NEWSLETTER: February – March 1998

February 01, 1998 posted in Newsletters

Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for all the positive reports about the sumach – we’re glad you enjoyed it. While the rest of you were holidaying, we at Herbie’s have been working on an itinerary for a Herbie’s Spice Discovery Tour, which will involve two weeks in India, in January 1999. We’ll be looking at the growing, harvesting and processing of spices, eating wonderful food, and staying in world-class hotels while getting out into the countryside of the ‘real’ India. More information will be available by the time the next Newsletter comes out in two months.

Herbie’s Spices is now six months old, and the indications are clear that it’s filling a definite need for cooks not only in Sydney but all over the country. Thank you for your mail orders – it’s been our pleasure to send you everything you’ve needed.

New Arrivals

New on our shelves since Christmas are some more sought-after ingredients: pomegranate molasses, with its wonderfully fragrant, tangy aroma; fascinating yoghurt-marinated white chillies; lusciously-scented rose water and orange blossom water; and the Egyptian sensation that’s taken Adelaide by storm, dukkah.

Look Out – Dukkah!

Barbara Lowery, from ABC Radio, encouraged us to develop a Herbie’s dukkah, which we did. It’s a combination of roasted pistachio and hazel nuts, with toasted sesame seeds, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper – absolutely delicious in all sorts of ways. The traditional way is to dip bread (Turkish bread is good) into olive oil, then into a bowl of dukkah, so that it crusts the oil. Pop it straight in your mouth – the flavours and textures are fabulous! After considerable oiling and dunking, the dukkah clumps together with the oil, and then you can eat what’s left by the spoonful! You can also use it to sprinkle over steamed asparagus, salads, even toast and honey.

Brush up on Your Chops

Some of our Herbie’s products are so easy to use, you hardly need directions at all. Use any of the following to simply sprinkle or rub on chops or steaks and cook them in your usual way: Cajun Spice Mix, Chermoula Spice Mix, Red Meat Crusting Mix (another new one), Mexican Chilli Powder, Native BBQ Spice Mix, Native Seasoning Mix, Ras el Hanout, Sumach & Pepper, Tagine Spice Blend, Tasty Meat Sprinkle. You see how easy it is to give a new and different flavour to the same old chops, even if you can hardly cook at all?

No Wheat – Safe to Eat

Here’s a little snippet that might be useful… Herbie’s spice mixes are safe for coeliacs, because they contain only spices, with no starch fillers or free-flow agents. The only exceptions are our delicious Vegetable Curry and Chaat Masala, because one ingredient (asafoetida) is compounded with wheat and rice starches.

More Rockin’ Spices

As we’ve mentioned before, everyone is talking about Moroccan and North African these days, and some people are intimidated by this “Tagine” that keeps cropping up. In a nutshell, it’s Moroccan for casserole, so there’s nothing to be afraid of! It’s easy to imagine that the goat and sheep consumed by the Moroccan populace may not always be as young and tender as the meat we get in Australia, and long, slow cooking would be the best way of making it tender. One could even guess that sweet fruits such as prunes and apricots might be added to help disguise the strong muttony flavour of mature animals. The Herbie’s Tagine Spice Blend combines the fruity elements of cinnamon and cloves with the more robust flavours of chilli, cardamom and paprika to give a real Moroccan flavour to an Australian lamb, pork, beef or chicken casserole.

Thai it on

For some time, customers have been asking us whether we make a Thai Spice Mix. The answer has been no, because we could not successfully replicate the fresh elements so important to Thai food. However, we’re now importing a very good freeze-dried green chilli, which, along with a new superior galangal we’ve been able to get, has been blended with other Thai ingredients like lime leaf, lemongrass, coriander, ginger and garlic to make a really super Thai blend. You can add a teaspoon of the blend to a cup of boiling water to make the basis for an instant hot, sour soup. Then just add a little soy and fish sauce, some prawns and instant noodles, and presto! It’s so easy!

Just in – Cold Chillies!

Along with the freeze-dried green chilli that I just mentioned, we have freeze-dried red chillies just landed on our shores. The freeze-drying process was first used for chives, which have such a delicate cell structure that they cannot be successfully air-dried. It is used quite extensively now for drying vegetables for use in processed foods like soups and pies, but is still considered a rather expensive way of drying mainstream spices. However, the difference in the flavour and quality is well worth the difference in price, and we’re sure you’ll agree.

More New Arrivals

Also just landed are freeze-dried green peppercorns, the like of which have not been seen in Australia before, and some over-the-top super-duper hand-selected black peppercorns which will knock the socks off pepper lovers.

Even more new arrivals – (we keep running out of space on our shelves!) – are chervil and savory, which we have not carried before because we could not find the quality we wanted. We are very happy with these new arrivals, and we know those of you who value classic European cooking will love them.

SpiceWorld Wide Web

Although we often say that the spice trade is “the world’s second oldest profession” modern technology is not ignored at Herbie’s when it is appropriate and can be of benefit to our customers. To this end we have launched an internet site, which we trust in the months ahead will provide you with access to up-to-date information on the herbs and spices we have available. The internet address is:, (but you already knew that…) and our E-mail address is:

As we go in to 1998, you can plan some really interesting meals wherever you are, knowing that we at Herbie’s can supply your every seasoning need. Happy spicing!

Herbie and Liz

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