NEWSLETTER Spring 2013
As winter fades into memory, we are reminded that life is sweet. Now sweet things,
like salty things, are both good guys and bad guys in the dietary world, so the line
we’re walking on this is moderation. As our grandparents would have said, a bit of
what you fancy does you good.
We have three new products for when you are in the
mood for a sweet treat – Vanilla Bean Powder and two luscious new blends: Vanilla
Bean Sugar and Sugar ‘n’ Spice.
You have been asking for a powdered vanilla for many years, and we have resisted
due to the fact that often vanilla bean powder is made from grinding old beans that
don’t have much flavour. As you can imagine, it’s a lot easier to grind something that
is dry and crisp, rather than something soft, moist and pliable. We have never seen
a powdered vanilla bean that we would be prepared to put the Herbie’s label on …
until now. We have found a producer on the Pacific island of Vanuatu whose ground
vanilla beans are full of natural flavour, and we are happy to use this great product to
make such blends as Spice Dust and our two new babies listed above, and to offer it
to you as Vanilla Bean Powder in a small 20g pouch for $9.80.
Whilst Vanilla Bean Sugar is pretty well self-explanatory, Sugar ‘n’ Spice needs a
little introduction. Imagine caster sugar infused with cassia, cinnamon, ground rose
petals, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and a tiny touch of Pasilla chilli … aroma
and flavour to die for! Imagine fresh, fluffy banana and pecan muffins, topped with a
crunchy mixture of finely chopped pecans and Sugar ‘n’ Spice. Imagine smooth,
creamy porridge enhanced with Sugar ‘n’ Spice, or melting moments sprinkled with
Sugar ‘n’ Spice before baking. Let your imagination run riot with this delicious blend.
To keep an even hand in the salt/sugar arena, we are proud to introduce Saltbush,
the salty Australian native leaf, ground to a powder. Known commonly as Old Man
Saltbush, this tough plant is at home in the dry inland areas of Australia, and is a
sprawling grey-blue shrub with edible leaves. Whilst it is distinctly salty in flavour, it
has less than 20% of the sodium content of salt, so it’s lovely to use in a reduced-salt
diet. We’ve had fun playing with it, and you’ll love the recipe for Aussie-spiced
macadamias that we’ve put on the back of the pack. It’s in a 20g pack, at a cost of
$6.80. If you can’t get hold of saltbush lamb (lamb grazed on saltbush pasture), the
next-best thing is to get yourself a leg a beautiful seasonal spring lamb, rub it
generously with saltbush and freshly-ground black pepper, and roast it!
In exploring the possibilities of saltbush and other Australian natives, we played with
the idea of mixing our original indigenous herbs and spices with some of the stars
from the wider world stage. In a cushioning body of coriander seed, paprika and
turmeric, we’ve combined the Australian natives: saltbush, pepperberry, wattleseed,
desert lime, lemon myrtle and akudjura. Fine-tuned to include lemon, ginger, and a
little cinnamon, this blend just begs for scallops, prawns, or fish, so we’ve named it
Catch of the Day. Whatever you catch will marry happily with this unique blend.
Finally, in the flavour spectrum, the hot element is covered by our new ground green
jalapeno chilli. Listed as Chilli Jalapeno Ground, this will be a great find for those
chilli freaks who have discovered the thrill of Mexican flavours. Harvested green, this
chilli has a delightful fresh and hot flavour. We’ve given it a rating of 8 out of 10, and
be prepared to sneeze as that fine powder gets up your nose! It’s in a 30 gram pack,
priced at $4.50.
We trust you have been enjoying the Box of Ideas during winter, and that it has
helped you to expand your culinary boundaries. The winter box is now discontinued
in favour of a brand new Box of Ideas – Spring. With asparagus in season, we’re
suggesting asparagus with vadouvan butter, plus some sunny Mexican ideas, and
some other delicious ideas. So in your $25.00 box, you’ll find Vadouvan curry, Roast
Vegetable Herb Mix, Guacamole mix, Mole Poblano, and Paella Spice Mix, with
recipes and ideas for delicious Spring food. We’ve sought out a few delicious
authentic Mexican ideas that will have you at the cutting edge of Australian trends
towards Central American cuisine.
Whilst you are receiving your Spring newsletter, we are finding out all about the
Greek spice, mastic, and seeing the harvest of this amazing opaque tear of sap on
the Greek island of Chios. Mastic comes from the gum mastic tree, a tough little tree
native to Chios that can live for up to 200 years. “Tears” may seem a strange word
to use for pieces of mastic, however there is a reason that lies in legend: when Saint
Issidoros was tortured by Romans in AD250, his dead body was dragged to the
shade of a mastic tree. Upon seeing the saint’s mutilated body, legend has it that the
tree wept real tears. Harvesting involves making many small cuts in the trunk of the
tree, from which the sap weeps. More on that after we return!
Prepare yourselves for the bad news … the Australian dollar has slipped, and the
cost holiday we’ve had for the past years is just about over. We’ll hold prices steady
for as long as we can, but sadly everything is now costing more.
2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Jane Austen’s Pride and
Prejudice. Why does this apply to our world of spices? Google “the cook and the
curator curree” and you’ll find the Austen family’s recipe, given to them by their
friend Mrs Jane Fowle. It is interesting to note the use of galangal and turmeric in the
blend, which would have been quite exotic and hard-to-find ingredients in 1813.
Customers often comment on the difference between our 100% wasabi powder and
the flavoured wasabi products in jars and tubes. Some of these are just mustard and
horseradish mixtures with green colouring. New tests conducted in Switzerland have
set a new standard for EU labeling requirements, and these faux wasabi wannabees
are now being taken from shelves in Switzerland and Germany as they are known to
be not what they say they are. Another step closer to Truth in Advertising … we love
Have a wonderful Spring, and spice happily!
Herbie and Liz