NEWSLETTER: Summer 2006/2007

December 01, 2006 posted in Newsletters

New Book – Spice Notes and Recipes

Proving that he has extraordinary time management skills, Ian “Herbie” Hemphill has found time to upgrade and enhance his classic book Spice Notes, which has just reincarnated as Spice Notes and Recipes. With a 50% increase in the word-count, and over 80 recipes, many of them created by Ian’s daughter, Kate, this new hard-cover book also covers spice processing, essential oils, extracts and oleoresins, organic spices and irradiation, with guidelines on grinding and roasting spices. New spice listings and extra blending guidelines are cleverly incorporated, with a new type face, tighter layout and design ensuring that this lovely book is still easy to handle.

As summer threatens to be a long, hot period of total fire bans in most of Australia, here are a couple of recipes from the new book. They speak of freshness and coolness, with not a flame in sight.

Lemon Myrtle Scallops with Citrus Salad
Serves 4

  • 12 scallops
  • ¾ tsp Herbie’s Spices lemon myrtle ground
  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 2 pink grapefruits, peeled and segmented
  • 1 lime, peeled and segmented
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  1. To segment the peeled citrus fruits, remove the flesh from between the membranes with a sharp knife.
  2. Trim the scallops of any membrane and dust with lemon myrtle.
  3. Blanch the fruit segments in a small saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and toss with the baby spinach, and dress with olive oil.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan, and when it just starts to foam, add the scallops and cook for 2-3 minutes each side.
  5. Divide the salad evenly among plates and top with the seared scallops.

Green Tea Noodles with Wasabi Dressing
Serves 4

  • 300 g green tea or soba noodles
  • 2 tsp Herbie’s Spices wasabi powder
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 150 g snow peas, cut on the diagonal into 2cm pieces
  • 3 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil, to serve
  1. Cook the noodles in boiling, salted water, then drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Mix wasabi powder with 2 tsp water.
  3. Whisk vinegar, soy, lemon juice, wasabi and oil, and stir through cooled noodles, then add snow peas and sesame seeds.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil.

Spice Notes and Recipes

We know that many of you were devastated to miss out on the original hard-cover Spice Notes, but your wait will be rewarded with this beautiful and vastly enhanced new edition, Spice Notes and Recipes. And to help you create your own blends at home, there is an easy to interpret Spice Pyramid to guide you in keeping your spices in perfectly balanced proportion. Retail price is $59.95.

Herbie’s Spice Discovery Tour – Update

January will once again see the Herbie’s Spice Discovery Tour setting off for India with a group of 18 “explorers”. Starting in Delhi, we take in the wonderful food and architecture of Moghul India, including the magical Taj Mahal and Jaipur’s splendid Amber Fort, before heading to the spice-growing areas of the south. Not only is India the home of so many of our favourite spices, it is also rich in history and character, so that each new day brings news sights and adventures. Due to Tamil Tiger activity in Sri Lanka, we’ve rearranged the itinerary to take in Bangalore and Mysore and will have to visit Sri Lanka in safer times in the future.

Product News – Sichuan & Italian Spice Mix

We have changed some spelling on our labels and price lists. Szechuan pepper is now spelt Sichuan. There is no exactly correct way to spell it in English, so as Sichuan seems to be the more popular version, and makes pronunciation simpler, we have chosen to go with the flow. Also, we have changed the name of our Szechuan Spice Mix to Sichuan Chilli Spice Mix. Confusion tends to arise because the cuisine of the Sichuan region is actually very chilli-based, rather than using Sichuan pepper, so we hope this new definition will make things clearer.

Many customers have told us they want an Italian spice mix with more than just the fabulous Italian Herbs we already produce. So after some thought we’ve come up with a blend containing paprika, basil, tomato powder, salt, marjoram, oregano, parsley, thyme, sage, chilli, garlic, allspice and rosemary … everything you could possibly want, in fact, for the perfect Italian sauce or seasoning! It will not replace Italian Herbs, but will stand beside as an extra option.

Extract vs Essence

Sometimes people find the extract vs essence question confusing, so here’s the information directly from the new Spice Notes and Recipes. “Vanilla essence may either be a natural vanilla bean extract or it might be something completely different that does not contain any true vanilla at all. Nonetheless, because it tastes something like vanilla, it is representing the essence of vanilla. An extract is by definition natural, as the only way to make an extract of something is to begin with the real thing. Vanilla extract is made by soaking the beans in alcohol and the alcohol extracts the flavour of vanilla, which is then held in suspension in the alcohol. This extract, which only contains vanilla, alcohol and water, is also an essence, as it represents the essence of the flavour of vanilla. Totally confused? I hope not. And when you look at labels, most food laws stipulate that artificial essences are labeled as being either artificial or imitation.”

Our Spice Kits

Our gift kits have been overhauled and updated, with an enhanced recipe booklet in each kit. The new Entertainer’s Kit, great for parties at any time of year, joins the ranks this year to give you even more choices. We trust the kits will continue to solve your gift-giving dilemmas as Christmas approaches. Our ever-popular $5 dictionary has also been updated to include all the new products, and looks sleek and modern with its new green cover.

The Entertainer's

Have a happy and spicy Festive Season, and a safe and serene New Year!

Herbie and Liz

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