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Lessons in spices

I get paid to write recipes so I suppose you could say that I am a professional in the kitchen, when I was studying Sociology I did not see this change in my future but it is one that I am embracing. I do get compliments on my food so in addition to sharing recipes with you I thought I would share some kitchen tips. If I was to name one thing that makes the most impact on a meal it would be using fresh spices. I used to be guilty of it myself, having a cupboard full of powdered spices that go used for a while. From the moment that you grind a spice it begins to loose its potency and flavour. So what is the answer, well it is a simple one buy and store whole spices and grind them as you need them.
You can use a pestle and mortar for this or an electric grinder, I have both as sometimes I just require my spices to be ground into a fine powder something that  is only achievable with an electric grinder. I bought an inexpensive coffee grinder, make sure that you only use it for spices as the coffee flavour will taint your spices, and vice versa.
This is a spice mix recipe that I use often, it is a general spice mix that works well with meat, fish and vegetables. You can use it in a sauce or as a dry rub.
what you need;
15g yellow mustard seeds
10g green peppercorns
10g dried shallots
10g black peppercorns
10g celery seeds
10g dried garlic slices
5g fennel seeds
5g green cardamom
10g dried crushed chilies
  1. Well this is simple, just mix them and store them until needed.
  2. A note on preparing the garlic. Peel and finely slice the cloves and then dry roast them until they start to brown. Remove from the heat and dry on a paper towel. Of course you could cheat and buy these pre prepared.
Trust me using freshly ground spices will make the world of difference to your meals. I will post some of my other spices mixes on here shortly.
August 2, 2013