Herbie’s Spices Newsletter Winter 2023

May 19, 2023 posted in General

When we started our operations on the Central Coast of NSW, it was a sleepy area in many ways.  How things have changed in 20 years!  We are pleased to announce that we have joined the vibrant Central Coast Maker’s Trail. Whether you have a few hours or an entire weekend to explore the Central Coast, the Makers Trail is the perfect adventure. This food and drink discovery trail is designed to thrill you with new sensations and behind-the-scenes experiences.  Along with other food producers, we have scheduled some classes at our factory, similar to the classes that you may remember from our Rozelle shop days.  The next classes are 10th June and 29th July, and you can book through our website.

Spicery at Charmhaven

Grains of Paradise Pods

Last Newsletter, we told you of difficulties with bio-security causing us problems, and piment d’Espelette, fennel pollen and tonka beans were unavailable.  The happy news is that along with Grains of Paradise, we now have all of these unique products back in stock for you now

As winter begins to take hold, slow cooking of less expensive meat cuts is a great plan, as these cuts take on an unbelievable tenderness and succulence when cooked long and slow.  I’m talking about such cuts as pork or lamb neck, skirt or chuck beef, and lamb or beef shanks – or leave the meat out altogether. Take the family to Morocco with a tagine (see our lamb shank tagine recipe on the back of the pack). India (skirt beef with Medium Curry), Mexico (pork neck made into the Wedding Pork recipe on the back of our Ancho Chilli pack), or stay in Australia and make hamburgers using our classic Mixed Herbs to season the patties.

Vegan Tagine

Vegan Tagine with Chick Peas and Olives

Alleppey Waterways in Kerala

Having been in India recently with our group (it was splendid, thank you, and yes, we’ll do another “Spices & More” trip 16th February to 10th March next year), we have seen at first-hand how lentils can be a delicious, nourishing, staple.  Dhal, whether dark and rich Dhal Makhani, or mild yellow dhal, just needs a little rice to make a sustaining meal.  The recipe for Delhi Dhal on the back of our Lentil and Dhal Spice mix has just a few ingredients – red kidney beans, tomatoes, onion, spices and yoghurt – to make an economical and satisfying meal.  One of our favourite meals when the cupboard is looking rather bare is simply a chopped onion, a cup of red lentils, a can of tomatoes, and water, with any spice mix pr curry we care to select.  A few shredded silverbeet leaves stirred in towards the end …. voila! Delicious!

Winter seasonal vegetables are myriad and so very versatile.  We love to mix Chermoula with Greek yoghurt and spread it thickly all over a complete head of cauliflower, which is baked until tender and cut into wedges like a Christmas pudding.  When broccoli is plentiful, make a soup of broccoli and potato, seasoned with Sydney Spice and pureed – so simple, and the perfect winter lunch with crusty bread.  And while cauliflower is cheap, cook it with potatoes to make Aloo Gobi (that’s Hindi for potato cauliflower) using our Aloo Gobi spice mix – nothing could be simpler.

Aloo Gobi

Mixed Berry Muffins

What fruit is in season in winter?  Apples!  Time to bring out the old apple crumble recipe.  Our new product, roasted coriander seed mentioned below, would be great in your crumble. Enhance that delicious crumbly topping, or any sweet muffins, with Mixed Spice, Fragrant Sweet Spice, or simply flavour it with cinnamon.

Whilst in India, we discovered really excellent quality fenugreek leaves (also known as methi), and a shipment has just arrived.  Just as we all know that coriander seeds are a different flavour to coriander leaves (cilantro), the same applies to fenugreek.  While the rocky little yellow seeds are quite bitter, and essential to the flavour tapestry of some curry blends, the leaves are, by contrast, quite mild and sweet.  They are often added to vegetable dishes, such as Methi Muttar (peas with methi) that you find on the menu in your local Indian restaurant.  If you haven’t discovered this lovely flavour yet, now is the time to do some experimenting.

Methi in Bikaner Market

Cumin Roasted & Ground

What’s new at Herbie’s?  We often hear that roasting your cumin and coriander seeds brings an extra, delicious, boost to their flavour.  But we also hear from you that it’s just one more time-consuming step that you don’t need in your busy life.  So we’ve sourced some fabulous ready-roasted ground cumin and coriander seed for you.  We love to stir a teaspoon of the roasted cumin into bought hummus, transforming it instantly into a gourmet delight.

Our regular seasonal Box of Ideas focuses on warming spice blends to see you through winter: mild vegetable curry, our ever-popular rib spice, a good bitey Sichuan chilli spice, toasted sesame seeds, and, for a sweet finish, our chai spice.

Box of Ideas Winter 2023

Flossy Curing 'Cooking' Salt

There are many cookbooks (mostly American) that call for “kosher salt”.  It’s a rather confusing term.  What it means is that the salt has no additives (such as iodine or free-flow agents), and is a fairly coarse sea salt used in the koshering of meats.  In the Jewish kosher tradition, meat must be drained of all blood before consumption, and koshering salt is used to assist in drawing out the blood. Why are we telling you this?  Because we use a “flossy” curing salt, similar to kosher salt, in the Herbie’s spice blends that contain salt, and we have realised that many of you would like to have access to it for use in your kitchen.  Being a larger grain than your normal table salt, it’s easy to take a pinch when cooking.  It has been the go-to salt in our kitchen for everyday use, and we thought you’d enjoy it too.  We’ve packed it in a 250 gram for your convenience.

Happy Spicing!

Herbie and Liz

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