Herbie’s Spices Newsletter Spring 2023

August 30, 2023 posted in Cooking

Have you discovered our Black Garlic Powder?  In our house it adds a delicious umami to so many things … like sprinkled over buttered toast, topped with scrambled eggs.  If you already have this delicious product in your pantry, you will have noticed that it tends to go into a hard lump after a few months.  This is because it’s simply black garlic, ground, with no additives to keep it powdery.   Going hard doesn’t affect the quality or flavour of black garlic, and it’s quite easy to take a little clump and break it up with the back of a spoon, a rolling pin, or in a mortar with a pestle, to turn it back into powder.

Another product that will go hard in the pack is Tomato Powder, for the same reason that there is nothing added.  Once again, it’s easy to break up, and if you’re using it to make a really good tomato paste, you can use water and mash it all together as you break the clump.

Super Ras el Hanout Complete Spice Ingredient List

Speaking of additives to stop things clumping (which you won’t find in Herbie’s products), how often do you read the ingredient listing of the food you’re buying?  It only takes a moment in the supermarket aisle to scan the label to see what’s in your food, and if you see too many numbers and words that belong in a laboratory, perhaps you might re-consider just what you want your family to be ingesting.  Ingredients are always listed, by law, from the ingredient with the highest percentage to the lowest, so if your seasoning simply lists “herbs and spices” as the last item, you know you’re in trouble!

At Herbie’s Spices we always list 100% of all ingredients, even for our Super Ras el Hanout.

When it comes to finding out more about the wonderful world of spices, and the secrets behind those beautiful aromatic and handy spices blends, see The Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition. Herbie has de-mystified the spice and herb world, and Kate has created easy to prepare and timeless recipes. This timeless book is the go to reference for all those of us who love good food.

Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition
Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition

Balti Curry Single Recipe Kit

As we emerge from the winter months into spring, there’s no denying that just a little way ahead is Christmas … again.  It seems to take us by surprise every year – suddenly it’s upon us and we don’t feel that we’ve had time to prepare.  Let’s make this year different!  We’ve all felt the increased cost of living this year, and perhaps, like our family, your family has agreed to a lower price point for gifts – gifts that are useful, not potential dust-collectors.  So we’ve added one more single-recipe kit, the increasingly-popular Balti Curry. Single recipe kits are priced appropriately for what they contain, but they are all under $40.00.  Have a look on the website to see the range of ideas, and remember you can get your order in early, to take the stress out of December.  If you find yourself on the Central Coast, or passing through, do pop in to our Charmhaven shop, (only a few minutes from the M1 Freeway), and we can make up your chosen kits while you wait.

For nearly twenty years, we conducted spice appreciation classes at our little red Herbie’s shop in Rozelle.  They were no longer a regular activity once we closed that shop and moved all operations to Charmhaven where we have had our Spicery for the last 20 years.  However, as mentioned in our most recent Newsletter, spice classes have started again as part of the Maker’s Trail on the Central Coast.  It is such a pleasure to revisit the tastings that are part of the class.  How could one forget the delicious simplicity of dusting chicken tenderloins with Ras el Hanout and a little salt before pan-frying?  As the warmer days come closer, it’s good to be reminded of how tasty and versatile halved tomatoes are when roasted with sumac.

Bagel seasonings are all the rage right now, and we thought, by bringing the Herbie’s touch, we could do it better.  It’s not a seasoning, but a sprinkle.  It’s a fabulous mix of textures and flavours, with toasted sesame and black sesame, along with saltbush, Aleppo pepper, crunchy rolled coriander seeds and a judicious amount of salt.  While it’s not exactly a bagel, rye bread topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers benefits hugely from a sprinkling of this lovely new blend, which we’ve called (logically) Bagel Sprinkle.

Flavoured salt is easy to make.  If you want garlic salt, use about 15% garlic powder to 85% salt.  The same applies for onion salt.  When it comes to more sophisticated flavours, you can take advantage of Herbie’s knowledge and experience and let him make it for you, as with our ever-popular classic Herb and Celery Salt, and the brand new Chilli Lime Salt. A judicious blend of salt with Kashmiri chilli, makrut (kaffir) lime leaves, lemon powder, white pepper, freeze-dried ginger and Australian lemon myrtle, this is a fabulous salt to add to prawns, avocado, hot chips, Greek salad, and margaritas … just about anything, really.

Stay Organised! That’s right, how many times do you take a spice pack out of your preferred way to store them, and forget to put it back in the right place? Our solution is to send a SPICE MARK with every order, so you can arrange your spices the way you want, and always place them back in the right spot.

Box of Ideas Spring 2023

It’s always a pleasure to put together a new Box of Ideas for Spring.  This year, we’re featuring the new Herbie’s Bagel Sprinkle (of course!) along with Italian Seasoning, ground nutmeg and Red Curry, to make your taste buds happy with a minimum of fuss and kitchen time, with 8 delicious recipes.  In the baby-leaf green box, the price, as always, is $25.00 plus postage.

Everyone is talking about the increased cost of living, and it’s caused partly because manufacturers have needed to review prices due to rising costs.  The good news is, as with other cost reviews, we have found some products have had a downward move instead of the expected upward trend.  For instance, while there has been an increase in the cost of chilli flakes, saltbush, allspice, tonka beans and piment d’Espelette, the prices of several spices, including cardamom, sumac, asafetida and nigella seeds have reduced with no change in the quality.  The unexpected reductions were corrections to prices that had soared due to supply chain issues during the pandemic, and it’s good to see things coming back to normal.  The price of many others has stayed steady.

Spices are an economical way to add flavour to easy to prepare meals, like these Tandoori Skewers!

Tandoori Skewers

Sadly, we have had to delay our next trip to India.  Spices and More 2024 has suffered due to the above mentioned tightening of the purse strings, made all the more difficult by highly inflated hotel costs within India.  We are hoping that twelve months from now conditions may be more favourable, and we hope to get back to India in 2025.  Watch this space.

“Happy Spicing”

Herbie and Liz

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