NEWSLETTER: Autumn 2007

March 01, 2007 posted in Newsletters

Lemongrass and Lemon Myrtle

Lemongrass is an ingredient which lends authenticity and fresh flavour to many of our favourite south-east Asian foods. In that case, why would we make a decision to delete lemongrass from our range at Herbie’s Spices? Well, it’s a sad fact that lemongrass just doesn’t dry very well. We originally had a dried lemongrass that was finely chopped pieces from the green part of the leaf, and when we discovered during a trip to India that we could access freeze-dried lemongrass, made from the creamy-coloured base of the stem, we were delighted to make the change. Sadly, our hopes of finding a better, more palatable product did not match the reality. We are happy with the flavours of our Thai and Green Curry mixes, however they had a less-than-pleasant residue of something which, although vaguely lemon-flavoured, resembled oaten chaff. At Herbie’s, our policy is always that we would rather be out of stock than carry an inferior product, so you’ll find that all remaining stock of lemongrass has been discarded.

We shall still be on the lookout for better quality lemongrass, and if we find any that we consider worthy of the Herbie’s brand, it will be back on our shelves and in our Asian blends again.

We are lucky to have an Australian native, lemon myrtle, which was unknown in Asia when the cuisines of that region were developing. Lemon myrtle has an intensely lemony flavour and fragrance, and by re-working our recipes for the Thai and Green Curry blends to allow lemon myrtle to do the job of lemongrass, we have vastly improved on the originals. The new blends are already in store, and we hope you will try them and enjoy the difference!


Paprika and smoked paprika are culinary stars, and many of the leading food magazines feature them in recipes. But readers are confused by this word pimenton that appears on the ingredient lists of the recipes. Pimenton is the Spanish word for powdered paprika, so we can assume that the food writer is using Spanish paprika rather than Hungarian paprika. What’s the difference? Hungarian paprika is the classic “sweet” powder that many would consider to be the default paprika if just one was to be found in your pantry. Spanish paprika, a deeper brick-red, has a slightly earthier flavour to give a robust, full-bodied boost to your food. Just be sure to notice whether the recipe calls for the pimenton to be smoked or not.

Herbs as Medicines

Items pop up in the media from time to time about the beneficial effects of spices on various physical conditions. Just as European herbalists have used herbs as medicine for centuries, so have the ayurvedic doctors of India treated a variety of conditions with spices. However, please remember that at Herbie’s, we deal in spices and herbs simply as culinary delights, and see your herbalist, naturopath or ayurvedic doctor if you want medical advice.

A Vanilla Bean as a Craving Killer?

The summer holiday time is often a wonderful period of relaxing with friends and family, enjoying delicious food, good wine and the occasional refreshing cold beer. Fish and chips on the beach … mmmm, yum! Sadly when the holidays end we very often find our clothes are a little tighter! For those who are now trying to lose the extra kilos, here’s a little tip. Keep a vanilla bean on hand. When you have a craving for chocolate and fattening goodies, have a sniff of the vanilla bean, and your craving will subside.

Spice Tour of India

Once again our year has begun with our Spice Tour to India, accompanying nineteen adventurous souls, our largest group to date. With all of us comfortably fitting into “baby boomer” status, it was a great, fun-loving group with a high degree of compatibility.

Highlights included making chapattis with volunteers at a huge Sikh temple in Delhi, visiting a beautiful organic, bio-dynamic spice farm outside Mysore run by the Hare Krishna sect, and mingling with the locals at a village food market on the road to Madurai. We collected recipes along the way as we travelled, and those will eventually make their way to our website.

Sadly we decided to scrap the Sri Lankan leg of the tour in the interests of safety, however we found the replacement itinerary to Mysore and Bangalore worked very well. We decided that Bangalore, with its highrise glass-fronted corporate buildings, is the Singapore of India as well as its Silicon Valley!

Mexican Kit

The fabulous variety of cuisines available within Australia is primarily thanks to our migrants, who brought their food styles and flavours with them, opening restaurants and writing cookbooks. As a general rule, no migrants means no awareness or drive to replicate a national cuisine. Mexican food is a good example of this. However, as a nation of inveterate travellers, Australians have slowly discovered Mexico even without a migrant base here. There is so much more to Mexican food than the Tex Mex found in supermarkets! New to our range of spice kits is our Mexican Kit, with recipes developed by people who know and love the country and its food.

Some Pricing Changes

Last year’s dramatic rise in the cost of fuel let to an almost-instantaneous increase in freight costs. Funny thing that as the fuel costs settled to a lower lever, the freight costs stayed the same! After absorbing the extra costs for the last six months, we have found it necessary to adjust some of our prices because of the higher cost to us. As with all price adjustments, you will find that while some have gone up, there are also a few that have fallen to follow market trends. Sadly, due to very severe growing conditions, saffron is now is short supply, and the new season’s crop is being offered at a price 45% higher than last year’s. So a tip for regular users – stock up now while the old stocks last.

Herbie’s has grown, and we now have an agent in the United States. This means that our American mail order customers may possibly find a range of our spices in their local deli, and they will be able to direct their mail orders to the US website to save on postage. Here’s the website: .We hope to be able to announce the opening of the first Herbie’s Spices store in Los Angeles very soon.

What’s New at Herbie’s?

Nothing right now, as we’ve been busy traveling! Check out the lovely new recipe on the back of our Guacamole spice mix.

Happy Spicing!

Herbie and Liz

Explore All

Meal Ideas for Isolation

We thought that in these unprecedented times, it would be appropriate to share some handy meal ideas to ease the stress of isolation and potentially limited food sources. Having to self-isolate creates an opportunity to brush up your cooking skills and have some fun experimenting with some flavours you may not have tried before. Let’s face it, everyone can cook. Have you ever grilled

Spices and Spice Blends for Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking

In this short video, Ian "Herbie" Hemphill talks about how Herbie's Spices, herbs and spice blends are all suitable for vegetarian and vegan cooking. A great spice blend for vegan meals is Aloo Gobi Masala. All ingredients are listed on the labels, so you know exactly what you are getting. For a wealth of information on spices, herbs and making your own spice blends,

Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2019 – 2020

We’re all in accord about single-use plastics. Having seen huge drifts of plastic in the pristine seas off the Indonesian islands, we know just how important it is to get rid of those shopping bags, plastic wraps and sandwich bags. When one gets emotional about bad plastics, it’s easy to begin to demonize all plastics, and perhaps it’s timely to repeat this message from our Newsletter of some years ago.


Spices & More in South India Jan-Feb 2020

We invite you to join us, Herbie and Liz, as we return to our beloved India to take you to some places where many tourists don’t go! And some amazing places that you just can’t miss. This is designed as a holiday, not an endurance test, and we have made the itinerary a little more leisurely than some earlier tours, so that you arrive home refreshed and well. Be a part of our small group and join the fun!


Herbie’s Newsletter Spring 2019

What kind of meal do you think of when you hear the word “curry”?  The origin of our English word is Kari, meaning a spiced sauce.  The English took the idea back home from the colonies, and the classic Madras curry – well-balanced and flavoursome - became a staple in the English household.  The French, meanwhile, had colonized the Pondicherry area on the south-eastern

Newsletter Winter 2019

What is Single Origin? We see it emblazoned on tea, coffee, spices and other foodstuffs.  It’s pretty simple really.  If all your potatoes have been grown in the Hunter Valley, they are single origin from that region – they don’t all have to come from the same farm. If, say, a coffee blender buys beans from Africa and South America, and mixes them all

Easter Spice Essentials

With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to think about the spices you’ll need for your Easter recipes. For all those sweet recipes such as cakes, biscuits and hot cross buns, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and cardamom are traditional, along with Mixed Spice. For extra fragrance and flavour, try using our Fragrant Sweet Spice Blend as an aromatic substitute. Easter is a great time

Herbie’s Newsletter – Spring 2021

Home Made Pizza Like so many Australians, we have had plenty of lock-down time during winter.  Our fabulous local pizzeria closed for a time, and we had to make our own pizza – not so difficult, really.  Here’s a simple dough recipe: mix 400g white bread flour with 1½ teaspoons of dry yeast and 1 teaspoon Italian Herbs.  Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in

Welcome to our New Website

The first thing you will notice is that this website looks quite different to the one you may be used to. In response to the many questions we have received from our customers over the years, we have built in many new features that will enhance your shopping experience. While navigating the site is intuitive, we've described some of the many new features here.

Herbie’s Spices Newsletter – Winter 2021

Following through on our gradual revision of the Spice Kits, we’ve had a look at the Al Fresco kit.  At our place, outdoor meals often include big sharing platters, which enable those who are hungry to really dig in, and those with bird-like appetites to pick gently at morsels, without any embarrassment about how much is put on, or left on, the plate.  So we’ve

Black Pepper Beef Recipe at Spice Village, Kumily, Kerala, India

Braised Black Pepper Beef, with Chef Manoj at Spice Village, Kumily, Kerala, India Serves 4-6 1kg beef tenderloin, trimmed Masala Marinade 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil ½ cup grated fresh coconut 2 shallots, peeled and sliced 2 teaspoons coriander seeds 5 small dried red chillies, seeds removed and chopped 3 sprigs curry leaves 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper Braising Curry Sauce 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut

Herbie’s Spices Newsletter – Autumn 2021

We trust that you have all survived Australia’s quiet introduction to the new year. Isn’t it wonderful that, in times of trial and frustration, cooking, eating and sharing bring such consolation? For those of us separated from our loved ones by insurmountable obstacles, we can be encouraged by improving conditions this year.


Herbie makes Avial (South Indian Vegetable Curry) in South India

Herbie loves being in South India, the food and the people. In this video he makes Avial (a South Indian Vegetable Curry). Making lightly spiced meals is one of life’s great pleasures, made all the simpler with our Herbie’s Spices all-natural spice blends.


Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2020-2021

A world-wide annus horribilis is drawing to a close, and all we want for Christmas is a better year ahead. For many, time spent in confinement has been a time for reflection, communicating with loved ones, and cooking up a storm.


Herbie Makes a Curry in Kumily

In this video, following a short elephant ride, I have the audacity to show my Indian friends at Spice Village how I make my Saturday Curry!


Herbie’s Newsletter Spring 2020

Rose Harrisa Mackerel Spring is a time always associated with flowers.  Cauliflowers, broccoli and broccolini, even cabbage and kale, are all flowers, and it occurred to us that one could make a culinary bouquet by adding rose harissa to these flowers.  We started the experiment with rose harissa sprinkled on cauliflower cheese, then progressed to rose harissa stir-fried with broccolini, and broccoli florets tossed with rose

Why Herbie is Obsessed with Spices

During this time when many of us are isolated, either voluntarily or forced, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I cover at the beginning of a Spice Appreciation Class. As classes are off now, here goes a virtual communication! People often ask why I am so obsessed with spices. This video explains where it all started,

Join the inner circle

Herbie’s Spices Inner Circle fills a need in the community of cooks and food lovers for early-access & upcoming events to all those hard-to-find herbs and spices.

Please enter valid email.