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Once again Christmas is upon us, a time for friends, family and fabulous food. For yet another festive season, by some careful juggling of contents and recipes, we’ve held the price of our popular Spice Kits at their existing points of $20.00, $25.00 and $30.00 (excepting the larger special boxes). Order online at www.herbies.com.au or phone us on (02) 9555 6035.
In the countdown for Christmas:
• By the end of week one of December, you should have posted all your overseas gifts, or ask us to do it for you.
• By the end of the second week, you should have your entertaining menus planned and your shopping list compiled.
• By the end of the third week, have your Christmas shopping completed and your Christmas break menus planned. Then wrap your presents, buy your fresh ingredients, relax and enjoy Christmas!
Summer is the premium time for entertaining, yet it’s also the time when we’re often too busy to spend time on preparation in the kitchen. Our daughter Kate has a secret helper in the following recipe – once you’ve made the dressing, you have enough for several simple and memorable salads that your guests and family will swoon over. (For more of Kate’s innovative food ideas, see www.lovetocook.co.uk)
Rocket Salad with Spiced Pear Dressing
- 2 pears, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 100g caster sugar
- 125ml white vinegar
Place all dressing ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for up to 60 minutes or until pears are very soft and liquid has reduced and is sticky. Push the mixture through a fine sieve, discarding fibrous solids. Stir the dressing well to combine. (This makes approximately 1 cup of dressing and will keep for 3 months in an airtight container.)
To serve, toss 100 g rocket lightly with dressing and extra virgin olive oil. Finish off with a good grind of black pepper.
Serves 4-6 as a side.
We’ve been busy playing with spices (surprise!) and have created some great, easy blends to make your job in the kitchen easier and more rewarding. As you all know, our blends contain no starches, fillers or artificial gunk, and the number of people seeking them out just keeps growing. Just in time for your Christmas pork, we have made a Pork Spice that you can use with a stuffing, or as a rub. It’s a simple mix which includes celery seed, pepper, fennel, oregano, coriander seed and salt, all brilliantly supportive to the delicious flavour of pork, be it a roast or a chop on the barbie. Use the pear dressing above as a glaze, too. Serve your pork with vegetables roasted in the oven, enhanced by our new Roast Vegetable Herb Mix, another tasty purpose-designed blend.
Also new is the Breadmaker’s Seed Mix, based on the variety of seed spices we always add to our home-made bread. You just add the entire pack to a two-loaf batch of dough to enjoy the nuttiness and nutrition of toasted, unhulled, and black sesame seeds, nigella, ajowan, and blue and white poppy seeds. Try it tossed through steamed cabbage or cauliflower too. Delicious!
Last, but in no way least in the new blends, we have a Fish Cake Spice Mix. Even though we adore a hit of chilli with fish, we have kept this very family-friendly. It’s a combination of coriander and fennel seeds, ginger, dill, lemon myrtle, sumac and mace, to compliment fish … we particularly love it when we use smoked cod in the fish cakes. We add some finely chopped fresh chilli, and you can too if you like.
We have replaced our Mexican vanilla beans with a beautiful new product from the Pacific island of Niue. This A grade bean, grown by a small producer with whom we deal directly, is a better quality bean, plumper and with more seeds inside, than any we have seen before. The Niue beans will be priced at the same cost as the Mexican beans they are replacing, and we’re sure you will love them as much as we do.
And, finally, a big drumroll for the arrival of our first Vanilla Bean Paste . Whilst there have been pastes around for some time, they have paddings like glycerine and alginates and therefore we have avoided them. It’s not necessarily clever to believe statements such as “pure vanilla bean paste” unless you have read the contents list on the pack – it would be very rare indeed to find such a thing. Our lovely new paste comes from Vanuatu, and is made from certified organic vanilla beans, sugar and lemon juice … no alcohol, no alginates or other thickeners.
So that’s the good news … now for the sad news. Our supplier of coconut extract has sold out to a large company, and we shall have to buy very large quantities from now on. Now we all know what a lovely product it is, however if we were to buy the quantities demanded of us, we would have to write off about 80% of it as it would reach its best before date before being sold. We are so disappointed by this new attitude, however it’s beyond our control, and sadly we shall have to discontinue coconut extract when our present stock runs out.
As most of you have become comfortable with website and email transactions, you will see that we have included a product list instead of an order form with your newsletter. So, to place an order, just go to our website or give us a call.
And at this stage, there’s nothing left to say except to wish you a safe and happy festive season, and our very best seasoned greetings to you all!
Herbie and Liz