NEWSLETTER: Summer 2012/2013

December 01, 2012 posted in Newsletters

Travel

As this newsletter reaches you, we are visiting the Spice Islands aboard a 12- cabin ketch, exploring the islands that have been at the heart of the spice trade between Europe and the East since 1522.

On the tiny Indonesian island of Ternate, native home to nutmeg and cloves, the sultan gave a plot of land to the Portuguese in 1522. For the next quarter of a century, Spain and Portugal squabbled over this island and its neighbour, Tidore, with much pillage, torture and rape, before Francis Xavier (later Saint Francis Xavier) of Spain caused such havoc that it finally resulted in both the Spanish and Portuguese being forced to leave.

After a short respite from foreign interference, the tiny islands found Francis Drake on their doorsteps, with British interests keen to cultivate the friendship of the local sultan. This trading partnership thrived until the British were scuttled by their supposed allies in the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch then controlled the clove and nutmeg trade until 1810, when the governor of Isle de France (now Mauritius) smuggled clove seedlings out of the country and opened the way for other places such as Zanzibar and Mauritius to enter to spice trade. That governor’s name was Pierre Poivre … the original Peter Piper, who didn’t actually pick a peck of pickled peppers, but risked his life to steal the clove monopoly from the Dutch. It’s all worthy of a swashbuckling movie!

Indonesia is still the world’s largest producer of cloves, and the world’s biggest importer as well, as huge amounts of ground cloves go up in smoke in over 100 million kretek cigarettes a day. If you’re filled with envy that we are delighting in sea, sun and lovely unspoiled tropical islands, partaking of freshly-caught seafood, you can check out the tour on the website www.seatrekbali.com and look for the vessel Ombak Putih. Tours run at various times of the year, excluding cyclone season.

Not content with our Spice Islands adventure, we’re off again in January for our last ever Spice Discovery Tour to India. We always look forward to being back in India, and although this is the final tour that we will lead, we fully intend to continue our visits in a private capacity. If you are kicking yourself that you have missed out on coming to India with us, don’t worry, we will be happy to point you in the right direction as you plan your own visit to this amazing continent.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, we are pleased to know that our high-barrier laminate bags, whilst not as environmentally friendly as a twist of recycled newspaper, tread more lightly upon the earth than glass jars. In order to reduce our carbon footprint further, we have just had solar panels installed on our factory roof, which means that up to 80% of the power we consume will be generated on site. In spite of the financial pain of the investment, it’s a good feeling.

New Spice Kits

Hoorah! Our new Spice Kits are up and running! We love the fresh new look, the lighter weight, the revised recipes, and the abundance of packs in each kit. The revision of contents, usually undertaken about twice a year, has not only given us the opportunity to make sure the value for price is correct, but also to add some of our fabulous new products such as Amok Cambodian curry and Lentil and Dhal Spice to the appropriate kits. The new kid on the block is the fantastic Chocolate Indulgence kit, which will delight the chocoholics with spicy versions of the old favourites such as truffles, cookies, ice cream, brownies and rocky road, Yum! Remember, you can order kits for Christmas by phone, fax, email or from the website.

Grinding Our Own Spices

Over the past several months, we have been grinding more and more of our own spices , and you will notice the difference. Cardamom seeds have been ground in-house for a long time, and we know you love the result, but notice also the difference in long pepper, fenugreek seed, star anise, galangal. Speaking of long pepper, it has been suggested that “long is the new black” – an interesting proposition for those who love their pepper and are keen to explore a range of aroma and flavour.

What’s New at Herbie’s?

Vadouvan Curry Mix

How we love it when our customers ask us for something new! In response to a chat we had recently over the counter of our shop, we have developed a lovely new Vadouvan Curry Mix. If the name sounds French to you, you’re on the right track – the French who colonized the Pondicherry area of eastern India took a liking to the local flavours and made this version their own. A larger-than-usual leaning towards dried onion and garlic, and the freshness of curry leaves, makes this blend mild and a little sweet … almost reminiscent of a Japanese-style curry. In order to get the right quality of mildness for the Vadouvan, we have used Madras turmeric instead of the richer Alleppey turmeric that we usually prefer for curries. You will find Vadouvan Curry in a 40 gram pack, and the price is $4.90.

Creole Spice

Also new for summer is our fabulous Creole Spice. For a full flavour punch, this is a winner! Dust it on chicken and make it a barbecue staple – leave the skin on to get maximum effect. Try it on a swordfish steak, or on red meat it does great things on a roast, and we’re thinking it might be the spice mix for the Christmas turkey this year. A 40 gram pack retails for $ 4.20.

Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Spicing!

Herbie and Liz

Explore All
post

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
post

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,
post

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.

post

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!

post

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
post

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
post

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
post

ALL ABOUT ZA’ATAR

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
post

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
post

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
post

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.
post

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
post

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
post

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.

post

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.

post

Herbie’s Newsletter Summer 2020-2021

A world-wide annus horribilis is drawing to a close, and all we want for Christmas is a better year ahead. For many, time spent in confinement has been a time for reflection, communicating with loved ones, and cooking up a storm.

post

Herbie Makes a Curry in Kumily

In this video, following a short elephant ride, I have the audacity to show my Indian friends at Spice Village how I make my Saturday Curry!

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.
Subscribe