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

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