Pumpkin Spice; nothing says autumn like those two simple words uttered in the same breath. For good reason – for the next few weeks you’ll practically be inhaling the stuff every time you pass by a coffee shop, someone bites into their special seasonal muffin or opens up a bottle of micro-brewed fall beer. The bottom line is we can’t escape it, it’s everywhere. What gets me and our team of one other employee is that most of the pumpkin spice we’ll consume in the coming weeks is a fragrant cocktail of dyes, artificial flavors, and type 2 diabetes causing sugars. So think twice before buying your pumpkin spice either pre-blended, mixed into your coffee, or baked into your 6 dollar 14,000 calorie healthy whole wheat muffin.
Here at the Fair Seas Spice Co, I and the other guy I work with are doing it old-school. We won’t be selling you a convenient little shaker filled with spices blended over 2 years ago. On the contrary, our pumpkin spice requires a little elbow grease because we’ll be selling it whole spices and all. This means you’ll have to go home and grind it for yourself. Our blend it yourself pumpkin spice kit will allow you to really taste the difference between the freshly ground authentic stuff and synthetic alternative. Trust me, it’s worth the effort.
So what goes into our pumpkin spice? First we start with Cassia or Ceylon Cinnamon, Cloves, Dried Ginger, Nutmeg, and Mace. These spices are fall’s quintessential warmth inducing ingredients. When freshly ground and combined together the result is a shift in your mood. Rather than complain about the impending cold you’ll welcome it as a reason to prepare and indulge in your favorite home baked deserts.
When we think of going out for dinner or preparing a home cooked meal, rarely does the prospect of Ethiopian food arise. If you’ve never experienced Ethiopian I’ve included a little introductory video.
Now Ethiopians are master culinary tacticians. Their innovative use of spices delivers food with unmatched flavour and complexity. In this short post I’ll focus on a common East African spice blend called Berbere, This amazing spice blend lends Ethiopian food its unique character. The ingredients are simple enough:
This great video will walk you through the process.
I cannot stress this enough: Spice blend recipes are rough guides. You should be able to add or subtract any spice you wish and make it your own. This is an awesome way to develop your palate and discover new flavours.
I’ve also found am insightful blog post which gives a great, albeit slightly different version of the blend.
Daal is such an important part of my life. And more than that, PERFECTING an authentic tasting Indian daal is one of my ultimate life goals. I can’t blabber on enough about how incredible lentils are, they’re so healthy and cheap–one cup of dry lentils goes such a long way.
There’s a restaurant in Whitechapel, London called Tayyabs. It’s a Pakistani grill and also might be one of the busiest, most continuously packed restaurants in the city. Seriously. Every time I go down to London my cousin Val and I go to Tayyabs. Usually we invite a ton of people along with us and the food never ceases to render us all comatose. This past summer I took a mini vacay with Val to just, walk around the city, shop, drink prosecco and eat. We were really excited because THIS TIME we we’re going to visit some DIFFERENT restaurants…
Thought I would share a nice little Masala Chai recipe written up my Mel Hadida. Enjoy.
Masala chai is the most popular and most commonly served drink all over India. It’s thick, sweet, milky, a little spicy and incredibly delicious! Normally, I don’t enjoy milk in my tea, but during the many months I’ve spent in India, I could easily consume up to 10 small cups of chai a day. In fact, at the charity I worked for (www.chingaritrustbhopal.com) it wouldn’t be uncommon for the caretakers there to bring me a fresh cup every 45 minutes! The sweet and spicy combination is sometimes exactly what you need for a cozy and comforting little pick-me-up!
What you’ll need:
Several black tea bags
A few cardamom pods
A few cloves
A couple cinnamon sticks
A small handful of fennel seeds
Some freshly grated ginger
Lots of sugar or honey
In a saucepan, warm up your liquid over medium heat. Some people enjoy a chai that’s entirely made with milk. I like to use a half milk half water ratio. Toss in your tea bags. As they steep, watch the liquid turn a beautiful brown color. Toss in all of your spices, grate some fresh ginger into the pan and stir continuously. Allow the liquid heat up until it’s come to a simmer. Keep in mind, the longer you simmer, the spicier the tea will be. Add your sugar and honey and stir. Traditional Indian chai is served VERY sweet. Some people might not enjoy this, so use the sugar according to your own taste.
You can strain the tea through a colander, some cheesecloth or by pouring it all into a teapot with a Bodum, or even a cafetière!