Archive for the ‘Steenbergs’ Category

Niki’s Spiced Apple Cake

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Fancy a seriously simple yet delicious sweet treat? Look no further than my autumnal spiced apple cake! Designed and created by Niki Beh recipe developer. This cake is so straightforward yet the flavours are so sweet and aromatic along with the soft texture of the apples, both cooked in the cake and raw and crunchy on top. I like to serve my apple cake with a generous dollop of coconut yogurt for extra decadence! (As with all Niki’s recipes it’s gluten free) All you need is:

Niki Bakes Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

Niki Bakes Spiced Apple Cake Recipe


  • 140g of coconut butter
  • 120g of coconut sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 200g of almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 100ml of almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 2 grated apples

For the topping:

2 cinnamon quills, broken up (for decoration)
Up to three tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
An extra apple, for decoration (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Line a brownie baking dish with greaseproof paper and set aside,

2. Beat the coconut butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Beat in eggs until well combined. Add your grated apples and mix again.

3. Sift together the almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the coconut butter mixture, then beat in half of the almond milk. Add the remaining almond flour mixture and the remaining milk and beat until well combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and lightly firm to the touch. Remove the cake from the tin and set aside to cool on a cooling rack.

5. Decorate your spiced apple cake with you coconut yoghurt and a couple slices of your fresh apple and broken up cinnamon quills, effortlessly beautiful!

Happy Baking!

Recipe for Sticky Ginger Cupcakes

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Let’s warm up with Niki Bakes easy ginger cupcakes! I love how autumnal and warming these little bites of heaven are. , fiery and oh so sweet, these cupcakes have been complete with @steenbergs organic ground ginger. Did we mention they are gluten free. Here’s how you can make a batch!

ginger cupcakes1

* 140g of coconut butter
* 130g of coconut sugar*
* 2 free-range eggs
* 200g of almond flour*
* 1 tsp Organic ground ginger*
* 1 tsp baking powder*
* 100ml of almond milk
* 1/4 tsp of salt*

For the topping
* 2 tablespoons of crystallised ginger, chopped up*
* 3 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Line 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases and set aside.
2. Beat the coconut butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Beat in eggs until well combined.
3. Sift together the almond flour, ginger, baking powder and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients mixture to the coconut butter mixture, then beat in half of the almod milk. Add the remaining almond flour mixture and the remaining milk and beat until well combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and lightly firm to the touch. Remove the cakes from the tin and set aside to cool on a cooling rack.
5. Decorate your cupcakes with you smooth peanut butter topping and a couple pieces of the crystallised ginger, enjoy!
Happy Baking!


* all products you can pick up at – organically of course.

If at first you don’t succeed, chai chai again

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Chai is a centuries old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures, most notably in India where it originated.

Steenbergs Organic Chai spice mixes, with and without tea, even with organic Fairtrade sugar. However you want to drink your chai, we have a version for you.

Steenbergs Organic Chai spice mixes, with and without tea, even with organic Fairtrade sugar. However you want to drink your chai, we have a version for you.

We have a wide variety of organic chai blends to choose from though, from a chai blend, New York, Christmas chai and even spicy chai sugar to help bring out the sweet flavours in your next drink or baked treat this Autumn.

We also have organic gingerbread chai and black chai in our classical loose leaf tea range. To see more, simply search chai on our website.

Happy Chai drinking.

Niki’s Sweet and Sticky Mushrooms

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Full recipe from the lovely Niki Bakes – Sticky, sumptuous and oh so sweet, Niki’s shitake and oyster mushroom bowl is sure to warm your insides this autumn. The tang from the thick tamarind paste give this dish a well-rounded flavour and makes it super moorish!

Recipe for the delicious and moorish sweet and sticky mushrooms from Niki Bakes

Recipe for the delicious and moorish sweet and sticky mushrooms from Niki Bakes

All you need is:

(Use organic/natural real food ingredients where possible)


Serves 3

400g of oyster and shitake mushrooms, chopped up roughly
1/2 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 spring onion, sliced very finely
2 teaspoons of rice flour
For the glaze:
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
1 tablespoon of tamari
1.5 tablespoons of tamarind

Steenbergs Tamarind Concentrate is vegan, kosher and delicious.

Steenbergs Tamarind Concentrate is vegan, kosher and delicious.

2 tablespoons of agave syrup

1/4 teaspoon of white sesame seeds

3 radishes, sliced finely


Step 1:

Season your chopped mushrooms with your salt and pepper and then coat well with your rice flour and set aside.

Step 2:

Heat your work on a medium/high heat and heat your olive oil for a short amount of time. Once hot enough, drop your mushroom pieces gently into the oil and let it fry until the mushrooms are crispy and lght brown, this will take about 5-7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the oil and drain on a paper towel.

Step 3:

In the same wok, combine all your ingredients for the glaze and gently mix with a silicone whisk. Let it reduce down for a couple of minutes and then add in your mushroom pieces.

Make sure every piece is coated evenly and then garnish with your sesame seeds, sliced radishes and spring onions. Assemble your mushrooms over a bed of steaming hot rice and enjoy!

Niki’s Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Loaf

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Recipe from lovely Niki Bakes in a autumnal homage to Steenbergs Organic Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Ombre golden-copper leaves, glossy plum chestnuts and cooler nights…it can only mean autumn! But where would we be without our beloved squashes I hear you say? Yes, you can make soup, yes, you can roast them and yes, you can make pumpkin pie but how about a pumpkin loaf slathered in dark chocolate?! You’ll love how easy and quick it is guys and what’s more, its gluten free and dairy free, happy days!

Recipe for Niki's Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie spice loaf

Recipe for Niki’s Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie spice loaf

All you need is:
Use organic/natural real food ingredients where possible)
Serves 4-6
For the Pumpkin Loaf:
120g of almond flour
50g of coconut flour
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of  organic pumpkin pie spice
100ml of coconut oil, melted
4 eggs, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground of cinnamon

For the Dark Chocolate Glaze:
100g of dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

Step 1:
Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees and line your loaf tin with greaseproof paper, set aside.
Step 2:
Whisk all your wet ingredients in a bowl.
Step 3:
Slowly sift your almond flour, coconut flour, spices and baking powder and add your wet ingredients.
Step 4:
Mix well and pour into your loaf pan, bake for about 45 -55 minutes.
Step 5:
Allow to cool completely before frosting your loaf tin with your dark chocolate and scattering over your pumpkin seeds. Allow to cool before slicing your loaf and enjoy with a cup of strong earl grey tea…absolutely heavenly!

Happy Baking!

Copywrite – Niki Beh
Recipe Creator and founder of nikibakes

Rice and Spice by Anna Kochan

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Every now and again you meet someone who inspires you. Anna Kochan is one of those people. I met her at Food Festival in Leeds and was asking about her story and why she had written and published – Rice and Spice by Anna Kochan, a Bengali Food Adventure.

It turns out that Anna was listening to the Radio one morning where they were talking about a charity in Kolkata, India which supports the street children, called Future Hope Charity. (This was before the plight was highlighted even further by the amazing book and film – Lion by Saroo Brierley , and he was one of the lucky ones).

Everyday Indian recipes captured by Anna Kochan into this delightful recipe book and sold in aid of Future Hope Charity

  Everyday Indian recipes captured by Anna Kochan into this delightful recipe book and sold in aid of Future Hope Charity

Inspired by the report she contacted the charity and volunteered in Kolkata for 6 months. Whilst she was there she collected “everyday” traditional Begali recipes, including breads, dals, curries and vegetable dishes. The majority of the recipes are vegetarian, but there are a few classic chicken and fish recipes. I can vouch for their tastiness as I was being allowed to taste gorgeous aubergine pakoras and chick pea dal.

These are Anna's cookery teachers where she learnt how to create traditional everyday Bengali food to feed the children

These are Anna’s cookery teachers where she learnt how to create traditional everyday Bengali food to feed the children

A classic Thali that Anna has recreated in her recipe book.

A classic Thali that Anna has recreated in her recipe book.

All the money raised from the sale of the books (I do mean ALL as all the costs have been taken care of ) are going to this amazing charity – Future Hope.

Some of the children being helped by the Future Hope Charity in Kolkata, India.

Some of the children being helped by the Future Hope Charity in Kolkata, India.

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Future Hope gives the most needy children in Kolkata a secure stable home and a great education. Every day, more than 250 boys and girls attend Future Hope’s school and enjoy a nutritious Bengali home-cooked lunch. bout half of the live in one of Future Hope’s seven homes.

Some 80,000 children go missing in India every year. Future Hope works to change the lives of destitute children and help them to become independent, self-supporting members of society. Former students have gone on to develop successful careers in the hospitality industry, IT and financial sectors and sports management.

It is always amazing to meet people who have not only been moved by hearing news stories but have actually decided to do something about it.

I hope you enjoy the recipe book as much as we do. Every penny from the book sold via is going to the charity.

5 Ways with Organic Lemon Extract

Monday, September 18th, 2017

organic-lemon-extract-60mlSteenbergs Organic Lemon Extract is a sunflower oil based extract with a glorious lemon citrus aroma and flavour.  It has been created particularly for use in home baking but complements everything from desserts through to chicken.

When we asked our spice panel to review and taste test the Lemon Extract, the responses ranged from ‘fresher than lemon juice’ and ‘smells like freshly zested lemon’ to ‘beautifully tangy’ with ‘an intense aroma’. The full details can be found on our blog, where you’ll find lots of suggestions of how to use it.

Here are a few for you to try at home…

1. Gluten Free Lemon & Almond CaSteenbergs gluten-free lemon drizzleke

This is a delicious moist cake which when we made it recently didn’t even last until it was cool! Enjoy with a refreshing cup of Earl Grey

2. Blueberry Oat TraybakeBlueberry oat tray bake

A tasty, healthy treat to satisfy the need for a sweet snack. The blueberries can be replaced with raspberries or blackberries depending upon the season and the addition of the tangy lemon extract really helps to accentuate the flavour of the fruit.

3. Lemon BiscuitsSteenbergs lemon biscuits

Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews tried these out for us a while ago to rave reviews from her children. She also made some with Steenbergs Organic Orange Extract and combined the flavours to make a St Clements variety.

The addition of the lemon extract gives a lovely chewy texture to the inside of the crunchy biscuit. A real treat topped off with Steenbergs organic Fairtrade Lemon Sugar!

4. Raw Lemon Browniesraw lemon brownies

Packed full of healthy nuts, seeds and organic fruit, these delicious raw brownies are really easy to make, with the lemon extract giving them a really fresh tang.

cupcakes - sept 125. Steenbergs Special Cupcakes

A take on the classic cupcake, here we have used our natural extracts to create a diverse range of delicious flavoured icings. With no added colouring, just add a little lemon zest on top to highlight the lemony taste.

Further suggestions

  • Lemon and honey are always good for colds so why not try a teaspoon of lemon extract and a heaped teaspoon of honey mixed with boiling water for a warming drink?
  • Add the lemon extract to sparkling water for a refreshing summer drink;
  • Mix in with your oil and vinegar to add zest to your salad dressings;
  • Blend with Steenbergs Herbes de Provence and spread over a whole chicken before roasting.



Turmeric: How To Make Fresh Turmeric Latte

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Turmeric is a really popular spice for its healthanti-inflammatory and antioxidant – properties and is also regarded as a superfood. It also makes a tasty drink, sometimes called golden latte.

There are an increasing number of ready-made powder mixes on the market, often using dried coconut powder to give turmeric latte its milkiness.  But you don’t need to buy a premade mix, and you can make turmeric latte, or golden latte, yourself.

I find it refreshing, with an earthy and warming taste, and it also looks a lovely light yellow colour.  Here we add a little black pepper which increases the bioavailability of the curcumin in the turmeric, so increasing the healthiness of this turmeric drink.

Recipe for Fresh Turmeric Latte, or Golden Milk

Enough for 2 cups/mugs of Turmeric Latte


500 ml Almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
0.5 cm Fresh ginger
1 cm Fresh turmeric
Pinch Black pepper – organic
0.5 tsp Cardamom powder, or 2 whole cardamom pods – crushed – organic
0.5 tsp Cinnamon powder (optional) – organic
1 tbsp Coconut sugar or honey

1. Cut 0.5 cm of fresh ginger, then remove the skin. Grate the fresh ginger and put into a small bowl.

2. Cut 1 cm piece of fresh turmeric, then remove the skin. Grate the fresh turmeric and put into a bowl. If you’ve got some rubber gloves, it is sensible to use them as turmeric can stain your fingers!

3. If you have a pestle and mortar, put the grated ginger turmeric into this then pound it down to a mushy pulp. This will increase the potency of the curcumin extracted.

4. Alternatively, put the grated ginger and turmeric plus 100 ml of almond milk into a blender and blitz to a mushy pulp.

5. Into a ramekin or small bowl, measure the cardamom, cinnamon and pepper.

6. Pour 500ml of almond milk (or other dairy-free milk) into a small saucepan.

7. Add the fresh ginger and turmeric. Whisk the almond milk to start infusing the flavours.

8. Add the ground, dry spices. Gently whisk the milk to mix through the dried spices.

9. Gently heat the almond milk, mixing the mixture gently every so often. When the almond milk is just below boiling point, take the pan off the heat.

10. Add 0.5 to 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar or honey to taste.

11.  Whisk gently to melt and mix the sugars in.

12.  Strain through a metal sieve. Pour into two mugs and enjoy.

For a quicker turmeric latte, you can use dry powdered ginger and turmeric.

A bit about Turmeric…

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Turmeric RootSteenbergs Organic Fairtrade Turmeric comes from an organic and Fairtrade co-operative in the Kandy region of Sri Lanka. Turmeric originates from a root, known as the rhizome, Curcuma longa; it looks similar to ginger and galangal. To create turmeric powder, the turmeric rhizomes are lifted, boiled for one hour to fix the colours, dried for 10-15 days then cleaned (called polishing) before being crushed and ground.

The colour of turmeric comes from its natural curcumin colouration, although it’s commonly a bright yellow, it can also be more orange-yellow and almost brown.  Fairtrade turmeric has a distinct earthy aroma and a pleasing, sharp, bitter, spicy and lingering depth of flavour.

Turmeric has been widely used in Asia and India for centuries in cooking, and also as traditional medicines. Now, we are all beginning to understand its health benefits in a bit more detail.  As turmeric has been used as a traditional medicine, this implies that it may have health benefits, therefore here at Steenbergs we have done some googling and found that Curcumin doesn’t just give turmeric its vibrant yellow colour.

It is also the primary biologically active component of turmeric, as it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Due to this there is high interest in curcumin as a lead molecule in anti-inflammatory drug development strategies, as curcumin has potential to alleviate and prevent multiple disease conditions, such as cancer, Alzheimer disease, heart disease and arthritis.

Over the last 25 years, curcumin has been extensively evaluated for its health promoting properties. Preclinical investigations provide substantial and compelling support for curcumin’s antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties; clinical studies are less numerous but are growing in number. For example, a head to head study carried out by W.C. Roberts found that daily ingestion of the turmeric component, curcumin can improve endothelial function just as well as up to one hour of aerobic exercise a day can! However, it was found, to get the best improvement in endothelial function a combination of both daily aerobic exercise and curcumin consumption are needed. Large clinical studies are needed to confirm the benefits of curcumin, current ongoing clinical studies should provide further insights in the future.

A problem with curcumin is that the liver sees it as being toxic, and therefore curcumin gets digested very quickly, giving it a low bioavailability. However, it has been found that when curcumin is consumed with pepper this can increase the bioavailability of curcumin. This is due to peppers active component, piperine. Piperine is an inhibitor of drug metabolism and therefore, prevents the liver breaking down curcumin. This leads to an increase curcumin in the blood, causing increased bioavailability. Therefore, consuming curcumin with pepper may enhance the potential benefits of curcumin.

A great way to try it is in a turmeric latte.


Singletary,K.,(2010) Turmeric: An Overview of Potential Health Benefits. Nutrition Today, 45(5), 216-225. – has a great article on the health benefits of pepper including 15 different pepper recipes

 Nutritional Values for Steenbergs Organic Turmeric Powder:

Values per 100g

Energy- 341kcal; 1449kj

Protein – 8.5g

Carbohydrates- 75.2g


Values per 2.5g

Energy- 9kcal; 36kj

Protein – 0.2g

Carbohydrates- 1.9g

Fat- 0.0g

 Try turmeric now! 

What’s Going On With Vanilla?

Monday, July 24th, 2017
Fille Vanille

Vanilla Beans Being Processed In Madagascar

Having built a decent line in Fairtrade organic vanilla, we recently have had to stop selling it to trade because of supply issues.  At the same time, we’ve been asked by many new customers for vanilla or Fairtrade vanilla.  Everyone’s scrabbling around for a very limited supply of real vanilla, and also wanting a cheaper price where there’s none to be had – the market really has no supply and the prices are over £500/kg if you can find it.

But why is Steenbergs only selling it retail and not to wholesale customers?

In short, it’s because we’ve made almost nothing on vanilla over the last few years, vainly hoping that supply and pricing issues would ease through time.  However, because of recent cyclones and changes to vanilla processing in Madagascar, prices have remained too high for us to finance anymore.  So when we were asked to commit £250,000 for what used to cost £50,000, we politely decided now was the time to stop selling vanilla on a general scale.

Many reasons have been given for why the pricing is so high.  But it really is a simple economic matter of supply and demand – bad weather and poor processing practices have materially reduced the quantity of vanilla from the world’s largest producer (Madagascar) without any material reduction in demand.

It’s become a real issue in the industry, meaning that very little is available in the market.  And with retailers unwilling to move prices, it became a mug’s game to continue subsidising the prices.

But the real story is more nuanced and has its root cause in the introduction of free markets into the vanilla sector in the 1990s, and the rise of neoliberalisim and the Washington Consensus.  It has taken 20 years to unravel but the end result will be increased poverty within Madagascar, as well as fewer natural vanilla ice cream products on the shelves of high street retailers.

For those interested in the longer view, here’s my timeline:

Where The Story Begins: 1995 – 2000

Vanilla Planters Walking Along Track

Vanilla Planters Walking Along Track

The seeds of the vanilla story can be found in 1995.  Before then, the vanilla market was a fixed monopoly – the Madagascan Government controlled quality, harvesting and pricing, which it negotiated with the major exporters and producers each year in Paris.  This ensured vanilla beans were harvested at strict times, were processed at Government curing centres and that prices were kept in a tight $70 – $90/kg.

But the rise of neoliberal economics and the Washington Consensus put paid to this,  Following advice from the EU and the World Bank, Madagascar dropped the carefully controlled, planned vanilla economy and let rip with free market economics.  Immediately, the price of vanilla plunged.  Next, the EU unravelled the state-controlled curing system and encouraged farmers to cure their own beans to earn more cash for themselves.  While prices continued to remain low, quality also suffered.

Allied to this, Madagascan politics were tricky to say the least, with the Madagascan Government suffering many years of weak government, governance and political instability.

The Start Of Fairtrade Vanilla: 2005 – 2013

When we started out in 2004, there had been three years of failed crops in Madagascar, which supplies around 85% of global supply.  The price of vanilla rocketed to a high of $600 (2005).  Small-scale farmers around the world wanted to cash in and took out bank loans to plant vanilla vines – vanilla really is a real small-scale artisan crop.

But by 2006, the Madagascan crop had succeeded, together with additional supply from new regions, and the price imploded, crashing to $50 (2005/6), then further down to $25 (2006-8).  Financial disaster ensued for the many farmers that had borrowed against the higher prices.

In stepped Fairtrade.  This was a classic Fairtrade scenario – to protect relatively unsophisticated farmers, who grow cash crops in the Global South for the Global North, from the harshest impacts of free markets, and the effects of global commodity and financial markets.  Fairtrade vanilla supply chains were developed in Madagascar and India.

The Vanilla Tightens: 2013 – 2017

However, the story did not end there.

In 2013/4, real vanilla began to increase in popularity as a premium addition to many products, with consumer interest in purity – organicFairtradeGMO-free becoming important.  With increased demand, prices for vanilla began to move from $20/kg to $55-65/kg.  At the same time, farmers started storing their vanilla in vacuum packs.  After several poor harvests, prices rocket to $80/kg from $30/kg for green beans by the end of the year, with cured vanilla at $240/kg.

In 2017, when the market was expecting a better harvest, disaster struck with the devastating cyclone – Enawo – bringing winds of up to 270 km/hour.  It began on 7 March striking land between Antalaha and Sambava, then forked to Maroansetra and Mananara, before crossing the centre of Madagascar and leaving on the south of the island on 10 March.  It destroyed about 20% of vanilla plants in Madagascar, hitting the north-east and east coast of Madagascar the hardest.  Antalaha was affected the most, with 90% of the town, its infrastructure and crops destroyed.  Enawo’s impact has been that all the expected uplift in supply was decimated, so the harvest is expected to remain at 2016 levels at about 12,000 tonnes, equivalent to 1,400 tonnes of exportable vanilla beans (i.e. 8kg of green vanilla for 1kg cured vanilla) – this is insufficient for global demand.

The organic market is even tighter.  Effectively, there is no free stock in the supply chain, with speculators buying up anything they can find, drip feeding them into the market at very high prices.  Cured organic vanilla is at $545/kg and we expect it to be at these levels for at least another 18 months and there to be no meaningful reduction in prices until 2019-20.

With our forward contracts delivered and at these high prices, vanilla pods and vanilla extract has now become uneconomic and high risk.  Therefore, in May 2017, Steenbergs decided to reduce its position in the market and only fulfil internet orders, removing itself from the wholesale market.  Basically, the risks in the market became too great for a small business like Steenbergs.

Downside Risks – Disaster Looms in 2020?

It is our opinion that disaster looms ahead for vanilla with a market crash self-evident.

On the one hand, high prices are great news for farmers.  However, the short-term masks significant downside risks in the not too distant future:

  • Demand is contracting with end-users reformulating and/or switching to artificial alternatives.  Industrial vanillin is suitable for many applications where a velvety richness is needed, without any complexity of aroma or taste – e.g. for cheaper chocolate or soft drinks.  In the period 2000 – 2005, about one-quarter of demand fell away, although some returned more recently with demand for pure vanilla.
  • Supply is increasing with vanilla vines being replanted at a rate of 25%.  Vanilla orchids flower 3 – 4 years after being planted, with vanilla pods being harvested for the first time several months later.  This replanting will return production to higher levels than prior to 2010.

The convergence of reduced demand and increased supply will at some point cause prices to crash – perhaps in 2020.  When that happens, it will unfortunately be the small-scale farmers that suffer – as always.