NEWSLETTER: Summer 2014/2015

December 01, 2014 posted in Newsletters

The Spice and Herb Bible – 3rd Edition

Ta Daaah! The latest edition of Ian’s hugely successful book has arrived on our shores! Here’s the story in case you find the name change confusing:Spice Notes (Australia) was published in Canada as The Spice and Herb Bible. Spice Notes and Recipes (Australia) was The Spice and Herb Bible – 2nd Edition.

As Spice Notes and Recipes is now out of print, and the Australian publisher did not see fit to re-print this successful book, Robert Rose Inc. in Toronto took on the world-wide rights and started work on The Spice and Herb Bible – 3rd Edition. This new book is weighty in more than content, running to 800 pages, and is full of more original, delicious Kate Hemphill recipes and lots more great user-friendly information about herbs and spices. And the best news of all …the hard-cover version retails for just $49.95, and the soft-cover only $39.95.

If you’re playing Santa this year, take advantage of this!

Delicious Dips

More than any other time of year, summer seems to be the time when friends drop by on the spur of the moment, and hospitality needs to be quickly available, and stress-free. That’s when a carton of sour cream is so handy … mix with a favourite spice blend, and you have a delicious and unique dip. We usually divide the cream into two bowls, and mix something like Smokey Barbecue blend or Greek Seasoning into one dish, (the kids love it), and a spikier, more adult flavour like Tunisian or 32 Degrees spice mix into the other bowl. There are always crackers in the pantry, so it’s all easy. Use about a teaspoon per half-carton of sour cream, and experiment with your blends to find your favourite.

Baby Spice Kit

The youngest of our seven grandchildren is starting solid food, so we are reaching for our Baby Spice kit all over again! We just know that Jeremy is going to thrive as he enjoys the delicately-spiced, delicious home-cooked fare that has delighted his siblings and cousins.

Tagine in Summer

So you’ve put away your curry pot and your tagine for the summer? There seems to be a belief that these fabulous, tasty foods are only for winter, but just think for a moment … curries are eaten all year round in India, and tagines in Morocco, where summer temperatures can go well above 40 C! Although there is a natural inclination to enjoy warming comfort foods in cold weather, enjoyment of food is largely subjective. There’s nothing wrong with a fresh, lively Greek salad in the middle of winter, or a blistering Vindaloo on a summer evening. A little warm weather is not going to keep us from enjoying our lovely Chettinad Indian blend, which has lively amounts of both chilli and pepper that are positively addictive.

What’s New?

What’s new at Herbie’s? We have two new kits for Christmas to acknowledge the oh-so-today Middle Eastern flavours that we all love: Plenty of Flavour – for vegies and grains (Smoked Paprika, Sumac, Aleppo Pepper, Za’atar, Baharat, Black Lime powder and Barberries) and Turkish Delights (Aleppo Pepper, Sumac, Shish Kebab spice, Iranian Saffron, Turkish green mint, Baharat, Cumin seed ground) – both in the $35.00 range. Also new, as usual, is the Box of Ideas for Summer, our seasonal $25.00 kit, containing Shichimi Togarashi, Nasi Goreng Mix, Fennel Seeds, Mixed Spice and Greek Seasoning.

It’s funny how we have pre-conceived ideas about things. We have always used our Tasty Meat Sprinkle for chops, steaks and sausages. But a customer told us that the kids love it on chicken and on baked potato wedges… and the word is spreading! Try it for yourself and be as pleasantly surprised as we were.

…Eek! The price of Vanilla Powder has soared due to short supply! However, when you pay your $18.00 for a 20g pack, remember that it’s equivalent to at least four beans, so at a theoretical $4.50 a bean, it’s good value compared to whole beans.

Allspice vs Mixed Spice

As some of you reach for the ingredients to do your Christmas baking, it is timely to remind you of the difference between Allspice and Mixed Spice. Allspice is a dark brown berry, slightly larger than a peppercorn, also known as Jamaica pepper. The name allspice tells us that it tastes like a mixture of all spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and cassia. Mixed Spice, on the other hand, is a mixture of spices for sweet cooking. Along with coriander seed, cassia, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, you’ll find allspice. When you make your cake, you can simply add up your individual spice components (it may be 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground cloves) and replace with the corresponding amount of Mixed Spice.


Hasn’t the world just exploded with spice-themed books, restaurants and TV shows? Most of them are beautifully presented and utterly mouth-watering, however not all information is exactly correct. For instance, on hearing that sumac is made from a crushed berry, it’s easy to imagine something like a blueberry or raspberry dried and ground. In fact, about 80% of a sumac berry is the hard seed, surrounded by a fleshy skin which is dragged away from the seed in what could be called a grinding process. The result is the best quality of sumac, and as the process continues, more of the seed, and even leaves, are added back and ground to make much poorer, cheaper, grades of sumac. This inferior product is sometimes coloured to make it look more attractive.

Spice Storage Boxes

Our new shipment of wooden spice storage boxes will not arrive in time for Christmas, but we can offer you an alternative. It’s a simple, locally-made un-lidded wooden box, almost like a deep tray, that will fit on your pantry shelf and hold two rows of spice packs. It’s a more economical option, at just $15.00. As soon as they are in stock, we’ll let you know via the website.

Explore All

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

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,

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.


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!


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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.


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.


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.


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!


Herbie’s Newsletter Spring 2020

Rose Harrisa Mackerel Spring is a time always associated with flowers.  Cauliflowers, broccoli and broccolini, even cabbage and kale, are all flowers, and it occurred to us that one could make a culinary bouquet by adding rose harissa to these flowers.  We started the experiment with rose harissa sprinkled on cauliflower cheese, then progressed to rose harissa stir-fried with broccolini, and broccoli florets tossed with rose

Why Herbie is Obsessed with Spices

During this time when many of us are isolated, either voluntarily or forced, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I cover at the beginning of a Spice Appreciation Class. As classes are off now, here goes a virtual communication! People often ask why I am so obsessed with spices. This video explains where it all started,

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