This time last year, we thought the worst of COVID-19 was behind us. We know now that it was just the beginning of another annus horribilis thanks to the Delta strain, but our changed conditions seemed to bring kindness and humanity to the fore. As always, food has been a comfort and a blessing. We’re coming to you a little earlier than the new season, to allow extra time for shipping in these busy times.
You know how much we enjoy putting together a new spice kit idea for your enjoyment, and once again, there is a new Box of Ideas for this current summer season – more on that later. But as well as that, we are excited about our new partnership with the artisan ceramics maker, Pressed and Poured www.pressedandpoured.com. Their beautiful studio is situated in the Byron Bay hinterland, and we have acquired some of their gorgeous Nourish bowls, (oven, freezer and dishwasher safe) in a choice of two colours, to be the centrepiece of our Bowl Full of Flavour Spice Kit. With recipes for some of the many foods you can present in your bowl, and, of course, the spices to make it all possible, this special kit retails for $85.00 plus postage and packing. The spices in this kit are: Guacamole Spice Mix, Lemon and Herb Pepper, Rose Harissa, Fragrant Sweet Spice, Salad Herbs and ground Cardamom Seed. Being an artisan hand-made product, supplies will rely on availability, as when we order more stock, it won’t just roll off the production line.
If you’re a bit concerned about Australia Post’s ability to keep up with their heavy December workload, you could always come and visit us. If you’re in the Sydney or Newcastle areas, we’re not far away up or down the Freeway, and you can combine your visit to us with a visit to one of our beautiful beaches, and lunch at any of dozens of good places. We’re open Monday to Friday 9:00 to 4:00, and 9.30 to 2.00 on Saturdays. Visit us details: https://www.herbies.com.au/spicery/
In mid-2020, we should have been in England, attending the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. The focus of this esteemed annual symposium for 2020 was Herbs and Spices, and Herbie (in his Clark Kent attire as Ian Hemphill), was invited to present a paper. Residential life on campus was not to be, sadly, and presentations from all over the world were by Zoom. The reason for mentioning this now is that the published proceedings have now become available, with all 37 papers from worldwide sources reproduced in full. If you consider yourself a spice nerd, a flavour fanatic, if you want to know more about Grains of Paradise, wild herbs, the chilli diaspora, stone flower the secret spice in Indian food, or pepper and paradox in the Roman imagination, you may find this book an absorbing read. You may also like to know Herbie’s thoughts on what happens when a spice blend becomes too popular. It’s available through The Book Depository, and can be ordered online.
Sometimes a friendship can dwindle, so slowly that you hardly know when it began to diminish. This sad situation happened with our Black Peppercorns TGSEB, the lovely big, bold (SEB = Special Extra Bold) peppercorns from southern India. One day we realised to our disappointment that, although good, they were not special, and not extra bold. We immediately began searching for an alternative source, and we are happy to say we have beautiful TGSEB peppercorns now. With a high piperine content, a warm, almost ripe-citrus aroma, and plenty of pepper bite, we are proud to put the Herbie’s Spices label on them. Unfortunately, quality (as always) comes at a price, but we can tell you, if you’re a pepper aficionado, you’ll agree they’re worth it!
Our Summer Box of Ideas, in its sky-blue box, is full of ideas for holidays, Christmas, and time spent outdoors. With five spices and blends – Shichimi Togarashi, Mixed Spice, Greek Seasoning, Nasi Goreng Mix and whole fennel seeds – it offers some tasty chilli heat for those who like it hot. If you’re cooking for children, the same recipes can use our popular and mild Greek Seasoning for a child-friendly version. As always, it remains $25.00 plus postage.
When you order breakable items, we have always been careful to wrap them well in bubble-wrap so that they arrive to you safely. In order to have a more sustainable footprint, we are making a change to corrugated cardboard, which you can either compost or recycle when you’ve finished with it. We are sure that your goods will still arrive in undamaged condition, but please let us know if there’s ever a problem.
There’s joy to be found in simple pleasures. Recently we mixed about a teaspoon of Umami spice mix with about a tablespoon of softened butter. (That’s approximate – it wasn’t actually measured.) It was just magic slathered over a hot cob of corn, and the leftover provided a delicious dot of butter on a barbecued steak.
Our old friend Christine Manfield has just released her new book, Christine Manfield’s Indian Cooking Class and we’re happy to support it as an excellent way of using Indian spices. We love the way her recipes just work, from humble home-style favourites to lavish banquet food, and we’ve put together a kit of the more unusual spices she uses, valued at $50.00, which you can buy along with the book so that you’re all ready to start cooking. You’ll find the book and kit available on our website along with The Spice and Herb Bible. That’s your Christmas shopping sorted for the cooks and foodies in your family!
Speaking of delicious Indian food, we returned from our latest Indian spice tour with just days to spare before COVID closed our borders in March 2020. Now, with the prospect of re-opened borders looking more positive every day, we have taken the leap and begun to prepare an itinerary for March 2023, taking in the joyous festival of colours, Holi (Herbie, Manoj our Tour Manager, and Liz covered in Holi colours!). With a mixture of old favourite haunts and new adventures, we’re excited to be once again planning a sojourn to the land of spices. Let us know if you’re up for a three-week jaunt with us, and we’ll keep you updated as plans progress. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
“Have a happy, spicy festive season”
Herbie and Liz