NEWSLETTER: Summer 2011/2012


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Spice up your Christmas Cooking

    The summer newsletter reminds us that Christmas is upon us once again, the time that we ponder over menus for The Day. This year we’ll fire up the brick oven to roast our galantine of turkey, and keep the heat out of the kitchen. The traditional pudding will take a break this year, as we’ll nod to the wintry origins of our Yuletide food heritage with a cool Mulled Wine jelly. We’re happy to share our recipe with you, so here it is:


Make the mulled wine by placing wine, spices, sugar, orange and lime in a saucepan. Heat, without allowing to boil, for about 40 minutes, then strain into a jug, squeezing fruit segments to release juice. Sprinkle the gelatine over the cold orange juice and allow to sink into the liquid. Add the gelatine mixture, stirring, to the hot wine. Continue to stir until all gelatine is dissolved, then pour into individual moulds of approximately 1/3 cup each. Allow to set.

Add Spice Dust to cream and beat until thick. Serve individual jellies with spiced cream and fresh cherries on the side.

Looking for some ideas to spice up your Christmas cooking?

Here are a few suggestions for you:

  • Add Fennel Pollen to the icing sugar when rolling truffles or rum balls
  • Prepare chicken on bamboo skewers and freeze, then you can quickly serve up chicken satay when a crowd appears
  • Before baking your Christmas shortbread, sprinkle the tops with Spice Dust mixed with caster sugar
  • Plan ahead so that you can be energy efficient – once your oven is hot, make sure you have more than one recipe ready to go, and make use of that heat. After all, you’re paying for it!

Mexican Vanilla Beans

As you know, we are constantly looking at what spices are available to us, as seasonal and climatic changes can have an effect on crops. So now, it’s ‘All change at Vanilla Station’ … we now have good Mexican vanilla beans as our more economical vanilla choice (two beans per pack), while for the moment Niue beans continue as our premium vanilla.

Spice Travels E-Book

Herbie’s book, Spice Travels, was originally published in 2002, telling the stories of some of our many journeys to spice-growing corners of the world. With tales of adventures in such far-flung places as Turkey, Vietnam and Mexico, each chapter is captivating. It is now out of print, a sad reality in the publishing world, however we are happy to tell you that it is available as an ebook for your Kindle or iPad. Download it from Amazon for some great holiday reading.

Wooden Spice Storage Boxes

Our hugely popular wooden spice boxes are back in stock, and better and sturdier than ever before. With a change of supplier, we now have a 6-bay box (halfway between the original small 4-bay and the large 8-bay), which is made of sustainable, New Zealand-grown pine. It is available for $49.00 (plus postage), or, for a special gift, we can fill it with our Pantry Start-Up packs, twenty in all, for a cost of $130.00.

Price Changes

In our last newsletter, we were able to give the good news that a strong dollar had offset rising costs, enabling us to keep prices stable. Alas, the rising costs have caught up with us! But while sixteen products have had to increase in price, the good news is that five have actually reduced. You’ll be paying a little more for the following herbs and spices: Indian brown cardamom pods, green cardamom pods, ground cloves, garlic flakes, lemon myrtle, nutmeg whole and ground, sweet paprika, cracked pepper, Iranian saffron and turmeric. The blends that have increased because of the lemon myrtle and turmeric content in them are Balmain and Rozelle Spice and Lemon Pepper Native Seasoning.

Asafoetida Powder

It has always irked us that the wheat content in asafoetida powder has prevented us from claiming an entirely no-added-gluten range. Now we have sourced asafoetida ground with rice instead of that troublesome wheat, so it should be gluten-free. However under Australian food laws, even minute parts per million of gluten, if detected, have to be declared on the label. So asafoetida and the blends containing asafoetida, although now (virtually) gluten-free (Vegetable Curry, Chaat Masala and Sambar mix) will have a statement on our labels that says “may contain traces of gluten due to manufacturing practices”. And as we make the change, we shall delete Yellow Asafoetida and just carry the new rice-compounded asafoetida.

Spice Kits for Christmas

Every Christmas you solve your gift-giving problems by exploring our range of themed Spice Gift Kits. As you can imagine, as costs ebb and flow, we have to keep a careful watch to make sure the kits remain good value for you, so there are occasional changes to recipes and contents to make sure the value of each box is fair. New products in our range also sometimes call for a revision of kit contents – for example, the Mexican Kit has been entirely revamped to include the fabulous new Mole Poblano and Spice Dust blends. So the message is, re-visit the Spice Kits and see what’s new. Call us on (02) 9555 6035 if you’d like a list posted to you.

You ask every year for a special Christmas box, so we have finally put together a Herbie’s Christmas Feast Kit which has a super Christmas Day menu for you. But remember, as it’s specifically designed for Yuletide meals, don’t put it under the tree for the cook in your household to open on Christmas Day! Filled with light summery flavours like lemon pepper, fennel seeds, spice dust and star anise, as well as traditional Christmas flavours of crusting mix, mulled wine, and mixed spice, the kit has as a bonus, the original Rosemary Hemphill Christmas cake recipe. The Christmas Feast Kit in its shiny red box retails at $40.00.


We wish you all a safe and enjoyable festive season … nicely spiced, of course! Herbie and Liz