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Finally we have reached 2010, now perhaps we can start saying twenty-ten rather than two-thousand-and-ten. Surely we don’t have to spend the next 90 years saying two-thousand-and-something – after all, we all learned that the Battle of Hastings happened in ten-sixty-six, not one thousand and sixty-six..
Keep your eyes peeled for a new book, Just Add Spice , which will be out in stores soon. Our own Herbie has collaborated with friend and colleague Lyndey Milan to bring about this book, a voyage through the intriguing world of food, spices and wine, using a basic repertoire of spices to create exciting dishes. It’s a book for those people who fear that cooking with spices is too hard, and for those who want to know how to match wine with spiced food. This book, with beautiful mouth-watering photographs, will please and inspire the home cook and culinary fanatic. At the retail price of $49.50, every home should have one!
We are delighted to welcome The Essential Ingredient as a new neighbour. They have moved in to the old Barn site, just 5 doors up the road from our Rozelle store. Now your trip to Rozelle can include a stock-up on all those essentials for your kitchen and pantry, and a coffee in the espresso bar, as well as a visit to Herbie’s Spices. To celebrate the arrival of The Essential Ingredient, we have finally given in to pressure to open on Sundays. You’ll find Tami there to help you with all your requirements from 10.00 to 3.00 every Sunday.
Some products just take off unexpectedly and hit the top of the pops instantly. Such is the case with the Roast Vegetable Herb Mix that we launched in November. We’ve also found it’s a super magic ingredient in the breadcrumbs for schnitzel! For roast vegies that are ready almost in the time it takes to heat the barbecue and cook a steak, turn your oven on to fairly hot and then microwave the number of potatoes you need until cooked. Press down on each potato until it bursts and partly flattens, then sprinkle with Roast Vegetable Herb Mix and drizzle with oil. Place in your pre-heated oven to brown and crisp while you cook your steak. Voila!
We’ve mentioned over the years the somewhat questionable methods involved in creating products that masquerade as saffron in all parts of the world, including Australia. It seems that the more valuable a spice is, the greater the temptation to fiddle with it to keep the price high. Black peppercorns and vanilla beans are sometimes sprayed with coconut oil (or even non-food-grade oil) to make them look nice and shiny. Another trick is to allow the moisture content to exceed the accepted level of around 12% … naturally, the more moisture the heavier, so unscrupulous traders turn their spices into more saleable kilos. Constant vigilance on your behalf is our motto here at Herbie’s Spices!
Do you find little packets of dip mix in your supermarket trolley? If you read the ingredient listing, you will probably find onion, garlic and salt featuring fairly prominently in them, and possibly flavour enhancers, starches and fillers too. With our summer entertaining, we found an almost inexhaustible supply of dip ideas by just using our spice mixes. By simply stirring about two teaspoons (more or less to taste) into a cup of sour cream, plain yoghurt or cream cheese, you can make quick and tasty dips. Here are a few of our favourites:
- 32 Degrees Spice Mix (a mild chilli component – just hot enough)
- Harissa (a big chilli component!)
- Sichuan Chilli Spice Mix (another hot one, and very tasty)
- Brazilian (great with beetroot – see below)
- Chermoula (great with carrot – see below)
- Greek or Italian Seasoning (a tasty result for all the family)
- Smokey BBQ Spice (a rich, smokey flavour)
- Garlic Steak Seasoning (an all round favourite)
- Any of the curry powders also work well. And don’t forget the old trick of stirring in a few toasted and lightly cracked cumin seeds to your store-bought hummus. We make a lovely Moroccan carrot dip using Chermoula – just cook and puree some carrots, whizz with a little honey, lemon juice, Chermoula and vinegar to taste.
Family matters kept us close to home during January this year, so we missed our usual trip to India. However, everything is in place for a Spice Discovery Tour in January 2011. The itinerary is on the website, and final costings should be available by about May. We make the tour price all-inclusive of air travel, land travel, all accommodation, all meals, all tips, so that there is nothing left to pay for except your purchases along the way.
Beetroot is in season during summer, and our garden kept us well supplied through December. Simply cook them whole in boiling water until tender, at which time the skin slips off easily. We make a lovely alternative to tomato sauce for our barbecues, using pureed beetroot, Greek yoghurt, and Brazilian spice mix to taste. Use your own discretion as to proportions of beetroot and yoghurt – it all depends on how purple you want it to be!
Herbie’s out of town on the following dates:
- 24th-25th April, at Cleanskin stores in Victoria. For more information, phone (03) 5952 3494 and speak to Michelle or John.
- 22nd May, at the beautiful Cooking Co-ordinates classroom in Canberra. For more information, phone (02) 6253 5133.
- 29th June, at Black Pearl Epicure in Brisbane – phone (07) 3257 2144 for more information.
Check out the new panel on the home page of the website – News and Events – to see what’s happening.
There have been lots of positive comments about the new website. Don’t forget you can use the herb & spice search panel on the right hand side of the home page to find something quickly. Herbie has made some very informative “web-isodes” – to see these, you just click on Herbie’s TV on the left-hand side of the home page. And for those in a hurry, there’s a super Express Order Form link under the Herbs and Spices tab. Clicking on the name of any product on the order form will take you through to more information. It’s all there to make life easier and more interesting for you!
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Happy Spicing Herbie and Liz