NEWSLETTER: Summer 2004/2005

December 01, 2004 posted in Newsletters

Spices from Bhutan

About a year ago, we met a group of representatives from the small kingdom of Bhutan and agreed to assist them with the marketing of their spice crops. It is a landlocked country, bordered on the northern side by Mongolia and on the other three sides by India. To help you place this tiny kingdom on your mental map, picture Nepal to the west, Myanmar (Burma) south-east, Bangladesh due south and China beyond the Himalayas to the north and north-east. The farmers of Bhutan, being Buddhist, do not believe in destroying any forms of life and therefore use no pesticides at all. This means that the products, while not certified organic, are entirely chemical-free.

So September saw us tramping around plantations of brown cardamom on steep and steamy mountain slopes, taking photographs of the harvest. Szechuan pepper (prickly ash) trees grow wild, and are harvested only when a convenient crop presents itself. We slipped and slid down a steep grassy slope to get some photographs, and made the mistake of tasting a fresh seed-pod. (It took an anesthetizing Strepsil to ease the burn!) Star anise trees also grow wild, however they bear a 10-pointed star which has no flavour and is mildly toxic. We discussed caraway prices on a farm within view of snow-covered peaks, and met with government officials to explore the best ways that we can help the farmers make the most of low volume, high value crops. We hope that the wheels, now in slow motion, will eventually bring Bhutan spices to our store.

Spice Appreciation Classes on DVD

Every year our Spice Appreciation, Spice Advice and Spice Workshop classes book out long before the end of the year. As a solution, we have made a DVD of the Spice Class, which includes in its three-hour duration a huge amount of information as well as several recipes. At $39.95, it’s cheaper than a class, and you can refresh your memory on matters spicy as often as you wish! Full of information, recipes, and hints, the DVD is easy to navigate.

Spice Kits for Christmas

Why is it that the approach of Christmas is greeted every year with gasps of horrified surprise by everyone? Surely after all these years, we’d know it was coming! And you’d think we’d learn to start shopping early, rather than year after year leaving it to the last minute. Our ever-popular spice kits are there to make it easy for you, and we can even post them for you as well. We have a couple of new kits which are excellent value: the Spice Travels Kit contains spices that are featured in the chapters of the book, and is bundled along with the book itself for just $40.00; and a kit to accompany our new DVD, with the spices to make 10 of the recipes contained in the lovely little full-colour booklet included within the DVD cover. This DVD Kit is priced at $85.00.

Pantry Start-Up Kit

We have introduced a super-sized kit (it won’t make you fat!) that we identify as the “Pantry Start-Up” Kit. Chock-a-block with all the necessities for everyday cooking, there are twenty herbs, spices and blends, which make this kit an excellent house-warming, engagement or moving-in-together gift, priced at $65.00.

New Book – Spicery

November saw the birth of our new book, Spicery. The dictionary describes “spicery” as: “a place for storing spices,” but we rather fancy that a spicer creates spicery just as a sorcerer creates sorcery! Just as its predecessor Herbaceous covers all things leafy, this new book does the same for all things spicy, making a perfect partnership, with identical format of information and recipes. While many of the recipes are original, friends and colleagues have also generously shared recipes, so we have the ideal recipes to best showcase all of the spices – we’re particularly fond of the Little Onion Tarts with Nigella. As well as really useful information, Spicery has lovely full-colour photographs and a stunning cover, and retails for $39.95. As Herbaceous and Spicery are the perfect yin-and-yang, we have them available as a pair for just $70.00 between now and the end of the year.

You might be interested in the menu that we created for our launch of Spicery at Shearer’s Bookshop in Leichhardt. Mostly taken from the new book, it went like this:

  • Little Onion Tarts with Nigella
  • Chicken Skewers flavoured with Balmain-Rozelle Spice
  • Artichoke Puree with Chilli and Cumin, in little pastry cases
  • Cheeses served with Pear and Saffron Relish
  • Chocolate Wattleseed Biscuits

Our good friends at Tucker Seabrook were kind enough to supply delicious wines for the event.

We can’t resist a little pat on our own backs, if you’ll pardon the crowing. At the recent Vittoria Food Media Awards, Herbaceous was highly commended in the Simon Johnson “Literary Excellence in a Food-Related Book” category. We will have the top award in our sights for Spicery when the next awards come around!

Spice Discovery Tour – 2005

Once Christmas is over, we’ll be thinking of packing for India, as our band of merry adventurers takes off for the Spice Discovery Tour on January 15th. We know there are people out there who have made serious enquiries about the tour but have not yet made a final decision. Well, the elections are over, the world’s no less safe that it always has been, so now’s the time to take the plunge and decide to join us for an insider’s look at the spice world in the spiciest country on earth. (And see the Taj Mahal before the marble cancer makes it fall down!) Don’t put it off until next year, because other commitments make it impossible for us to take a tour in 2006.

Chocolate Wattleseed Biscuit Recipe

So many people have told us how they love recipe labels on the backs of the spice packs that we are continually working on providing more of them. Not only that, but some old ones are being updated to keep it interesting for “repeat offenders” who find the same pack in their hands time after time. Watch out for the marvelous Chocolate Wattleseed Biscuit recipe soon to grace the Wattleseed Pack – it’s a winner!

We wish you all a wonderful festive season, with loads of tasty, flavourful food!
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 – Winter 2022

Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us …..  on 7th July this year we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of Herbie’s Spices.  When we opened the doors of our little shop in the chilli-red terrace in Rozelle, little did we know that it would become a destination for local, interstate and international cooks and foodies.  Our business plan all those years

Peppercorns – What’s Your Favourite?

When we think of peppercorns, it is easy to think of them in terms of black pepper, and well, is black pepper just black pepper? More about white pepper and other pepper varieties later, for now we want to tell you about the different black peppercorns, and the nuances in aroma and taste each type has. Pepper vines are a particularly attractive sight in

Herbie’s Newsletter Autumn 2022

We took a break over the Christmas/New Year period, and arrived home, tired and jet-lagged, to a mostly empty fridge.  It was definitely a moment to appreciate our hero spice mix, Lentil and Dhal Spice, which pulled together a delicious, easy meal using pantry staples and surviving silverbeet in the pot outside our kitchen door.  What did we eat? This: SPICED RED LENTIL AND

Nigella – ‘The Spice That is’!

Cooks are discovering a culinary seed spice that believe it or not has been ubiquitous for many years. Those little black seeds we see on Turkish bread, are more often than not nigella seeds! The nigella of culinary use is an erect annual, a member of the buttercup family and close relative to the decorative plant that is known as ‘love-in-a-mist’ (N. damascena). Nigella


Za’atar, (often spelled zaatar, zartar, zatar) is a Middle Eastern spice blend that is used to flavour breads, and to season dishes in much the same manner as Mixed Herbs are used in Western cooking. The term Za’atar tends to create some confusion in the marketplace, as this Arabic word is used in many Middle Eastern countries to describe both the herb thyme, and

Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2021 – 2022

This time last year, we thought the worst of COVID-19 was behind us.  We know now that it was just the beginning of another annus horribilis thanks to the Delta strain, but our changed conditions seemed to bring kindness and humanity to the fore.  As always, food has been a comfort and a blessing.  We’re coming to you a little earlier than the new

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.

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.