Herbie’s Newsletter Autumn 2022

March 01, 2022 posted in Latest News

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 TOMATO

  •  1 onion, finely chopped                        
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup red lentils                                
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Lentil & Dhal Spice     
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 4 sliverbeet leaves, chopped

Heat oil and sauté onion until translucent.  Add lentils and stir to coat with oil, then add tomatoes and spice mix.  Stir well, add 2 cups water.  Simmer approx 25 minutes until lentils are tender, then stir in peas and silverbeet and cook three minutes longer.  Serve in two large bowls.

Of course, you can make this delicious and nutritious meal using any spice mix you like.  Sometimes we use Brazilian, Chermoula, Tempero Baiano or a curry mix.

Have you been loving the superb quality of the Australian-grown herbs that we have been bringing you?  It has been such a pleasure to have sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme from our Australian growers – so much fresher and better than what is imported.  Our hearts are heavy now, as we have to tell you that there will be no more of many of these fine products. Fortunately we have good stock of rosemary, one of our favourites. The public company that owns the land where the herbs are grown has other plans, and they are not prepared to extend the lease to the grower.  The herb plants have been ploughed in to make way for grazing pasture.  We will, of course, continue to seek out the very best herbs from whatever alternative sources we can find.  Surely there will be other Australian herb growers who dry their product before too long.

The Autumn Box of Ideas continues to explore more of the Herbie’s range, with perennial favourite Tasty Meat Sprinkle showing how it doesn’t need meat to shine.  Also included are Bushman’s Pepperpot, sumac, kofta spice blend and a 25ml bottle of rosewater.  It comes with recipes, all easy and delicious, of course. Check out the rosewater marshmallows – what a treat!

The figures keep telling us that Aleppo Pepper is your favourite of all spices.  You keep ordering more of it!  So we decided to make it easier for you by making it available in a 250g pack.  That’s just a little more than seven standard packs, so make sure that you keep that re-sealable zip tightly closed between uses to keep it at its best.

You will have heard, over these recent Covid years, of supply shortages in various industries, including the food industry.  We have been able to manage these shortages without too much disruption, however freight and commodity costs have increased to a level where we unfortunately have to increase the prices of some of our products from 11th April.  We’ve held them steady for you for as long as we possibly can.  The happy news that ASTA black peppercorn prices, which had been high in the first place, have actually come down!

Picture shows black peppercorns drying in the sun in South India.

For over twenty years, we’ve been making our bouquet garni balls using muslin, which we have to cut to size, fill and tie with string, before packing five balls into a pack for you.  Doing our sums, we realise that we should be charging about $25 per pack to cover our labour costs, which is just ridiculous.  So we’ve come up with a solution that will save everyone money and time.  We have sourced some little food-grade muslin bags which you can purchase empty and make your own bouquet garni sachets using our bouquet garni blend.  The added advantage is that you can use these bags for Chinese master stock, chai tea spices, and a multitude of other uses.  If you’re keen, you can even re-use them.

Well, you asked for it, and now it’s ready …. the 2023 tour of India with Herbie and Liz is locked in, dates 21st February to 14th March.  We’re excited to think that, all being well, we’ll be visiting new and exciting destinations, as well as re-visiting old favourites, just twelve months from now.  The pandemic has taught us that sometimes plans need to be changed at short notice, and nothing is certain.  We’re somewhat gobsmacked that within a week of launching, we have reached our maximum number of bookings and are maintaining a wait list. Should you wish to be added to the wait list, please send an e-mail with your contact details to [email protected]

We’re happy to say that Herbie’s Spices has won an Australian Good Food Guide Readers’ Choice award for 2022.  Being one small spice company amidst many top-ranking restaurants, we feel very special and thank all AGFG readers who voted for us.

 

Stay well, and spice well,                                  Herbie and Liz

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