Archive for the ‘Spices & herbs’ Category

Cinnamon – Can Science Show Differences In Taste Between Cassia And Cinnamon

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

In 2015, we did a study of the coumarin level in cinnamon, cassia and tonka beans.  Following on from that, I decided to get the “active” volatile oils analysed in a few types of cinnamon.  In the past, we have done more general tests and found cinnamon with 40 – 100mg/kg of volatile oils, including: styrene, pinene, benzaldehyde, o-cymene, linalool, linalylanthranilate, capaene, caryaphyllene and g-caryaphyllene.

I was interested in whether you could see a discernible pattern in the spectrum of flavour chemicals that corresponded back to the aromas and tastes that I experienced in the different types of cinnamon when I tested them for quality.

In short, the answer was yes there is a real difference.

Not only are the levels of coumarin much higher in cassia and Indian cinnamon, but the cinnamon aldehyde in cassia is almost double that in true cinnamon.  This is perhaps why cassia seems to have a blunter and more aggressive cinnamon taste that is loved by bakers.

There are clear levels of eugenol in true cinnamon and lower amounts in cassia and Indian cinnamon; this imparts a clove taste to true cinnamon.  In contrast, cassia and Indian cinnamon has a more eucalypt that is refreshingly aromatic.

I also found it interesting that there was limonene in true cinnamon, because I have always felt there was a citrus aroma and taste to true cinnamon.  And true cinnamon has high levels of linalool that has a floral spiciness and the piney woodiness of cymenes.

The science seems to vindicate the description I use in the Steenbergs’ website for cinnamon:

“Cinnamon powder has a complex and fragrant citrus flavour that is full of exotic sweetness.  Cinnamon’s perfumed aroma is unique but has hints of clove, nutmeg and sandalwood.”

Results from Analysis of Volatile Oils in Different Types of Cinnamon

 

Product name Cassia Indian cinnamon True cinnamon True cinnamon
Botanical name Cinnamomum cassia Cinnamomum bejolghota Cinnamomum zeylanicum (C. verum) Cinnamomum zeylanicum (C. verum)
Origin Indonesia India Sri Lanka Madagascar
Units mg/kg mg/kg mg/kg mg/kg
alpha-Terpineol 94 46 56 25
Benzaldehyde 37 59 61 23
Caryophyllene 146 26 292 153
Cinnamon aldehyde 23,775 7,166 13,929 13,391
Coumarin 191 295 <5 Trace
Eucalyptol 39 89 <5 <5
Eugenol 96 <5 330 188
Limonene Trace Trace 5 <5
Linalool 14 Trace 115 35
para-Cymen Trace Trace 33 7

Time for Tea – our monthly chat with someone who cares about tea

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

nikibakesThis month our Time for Tea chat is with Niki Behjousiar, Recipe Creator and founder of nikibakes. Niki has been blogging for over 10 years and has recently collaborated with Steenbergs on 4 special blog posts focusing on key Steenbergs ingredients, which we will share in the coming weeks.

  1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?

I love a good Persian tea in the morning; it’s so energising and so invigorating. ORGANIC GINGERBREAD CHAI TEA LOOSE LEAF is also a firm favourite of mine to have in the morning from Steenbergs, especially as the mornings are still quite frosty, it warms you up beautifully and gears me up for my morning commute to work, a true blessing for me!

  1. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?

As the day progresses I love to switch to herbal teas, I really enjoy a good chamomile in the evenings.

  1. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?

I would love to try the ORGANIC CHILLI CHAI TEA LOOSE LEAF as it seems like a unique blend and very warming, I haven’t seen anything like it on the market and I love a bit of chilli in my dishes so why not in a drink too!

  1. What other Steenbergs products do you most enjoy and why?

This is a very tricky question as I love all of the products I’ve had the pleasure to try. I particularly enjoy the happy hippy salt; it’s unique and so soft on the palette, the cardamom pods, the harissa with rose, smoked paprika, chermoula…we could be here for a while.

  1. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?

I would most like to have a cup of tea with Sophie Steenberg as she is inspirational and so creative with the spice mixes. She is a person I look up to as a food blogger for good quality spices.

About Nikibakes

nikiiinikibakes has been blogging for over 10 years and has a passion for gluten free and dairy free recipes. She’s a Persian chef who loves all things spice and particularly enjoys Asian and South American cuisine. She’s always on the lookout for fresh and delicious flavour combinations and uses our spices daily in her cooking and on her blog.

Website: www.nikibakes.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nikibakes

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/niki_beh?lang=en-gb

LinkedIn:  https://uk.linkedin.com/in/niki-beh-99005ab7

Instagram: @nutritiouslynikibakes

Turmeric, the wonder spice

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

We’re really excited to announce the launch of our new Steenbergs You Tube channel. We’ll be showing short ‘Behind The Products’ clips, as well as longer cooking demonstrations which we hope you’ll enjoy.
We thought we’d start with Turmeric. It’s one of the top 5 store cupboard essentials and is having somewhat of a revival at the moment, with much being made of it’s health benefits as well as the brilliant colour and taste it gives to so many dishes.

416949_10150608745213226_209904074_nturmeric-ground-organic-spiceTurmeric is a rhizome native to southern Asia, that is grown as an annual and looks similar to ginger and galangal. It is sometimes available fresh, but is usually sold ground into powder form, having been boiled and dried. Turmeric powder is bright yellow with a distinct earthy aroma and a pleasing, sharp, bitter, spicy and lingering depth of flavour and is an essential ingredient for Indian and South East Asian cuisine.

Steenbergs stocks 2 different varieties of turmeric: organic turmeric and an organic Fairtrade turmeric which comes from an organic and Fairtrade co-operative in the Kandy region of Sri Lanka. Click here to watch our Behind the Products Video about turmeric. Classic dishes include curries, fish stews and rice dishes and Steenbergs uses it in many of its spice blends including curry powder and chermoula.
turmeric-powder-organic-fairtrade-40g
Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley are big turmeric fans. “A powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, this little pot of gold is a vital ingredient for good health at any time of the year, but in winter we tend to start putting organic turmeric in anything and everything, just to give us an extra boost.” They use it in smoothies, hot drinks and curries to boost their turmeric intake. Take a look at their website for inspiration.

Madeleine Shaw also promotes turmeric in her latest book, READY, STEADY, GLOW! (published by Orion books). Her recipes for warming Turmeric Milk and revitalising Turmeric-tastic juice, are creative ways to add it into your diet.

Sharmini Thomas, local York based Indian cookery tutor, uses turmeric extensively in her Indian cookery, as well as believing in the healing properties of turmeric, citing examples of it as a useful antiseptic. Chicken Tikka Masala typically contains turmeric, as she shows in the delicious recipe she created for Steenbergs. Watch out for the cookery video coming soon….

But what is the scientific evidence for turmeric? Recently Michael Mosley, one of the presenters on the BBC’s Trust Me, I’m a Doctor programme, conducted a test with the help of Professor Widschwendter of University College, London, looking at DNA methylation in cells, using three groups of people: one given a placebo; one given turmeric to take by itself and the final group given turmeric to take with food. Interestingly they saw positive results in the group who were given turmeric to take with food and will be investigating the link further. For more information, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37408293

Definitely all food for thought…

31 Steenbergs Products Become Halal Certified

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Following a detailed certification and audit process that’s taken several months, we’re pleased that Steenbergs now has 31 products certified as conforming to Halal requirements in accordance with Islamic law.  We’ve been certified by Halal Certification Europe, who are approved by JAKIM (Malaysia) and MUIS (Singapore) as well as other Halal authorities.

The products that conform to Halal are all mixes prepared at Steenbergs and include: Baharat, Garam Masala, Madras Curry Powder, Chana Masala, Harissa, Lebanese 7 Spice and Tagine Spice Mix, as well as Steenbergs English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey Tea.  For a full list, please contact sales@steenbergs.co.uk.

Individual spices and herbs are not certified as Halal, because they are not processed at Steenbergs’ factories, but at the ingredients’ source.  Over time, we hope to be able to get some of the original suppliers certified as Halal, but that’ll take time.

Steenbergs Extracts and Flower Waters now registered with Vegan Society

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

We’ve successfully registered Steenbergs’ extracts and flower waters with The Vegan Society. This is the start of a process that will see Steenbergs include vegan branding into our bakery range over the next few months.

As part of this, we’ve delisted anything that is not vegan within the range of Steenbergs-branded products. So, for example, all the baking decorations have been delisted, because some included shellac and others carmines, while milky oolong has been removed because it contained milk flavour.

We feel this tidies up what Steenbergs does, so that we can now say Steenbergs’ products are animal-free, vegetarian and vegan. Not all are registered (in fact most aren’t) but we’ll work on it over the next few years.

We’ve still got to review non-Steenbergs products and what we’re doing with them…but that’s for another month.

Update 26/1/2017: Following a review of branded products on www.steenbergs.co.uk, we are delisting the Fish4Ever range of fish and seafood, and the Pukka ghee.  This will mean that by mid-year (when these have sold through) Steenbergs will be a strictly vegan brand across all its activities.

Steenbergs Becomes Kosher Certified

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

We’ve been working during the last few years on upping our game in our certifications.  It’s alright saying that Steenbergs is good at this and that, but quite another thing to prove it.

In 2016, we began working on both halal and kosher certification.  So far, we have completed kosher certification with the London Beth Din (Kosher London Beth Din) – finalised on 16 December and confirmed 3 January 2017.

After an audit visit and lot of paper trails to be proved, this has enabled over 250 products to achieve kosher certification.  At the start, we won’t have any logo showing that our products are kosher certified, but as new labels are printed we will be incorporating the KLBD logo for certified lines.  This will begin with a rebranding of the organic extracts range in the first half of 2017.

Now, we’ve started on halal certification with Halal Certification Europe.  Because of a different methodology , it means that only those products we blend can be certified and so it will be a much, much shorter list.

At Steenbergs, the key theme is that we must be able to demonstrate that we both appreciate and are addressing customer’s differing requirements for Steenbergs herb, spice and tea products.  This is not only about environmental (Organic) and social (Fairtrade; SEDEX), but also about religious and other ethical factors.

We will address vegan and/or vegetarian in the near future, but have slightly put that to the back of the queue because Steenbergs’ products are plant-based and we seek (so far as possible) to ensure no animal products are used in fertilisers.

Cook For Syria with Baharat spice blend

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

This November sees a fantastic initiative #cookforsyria, set up by influential instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy and Suitcase Magazine in support of Unicef UK’s Children of Syria fund. A month long celebration of Syrian cooking, there will be events, supper clubs and sharing of recipes, in order to raise money through the power of food.

“We hope that through the #CookForSYRIA campaign we will not only be able to raise significant and much needed money for Unicef UK’s Children of Syria Fund, we will also increase awareness of the plight of children in the war-torn country. Through cooking, sharing recipes and the power of social media, we invite everyone to help make a difference and positive contribution towards this important initiative.” Clerkenwell Boy

For more information on the initiative please visit http://cookforsyria.com/. In the meantime, we’d like to share a recipe and information on one of our Middle Eastern spice blends, Baharat, which is popular in Syrian cuisine.

Baharat

baharat-organic-arabic-spice-blend-48gSteenbergs Organic Baharat Spice Mix is based on a traditional general spice mix used throughout the Near East or Levant, especially the Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Palestine.  In fact baharat means spices in Arabic.  In the Levant, Steenbergs Organic Baharat is used on almost everything from lamb and mutton to fish.  Steenbergs Organic Baharat version is a Tunisian style recipe.

Steenbergs Organic Baharat contains (amongst other ingredients) organic paprika , organic black pepper , organic cumin and organic cloves and organic cardamom powder.  Try it rubbed onto chicken drumsticks for an Arabian inspired alternative to standard roasted chicken drumsticks or try the tasty recipe below.

Pan-fried Beetroot Pasta with Baharat, Orange & Walnuts

Beetroots that have been pan-fried in orange zest take on a whole new taste sensation, especially when combined with Baharat spice blend.

INGREDIENTSbaharat pasta

WHAT TO DO

  1. Toast the walnuts in the oven on 200’c for 5-10 minutes till light brown, but watch as they will burn if left unattended.
  2. Wash and slice the celery sticks and put into pan with beetroot (below)
  3. Cut the beetroot into 1/4’s and put into a deep frying pan with the butter, Baharat and orange zest
  4. Cook on high till the sugars in the beetroot start to caramelise and bring out the flavours
  5. Set aside and make the pasta
  6. Put pasta into a pan of water with the veg bouillon and bring to the boil.
  7. Cook the pasta till al dente (still with a slight chew when you bite into a piece), which should take about ten minutes, but follow packet instructions.
  8. Drain and add the nutmeg and spinach to wilt down.
  9. Put into hot bowls
  10. Divide the beetroot mixture between the bowls of pasta
  11. Top with the walnuts
  12. Serve with warm crusty bread

Penja White Pepper Is Back

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Steenbergs Penja pepper comes from a family farm in the Penja region of the Cameroon.  Bought in 1970 from a retiring French pineapple farmer, Salamon and then his son René have converted this 70 hectare plantation over the pepper growing during the 1980s when the pineapple market became saturated.  The plantation now only grows black and white pepper.

This Penja white pepper is truly special – clean and light peppery taste, with sharp heat that builds and lingers.  Perfection.

 

 

Spicy cookery with Sharmini at York Food & Drink Festival

Monday, September 26th, 2016

On Saturday 24th September, we savoured our first experience of York’s excellent Food & Drink Festival. Now in its 20th year, it hosts numerous tastings, workshops & events alongside a market full of delicious street food stalls and artisan producers.

sharmini thomasThis year Steenbergs linked up with Sharmini Thomas, a well known local Indian cookery school tutor who runs her own workshops. Sharmini comes originally from Kerala in Southern India so when we asked her to do a chicken korma recipe for us, she same back with this delicious alternative which uses coconut, rather than the better know Northern Indian version of Korma which uses cream. For the full recipe, please visit our recipe page: Sharmini’s Chicken Kuruma.Sharmini Chicken Kuruma

Sharmini showed the enthusiastic audience how to create delicious curries using a full range of spices, including turmeric, coriander, fennel, pepper, cloves, cassia & bay. She also demonstrated how, when pushed for time or ingredients, using a handmade blend such as Steenbergs organic Korma Masala can be equally delicious. To round it all off everyone enjoyed Sharmini’s Bombay Potatoes which were flavoured with curry leaves, cumin & mustard seeds, with fresh chilli, ginger & garlic. A delicious dish and a great accompaniment to any Indian meal.

Congratulations also to Anne Everett Grant and Stephanie Fellows who won a Steenbergs spice bag and Sharmini recipe book respectively.

The Food & Drink Festival runs through until Sunday 2nd October with plenty more inspiration still to come. For full details of the programme, visit their website:www.yorkfoodfestival.com

IMG_1240 IMG_1243

 

 

Enter our Competition to Win a Month’s Supply of Abel & Cole Veg Boxes

Monday, July 11th, 2016
Click here to view this promotion.