinnamon?

October 30, 2017 posted in Behind the Scenes

Yes! Cassia is a variety of cinnamon as previously explained in our “Cinnamon Facts” Blog. Chinese cassia, Batavia or Indonesian cassia, and Saigon or Vietnamese cassia are harvested in a different manner from Sri Lankan cinnamon. Various cassia botanical names are (Cinnamomum cassia, C. burmannii, C. lourerii and C. tamala) and many years ago was called Saigon Cinnamon in the USA, and  Dutch Cinnamon, Baker’s Cinnamon, Bastard Cinnamon and

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Three Generations with Herbs & Spices

October 23, 2017 posted in Behind the Scenes

The Hemphill family has been a key driving force in communicating the wonders of culinary herbs and spices for over 60 years. This is a history telling how it all began, and what the second and third generations are doing to maintain a deeply held family tradition. John and Rosemary Hemphill owned a plant nursery called Somerset Nursery west of Sydney in the mid

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WHAT IS ACHIOTE?

October 18, 2017 posted in Behind the Scenes

WHAT IS ACHIOTE? Achiote is another name for annatto seeds, (Bixa orellana) and achiote paste is the Mexican condiment that gets its main flavour from annatto seeds. So what are annatto seeds? Annatto seeds are collected from a relatively small tropical evergreen tree that grows 5–10 m high. The leaves are heart-shaped, glossy and provide an attractive background to the large bright pink flowers, which have the

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How to Use Australian Native Spices

September 21, 2017 posted in Australian Native Spices

How to use Australian Native Herbs and Spices Over the last 35 years there has been a lot of interest in the commercial opportunities provided by edible Australian native plants (often referred to as ‘bush tucker’) including those used as spices. Australia is a vast continent and most non-indigenous people would perish quickly in this environment without adequate supplies of familiar life-sustaining produce. To

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How to Make a Curry

September 11, 2017 posted in Cooking

How to Make a Curry When it comes to spice blending, making a curry powder from scratch is one of the best ways to gain an understanding as to how the various flavour characteristics work to create a harmonious and interesting blend. The Main Types of Spices Spices can be grouped into five basic categories.  These are; sweet, pungent, tangy, hot, and amalgamating.  The

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Newsletter Spring 2017

August 29, 2017 posted in General

Australian Blends Looking back over the Spring newsletter of last year, we see it’s an entire year since we had to make our True Blue Aussie spice kit unavailable due to difficulty in accessing some of the Australian native herbs and spices.  Sadly, the situation is still not good, so during the past year, we have circumvented the problems by using what’s available to

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