NEWSLETTER: Autumn 2012

March 01, 2012 posted in Newsletters

Type Casting your Spices

During the summer holidays, we were pondering on the dangers of type casting. We can all bring to mind actors who have played a certain part to such an extent that they have become that character and we can’t accept that they are capable of playing different roles. It occurred to us that the same pre-conceptions can be applied to spices and flavours. Why is it in Western cultures we allocate curries to winter, when in their countries of origin they are eaten and enjoyed year round, often in tropical countries that don’t have winter at all? We hope many of you enjoyed the Mulled Wine jellies featured in the summer newsletter – although traditionally a flavour connected to snowy winters, the cooling jelly is a fantastic and unexpected summer pleasure. (We allowed the wine to boil to reduce the alcohol content when making the jellies.)

Other spices that shouldn’t be type-cast include our fabulous Cajun Seasoning and good old Tasty Meat Sprinkle. Traditionally used for Cajun chicken or fish, we often reach for Cajun when we barbecue a steak, and mix it in to cream cheese for a tasty dip. Tasty Meat Sprinkle, great on any meat at all, is the perfect seasoning for potato wedges and roast vegetables, and vegetarians love it on pan-fried tofu cubes. Our cappuccino topping Spice Dust can be used in any sweet application; stir it through your yoghurt and sprinkle it over cut strawberries. Not to mention vanilla, that so-essential element in cakes and ice cream, that can take on a savoury role in a sauce for white meats. The ever-popular Chermoula, great on lamb and fish, takes on a new role when added to a scone mixture. Top the scone with hummus for a savoury treat. So take a fresh look at your spices, and don’t be afraid to cast them in a different role.

What’s New at Herbie’s?

Lentil and Dhal Spice

Inspired by our recent great eating experiences, and nudged along by many enquiries from customers, we have a brand new product for you to enjoy – a delicious Lentil and Dhal Spice, which will add an authentic Indian flavour to any kind of legume, be it chick peas, lentils, all kinds of dhal, cannellini beans or red kidney beans. That’s not to say you can’t pat it on a piece of chicken or other meat if you’re inclined (bearing in mind our comments about type casting, above)! The recipe on the pack is for a red kidney bean dish that is often encountered in Delhi, and we know you will love it. The 30 g pack (enough to make two meals for four) is priced at $4.20.

As well as the recipe on the pack, try this really quick and healthy, low GI lentil dish: Heat some oil and soften one chopped onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, chopped, over medium heat. Stir in a tablespoon of the Lentil and Dhal Spice, along with a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of brown lentils (drained). Add some chilli flakes for extra heat if you wish, and simmer for 5 minutes. Delicious! And how quick is that? If you prefer to cook your own lentils, soak a cup of brown lentils in 2½ cups of water and ½ teaspoon salt, bring to the boil and simmer about half an hour or until the lentils are tender and the water mostly absorbed.

2013 Spice Discovery Tour

January is a great month for us, as it is so often the time for a visit to India with a group of intrepid spice explorers. This year they were mostly “repeat offenders” who had been with us before, so we had a great time with old friends, visiting different places and experiencing “real” Indian food (as opposed to “international hotel” versions) in the many lovely heritage hotels we visited. Many of them are converted palaces, so it is easy to feel that one has been transported to an earlier era. Members of the group have returned with great memories, such as finding ourselves having dinner in the desert of Rajasthan, suddenly drenched by a downpour of very unexpected rain! We followed almost two weeks in very chilly conditions in India with a few days of basking in tropical warmth in Sri Lanka, where we visited elephants and cinnamon farms. For those who have enquired about the 2013 Spice Discovery Tour, we will try to have information on the website by April. If you have enquired by email over the past year, we shall send the information by email to you.

Asafoetida – Gluten Update

We told you in the summer newsletter about the change to asafoetida, now compounded with rice instead of wheat starch to avoid the gluten content. You might have wondered why this spice alone is mixed with a starch, so here’s the reason. Asafoetida is a sticky resin that oozes from cuts made in the base of the stem of a large, parsley-like plant. It forms into sappy clumps which are ground to make a powder, however the stickiness of the resin makes it very hard indeed to put through a grinder. Therefore a starch is added to take up the stickiness during the grinding process, allowing the resin to pass through the grinder.

Under Australian food laws, (unlike the laws in USA, EU and UK), even minute parts per million of gluten, if detected, have to be declared on the label. So asafoetida and the blends containing it, although now (virtually) gluten-free, (Chaat Masala, Sambar mix, and our new Lentil & Dhal Spice) may carry the statement “may contain traces of gluten due to manufacturing practices.” This is because, before reaching us, asafoetida is processed on the same equipment as products containing wheat

Australian Made?

We adhere strictly to Australian food laws, (including stating when product is sourced from overseas) which is one of the reasons you trust us. There is an Australian company claiming proudly to sell “magnificent Australian-grown foods”, yet their products contain spices that we know beyond a doubt are not grown in this country. We are content to tell you honestly that we are completely Australian-owned, providing jobs in Australia for Australians, using the best spices we can find from around the world.

And on that note, 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.