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Spice Appreciation with Herbie & Liz
Introducing a unique spice appreciation and spice blending workshop with Ian & Liz Hemphill of Herbie’s Spices on Sunday 23rd August 2020 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.
Spices are quite literally On Trend as never before. We see spices in the majority of restaurant and café menus, the amazing colours and textures of spices feature in food magazines, and even restaurants and boutique food outlets call themselves by spice names to reinforce their foodie credentials.
Nonetheless, mystery has surrounded spices, their origins and uses for thousands of years. However, how much do you really know about these wonders of nature, and the best ways to buy, store and use them in everyday meals?
In this workshop, Ian “Herbie” Hemphill, author of the award winning
will take you on a magical mystery tour of the world of spices.
Workshop participants will learn just what spices and herbs really are, the different roles for using fresh or dried, and why most spices are dried to get their flavours.
Importantly, spice blending will be explained, showing how 9 identical spices can be used to make four completely different spice blends. These blends will then be used hands-on when you collaborate to make four different recipes, featuring the flavours of Morocco, China, India and the Middle East.
Due to the current situation with many of you isolated, we felt it would be appropriate to break with tradition and send this to you ahead of the Winter Newsletter.
It feels as though this year has been cursed in many ways, however we can’t go back and start again, so it seems the only way through it is to endure day by day, and we wish all of you better times ahead. We at Herbie’s are carrying on as best we can, with our staff split over three shifts, over the seven days of the week. In this way, should anyone have to isolate, it will only be the people who have worked with her/him who will be lost to the workforce. So far, we are managing to keep up with demand, however, should your mail order take a day longer than usual, please bear with us, as we are doing our best.
There are upsides to isolation – deciding to make pickles with the produce from the vege garden Pickled Beetroot and Tomato Chutney, if you have one; getting around to cleaning out those neglected cupboards; phoning old friends. Cooking has taken on a more leisurely aspect: there’s the luxury of having time to slow-cook something even in the middle of the week, and to make a batch of biscuits, cakes Spiced Honey Cake or treats just because you can such as Easter Bread Pudding.
Easter Bread Pudding
We are a nation of travelers, and our wings have been severely clipped. With travel plans disrupted, the only way to travel now is through the cuisines that you bring to your own dining table. Here’s a way to have a round-the-world trip whilst you stay at home:
…… and before you know it, you’re home again and your two weeks of isolation are over. Congratulations! Your Herbie’s Spices have enabled you to have this fabulous culinary trip, using spice blends that create the authentic flavours in a way that you know you can trust. There are recipes on the backs of the packs, so if there’s not a link to a website recipe, you’ll find one on the pack.
We suspect that a few of you have given the pantry an autumn cleanout, and we have been busy fulfilling your internet orders as you restock your shelves with lovely new packs. You’re all set to cook up a storm now! Taking advantage of the slightly cooler weather, we recently lit the brick oven to make fresh pizzas, then, as the heat gently receded, we cooked a Lamb Shank Tagine and Beef with Baharat and Olives until the meat was velvety and tender. After taking the meat dishes out, the oven was sitting on 100 C, and we put an apple crumble in, giving it about two hours to slowly, slowly, cook the apple and the crumble topping (flavoured with Mixed Spice, of course!) The result was an amazing texture and flavour, and you can be sure we’ll be repeating that experience whenever we use the brick oven.
World tumult is bound to bring bad news. Our Aussie dollar has fallen to record lows, which increases the cost of everything that comes in to this country, so we’re seeing higher spice costs as a result. The other bad news is that closed borders are meaning suspended supply of many of our imported spices. We shall try to manage stock by having order limits, to make what we have on hand last longer, and hopefully we won’t see too many out-of-stock situations. (It won’t be a desperate as the toilet paper shortage, we can assure you!)
We trust you have found our unprecedented non-seasonal newsletter entertaining and informative. Keep your spirits up and stay well!
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 or barbecued something, made a casserole, roast or stir-fry? You can cook.
When some ingredients are in short supply, or the pantry only has beans, lentils, canned tomatoes and fish, rice, pasta, etc. enjoying interesting and different meals every day is not a challenge with a few spices to create variety.
As an example, every week we have this lentil dish:
Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole dish or tagine.
Coat the lamb generously with the Tagine Blend, and seal in the hot oil on all sides.
Add the stock, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add all the other ingredients and salt to taste, and bring to boiling point, then place the lid on the dish and transfer it to the heated oven.
Cook slowly for two hours, until the meat falls easily from the bone.
Prepare the couscous following the directions on the pack, and serve the Tagine over the couscous.
We think you get the point!
When you have spices and spice blends (and remember all Herbie’s Spices are only made from natural ingredients, and 100% of all ingredients are listed on our website, and labels) you have variety at your fingertips. Rice is such a staple, and somewhat boring if you have it plain every day. However, by simply using our Nasi Goreng Spice Mix, Paella Blend or our new Risotto Spice Blend every rice dish can be very different.
Following are some other easy uses for your spices:
Greek Seasoning: Rub over lamb before cooking, sprinkle over slices of eggplant and zucchini before cooking on the barbecue.
Mixed Spice: Add to shortbread biscuits and banana sandwiches.
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Herbie’s Spice Appreciation – with bonus Gin making kit
This is the comprehensive introduction to spices that almost needs no introduction!
In this two-hour session, Ian Herbie Hemphill, will navigate through the exotic waters of the history of the spice trade, while Liz prepares tasty spiced morsels. You will learn about many different spices, their origins, and how they are processed and traded. Most importantly, Herbie and Liz will de-mystify their flavours and explain the principles behind spice blending, so you will feel comfortable using them in everyday cooking.
In addition to this, Herbie will show you how to use his beautiful quality botanicals to create your own Gin at home.
St Margaret’s Car Park at 417-435 Bourke Street, Surry Hills is a great option for parking with 80 spaces available and a 5-minute walk from the Cooking School. Casual parking rates after 5 pm are $4/hour.
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:
We are proud of the exceptional storage qualities of our high-barrier laminate plastic bags, however from time to time we agonize over the eco-friendliness (or not) of our plastic packaging. We found it interesting that another food company has thoroughly researched the glass-versus-laminate question. Put briefly, the Life Cycle Assessment conducted at RMIT University found that their non-recyclable pouch uses less non-renewable energy and less water to produce, and emits less CO2 equivalents over its entire life cycle than a glass jar. They also pointed out that nearly half of Australia’s recyclable glass is not recycled in Australia, so the environmental effects of shipping the glass out of the country need to be taken into account as well.
We are doing our best to bring you the best quality product and not overburden our environment. Naturally, we cannot compromise on keeping your spices as fresh as possible. We are constantly watching for developments in packaging, and are hopeful that a recyclable or bio-degradable bag with equivalent barrier properties of our current packaging is not too far away.
Shortage of Cardamom Seeds
Further to our comments in the latest Newsletter about star anise being used in the making of Tamiflu, a contact in the know has let us know that Tamiflu’s effect is in doubt, so maybe our star anise supplies are safe! But it’s a case of “one door opens, another closes”, as we face drastic shortages of cardamom seeds. The importation of seeds of any kind has become more difficult due to new Australian bio-security regulations introduced recently. That combined with low harvests in India (our source) and Guatemala (another major producer) you may have to stock up on whole green cardamom pods, and peel the husk away to avail yourself of the seeds as you need them. That’s what we’ll be doing in order to continue to include ground cardamom in retail packs.
What’s New at Herbie’s?
Lots of new kit ideas, that’s what! Our Summer Box of Ideas for this season contains Jamaican Jerk seasoning and Brazilian spice mix for your summer barbecues, plus our lovely Native Lemon Pepper for your seafood (pictured is the Salmon Salad Recipe that is enclosed in the kit), Mixed Herbs for your stuffings and hamburgers, and Sugar and Spice for your sweet treats. In our bright summer sky blue box, it’s $25.00 plus postage.
Risotto Blend and Black Garlic Powder
Also new for summer is our beautiful Risotto spice mix. It’s never been easier to have a deliciously tasty risotto with the simplest of ingredients. Just add a couple of teaspoons of Risotto spice mix to your stock, add some lovely seasonal vegetables, and stand by for the adulation from your diners! After the sad demise of our black garlic bulbs (see latest newsletter), we have now found some amazing black garlic powder, which is pure umami, and we’ve used it as an important ingredient in the new spice blend, along with porcini powder, thyme, parsley, pepper, coriander seed and paprika. A 20g pack, priced at $6.75, will make two batches of risotto.
During winter, we visited Tasmania to do some classes for Hill Street Grocer, in Hobart and Devonport. It’s impossible to fail to notice the plethora of boutique gin producers in Tasmania, most of them featuring the pepperberry which is native to that state. We encourage you to seek out some of these boutique gins, which are really excellent. Inspired, we played around with some Australian native spices in conjunction with our Ginspiration Kit, and were very pleased with the results. That put us in a tricky situation … do we change what is already in our Ginspiration Kit, or make another one? The solution, as we saw it, was to keep our excellent popular gin-making kit as it is, and have a little add-on box of spices for those who want to have more fun and experiment further with more than the traditional flavours. So, we are happy to introduce Ginspiration Plus, an enhanced two-box bundle for $85.00 … making your own gin has never been so much fun!
Japanese Spice Kit
Brand new in time for Christmas is the Japanese Spice Kit, packed with Furikake Seasoning, Sansho powder, Katsu curry, ground ginger and Shichimi Togarashi, with some excellent recipes to get you started on your Japanese adventure. Due to the sky-high cost of Sancho powder, this kit is a little more expensive than most, but still reasonable at $45.00. It’s in our purple box, in line with all the other cuisine-specific kits.
Watch this space – our consistently superior Kashmiri saffron is about to have a downward price adjustment. Now there’s an early Christmas gift for everyone!
We’re thoroughly Indian-infused, back from a wonderful trip to northern parts of India, with 19 of the best travelling companions, and we’re off again in January to the south. Just love those spices, the wonderful food, the amazing history and the delightful people that we meet along the way.
Peugeot Salt & Pepper Mills
There’s great pleasure to be had in really good salt and pepper grinders that are easily adjustable and truly functional. We have sourced a beautiful pack of Peugeot salt and pepper grinders, which we are offering in time for Christmas with complimentary Herbie’s Peppermill Blend and Spiced Salt, to get you started. You’ll find all the details on the website.
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Herbie’s Spice Appreciation – with bonus Gin making kit
PRESENTED BY THE COOKING SCHOOL AT THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT SURRY HILLS
About the class
This is the comprehensive introduction to spices that almost needs no introduction!
In this two-hour session, Ian Hemphill, otherwise known as ‘Herbie’ will navigate through the exotic waters of the history of the spice trade. You will learn about many different spices, their origins, and how they are processed and traded. Most importantly, Herbie will de-mystify their flavours and explain the principles behind spice blending, so you will feel comfortable using them in everyday cooking.
In addition to this Herbie will show you how to use his beautiful quality botanicals to create your own Gin at home.
Included in this class: – Herbies ‘Ginspiration Kit’ so you can go home and brew up a batch (RRP $69.95) – A glass of Herbies own gin and tonic on ice – An array of delicious spicy nibbles!
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HERBIE’S SPICES SPRING PICNIC SPREAD
Add a little spice to your spring picnic with a flavour infused spread of Herbie’s spiced recipes… including a Herbie’s Spiced Gin!
Join Liz & Ian “Herbie” Hemphill (author of the award winning Spice & Herb Bible) on a magical mystery tour of the world of spices. Watch & learn about fresh vs dried herbs & spices, how best to extract flavour and create 4 different spice blends from 9 identical spices before putting your new know-how to use… hands-on spice blending & menu making!
Plus, if that’s not enough spice for one picnic… just add Gin!
Take in tips as Herbie demonstrates how to make your own spiced Gin using Herbie’s Ginspiration Spice Mix.
Class menu includes
Moroccan Chermoula Chicken Kebabs
Moroccan Quinoa Salad
Chinese Spiced Ham
Middle Eastern Muhamarra Dip
Middle Eastern Quick Flatbread
Indian Sweet & Spicy Beer Nuts
Sample Herbie’s Spiced Gin & Tonic
At the end of this flavour infused class guests will come together to enjoy a picnic spread they have collectively prepared… complete with a refreshing glass of Herbies Spiced Gin & Tonic.
Proceeds raised from this class will be donated to the Your Angel NAO for Kids robotics program
Providing interactive learning & development opportunities for local children living with Autism, developmental, social, emotional or behavioural challenges
Available for purchase on the day:
Herbie’s award winning The Spice & Herb Bible (Third Edition), $40
Herbie’s Spices Ginspiration Spice Kit, $65
Spices and More … in South India With Herbie and Liz
January 27th – February 15th 2020 (20 nights)
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!
With places filling rapidly for our January 2020 Spices & More Tour to India, we would like to remind interested travellers that the cut off date for confirming bookings is 14th October 2019. We will only take a small group of no more than 18, so travellers are assured of the best attention.
Why a Spices & More Tour?
Explore India and enter the exciting and historic world of exotic spices that drew the early explorers from Portugal, Holland, France and England to this cradle of the spice trade, guided by Australia’s own spice specialists, Herbie and Liz.
Visits to India’s famous chilli market in Guntur, the largest chilli market in the world, before heading down the east coast to French influenced Pondicherry, the historic Hindu ruins of Hampi and the majestic Hindu temple in Madurai. From farms in Tamil Nadu we head up the hills to Kumily, the home of cardamom and pepper, then to historic Cochin to experience the steamy spice-rich regions and markets of the South.
See fresh green peppercorns being hand picked from this tropical climbing vine native to the south of India.
In this land of great contrasts and unforgettable images, India’s unpredictability is part of its charm. Will we see splendidly-attired temple elephants in Cochin, or a colourful wedding procession as we arrive at our hotel? These were some of the unexpected delights encountered on previous tours.
COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS TRAVELLERS:
Jane:…”a fantastic trip with wonderful, lasting memories and amazing experiences.”
Anne: What can I say but wow! and thank you , it was a great trip
Peter:… you never know I could certainly do it again.
Doug: I had a GREAT TIME and would travel with you anywhere any time
Hazel: The trip was splendid and surpassed all my expectations.
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 coast of India, and their eating experiences resulted in the Vadouvan curry – mild in chilli heat, but rich in onion and curry leaf – being taken back to their homeland. Indian migrants took their delicious spicy food with them to Africa, east to the South-East Asian countries, and to Fiji. Local versions such as Massaman, Rendang and Laksa evolved. Even Japan eventually opened up to curry flavours, making their Katsu mild and sweet, based on a roux and thickened with sweet pureed carrot. The distinctive lightness of Thai food was not compromised when curry arrived on the menu – the robust Indian flavours were modified to make the Red and Green curries that are still so very distinctly Thai.
Curry’s chance of world domination stopped at the shores of America, the original home of chillies, where curry is still regarded with some suspicion.
There is a wide belief that a curry is hot with chilli, which is not necessarily the case. There are many flavour elements from other spices that go to make up a curry masala (mix). We’ve made a sort of heat ladder to help you work out which curry might suit you best, starting with the mildest at 1 and growing to the hottest at 10. Anything from 1 to 3 is perfect for small children, and Vindaloo at 10 will delight and satisfy. Chilli lovers can always add extra chilli if they wish.
It is tempting to think of a curry as something distinctly Indian or Asian. If that’s the case, what about your good old curried egg sandwich, surely as British as a cucumber sandwich? Because of the clever blending of spices, a curry blend can be used to enhance many foods that don’t need to be categorized into a country of origin. The other night, we seasoned some chicken thigh fillets with Chettinad spice mix and barbecued them with excellent results. It’s always good to keep an open mind when approaching your spice blends.
Speaking of blends, the availability of flawless seasonal cauliflower led to a batch of soup recently, which was flavoured with our dual-personality spice mix known both as Balmain-Rozelle Spice and Sydney Spice. Wanting a bit more oomph in the flavour, we added Tempero Baiano, which has some of the same ingredients as Sydney Spice, but with stronger base notes to give a little more importance to the final flavour of the soup. The result was delicious!
All around us are labels telling us what is not in various products … gluten-free, GMO-free, dairy-free, salt-free, sugar-free, fat-free, artificial additive-free, etc. A label could be full of statements of what is not included while not actually saying what is in the product! We believe that we should tell you exactly what you are getting, and let you deduce what is not there, so on our labels you will find a complete list of the spices used to make a blend. Did you know that the ingredients listed on a label are required by law to be in descending order by weight? When you see blends whose first ingredient is salt, it should be an alarm bell, especially if a generic mention of “spices” is the last on the list!
What’s new at Herbie’s? It is time to discover our Yellow Chilli Flakes, which give you even more choice and flexibility when it comes to cooking with chilli. Particularly sought-after in north Indian and Himalayan cooking, the heat rating is a piping-hot 9 out of 10. We are sad that we have been unable to continue the beautiful Black Garlic bulbs which had us so excited very recently, due to a quality issue that we’re working on. We are going to leave the recipe for the amazing black garlic marinade on our website, so that when you find some of this magic ingredient elsewhere, you can still make this marinade which is enhanced by Herbie’s Spices Urfa Biber, porcini powder, coriander and sweet paprika.
Also brand new is a fabulous barbecue rub that we’ve called American Spicy BBQ Rub. Featuring the rich earthiness of Urfa Biber, as well as porcini, smoked paprika and onion, it’s immediately jumped to the top of the list of favourites in our household.
This season’s Spring Box of Ideas continues our mission of increasing your spice vocabulary with products that may extend your repertoire with pleasing results. Our pretty spring-green box contains Cajun spice mix (possibly an old favourite), as well as Fennel Pollen, Korean Red Pepper Flakes, and Turmeric Chai. We’ve had fun creating recipes for this season – our gloriously golden Turmeric Chai panna cotta is a winner!
We are watching the price of star anise, waiting for price rises and shortages. The reason? Star anise is the source of shikimic acid, the key ingredient in the anti-flu drug we know as Tamiflu. According to Dr Ian Musgrave, Pharmacology Senior Lecturer at University of Adelaide, around 90% of China’s star anise production is going into making Tamiflu. So hoard your culinary star anise while you can, but don’t fool yourself that you can self-medicate to prevent the flu – it’s a very complicated scientific process.
Earlier this year, we promised to re-think our ever-popular Barbecue Spice Kit. A complete makeover was timely, given so many of our splendid new products, and this kit now contains: American BBQ, Bill’s Steak Rub, Chermoula, Aussie BBQ, Creole, Sydney Spice and Smokey BBQ. There are recipes included, as always, but really, it’s so simple – just add the spice, cook and enjoy! Just in time for Christmas, this will make a bloke in your life very happy.
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Julie’s Place is very excited to announce a wonderful long lunch with herb and spice guru, Ian “Herbie” Hemphill.
Ian, author of “Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition”, among other respected books, will take you on a journey through the Middle East to learn about and experience their use of spices. And while he does, Julie Goodwin will cook for you the dishes that bring the stories to life. The lunch will consist of multiple delectable courses with wines.
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to experience a journey through the world of spice with a peerless expert. And a beautiful lunch as well!
Dads are often hard to buy for, so at Herbie’s Spices we have put together three spice kits that will have Dad inspired this Father’s Day.
Barbecue Kit: A kit of 7 Herbie’s spices (Sydney Spice, Chermoula, Smokey BBQ, American Spicy BBQ Rub, Bill’s Steak Spice, Aussie BBQ Spice, Creole Spice Mix) with recipes to inspire and delight. $38.00
Thrilling Grilling (Barbecue for Blokes): six popular spice blends (Tasty Meat Sprinkle, Shish Kebab Spice, Tunisian Spice, Pepper Steak Mix, Creole spice mix, Garlic Steak mix) with easy recipes for Rissoles, Pepper Steak, Swordfish Grill, Lamb Kebabs, and more in a red box. $38.00
MAKE YOUR OWN GIN! Making your own bespoke gin can be fun and satisfying if you have the right botanicals.
Herbie’s Spices Ginspiration Spice Kit, combined with a vodka of your choosing, is a great way to commence your gin journey. In a blue box $65.00
First, make your mix using the botanicals enclosed;
Juniper Berries, Coriander Seeds, Rose Petals, Orange Peel Pieces, Orris Root Granules, Grains of Paradise, Cubeb Peppercorns, Lavender Flowers, Pink Peppercorns and Cinnamon Quills.
Allow to steep for 3 days, strain into a clean bottle, and drink.
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Spice Appreciation Class
Introducing an informative spice appreciation class with Ian “Herbie” & Liz Hemphill of Herbie’s Spices.Spices are quite literally on trend as never before. We see spices in the majority of restaurant and café menus, the amazing colours and textures of spices feature in food magazines, and even restaurants and boutique food outlets call themselves by spice names to reinforce their foodie credentials.Nonetheless, mystery has surrounded spices, their origins and uses for thousands of years. However, how much do you really know about these wonders of nature, and the best ways to buy, store and use them in everyday meals?In this Spice Appreciation class, Ian “Herbie” Hemphill, author of the award winning Spice & Herb Bible, will take you on a magical mystery tour of the world of spices, while Liz prepares delectable tastings. Herbie will navigate through the exotic waters of the history of the spice trade. You will learn about many different spices, their origins, and how they are processed and traded. Most importantly, Herbie will de-mystify their flavours so you will feel comfortable using them in everyday cooking.Your ticket includes entry into our lucky door prizes giveaways at the event.Date: Friday 2 August 2019