Posts Tagged ‘spices’

Why organic spices?

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Guest Blog from Niki, founder and developer of Nikibakes.co.uk blog

Niki, founder and recipe developer for Nikibakes.co.uk

Niki, founder and recipe developer for Nikibakes.co.uk

As founder of nikibakes and a general foodie, herbs and spices are at the heart of my dishes, without them my food is simply incomplete.

 

Steenbergs have a range of  over 500 organic spices, salt blends, Fairtrade spices.

Steenbergs have a range of over 500 organic spices, salt blends, Fairtrade spices.

I never really thought about where I buy my spices from until a few years ago. I used to head over to my local supermarket, pick up what I needed and just throw any spices I could find first into my basket. This all changed a few years ago though when I began to become more aware of organic produce. I quickly realised that this doesn’t just extend to fresh produce and that sauces and spices are just as important.

@steenbergsltd is truly an all rounder when it comes to stocking up on herbs and spices. From garlic salt to exotic saffron, the quality of their spices is second to none. I still remember my first encounter with their curry powder. I enjoyed my curry dish so much that I bit my tongue by accident! My excitement clearly got the better of me but it just goes to show, organic really is best.

Happy Baking!

Niki

Founder of nikibakes

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

 

 

Working organically with Abel & Cole for 10 years

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Started 27 years ago, with the vision of supplying ethically sourced, high quality food and drink to people who care about the provenance of what they eat, Abel & Cole has gone from strength to strength.  It now delivers boxes of fruit and veg as well as organic milk, bread, eggs and meat to many parts of the country.  They deliver as far north as York, but just use the postcode finder on their website to check whether they deliver to your door: http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/help/faqMedium Everyday Easy Fruit & Veg Box

“It all started with a chap named Keith and a bag of spuds in 1988. He realised the huge benefits of going organic and never looked back. In fact, we still get veg from the farm where Keith’s first organic spuds came from”, say Abel & Cole.

Steenbergs and Abel & Cole share a common passion for all things organic. Both believe that organic farming is best for the environment, the wildlife and ultimately our own diets. Abel & Cole’s mantra is ‘grow slow’, which is an ethos shared by Steenbergs and the small independent producers that they use all around the world.

Steenbergs has been organic since it was founded in 2003 by husband and wife team Axel & Sophie Steenberg.  Their vision of supplying organic herbs and spices also led to them becoming Fairtrade for tea in 2004 and ultimately being the pioneers for the first Fairtrade spices into the UK in 2005.

“We’ve been working with Abel & Cole for over a decade,” says Axel.  “We started off supplying  small amounts of organic spices, but have recently added mini organic spice jars to their recipe boxes, and are now supplying our regular spice jars, vanilla extract and pods for sale in Abel & Cole’s Grocery Pantry.” http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/groceries/pantry/dried-herbs-spicesabel & cole recipe box

Abel & Cole use Steenbergs spice jars in the recipe boxes to add flavour and excitement to their recipes. To make the most of the flavoursome seasonal lettuces available at the moment, why not try Abel & Cole’s recipes for courgette falafel with peanut dip, spiced up with Steenbergs garam masala and coriander seeds? http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/recipes/courgette-falafels-peanut-dip

Look out for our Abel & Cole competition coming up this month, with the chance for one lucky winner to win a month’s worth of veg boxes (a total of 4 of any size). A great way to make sure you have your 5-a-day!

abel_cole_logo_may-2015 - ONLINE

Enter our competition to win Esther Veerman’s new cookbook From Field & Moor + Steenbergs Spices

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
Click here to view this promotion.

 

Can you beat 1975? Steenbergs Oldest Spice Competition returns

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Following the success of last year’s Oldest Spice Competition, Steenbergs will once again be encouraging everyone to purge their store cupboards in March, in search of the UK’s oldest spice.

#oldestspice overall winner15Last year our winner was a jar of Sainsbury’s Pickling Spices from 1975 costing a mere 19p.  Throughout March Steenbergs is hoping to brush the dust off a few more jars, with the incentive of winning £50 worth of fragrant, aromatic Steenbergs spices to restock the lucky winner’s cupboard.

“We were amazed with the response to our competition last year,” says Sophie Steenberg, who founded Steenbergs with her husband Axel in 2003. “It encouraged people to revisit their spices and add a little something extra to their cooking again.  If people are ever unsure what to do with a half opened jar, we’ve got lots of exciting new recipes on our website to tickle all taste buds.” www.steenbergs.co.uk/recipes

“The best way to store spices is in a cupboard away from light and heat but it can be easy to forget about them,” adds Axel. “Here at Steenbergs we pack our herbs and spices into glass jars with tight fitting lids to keep the flavour in and maximise the shelf life, but ideally 2-3 years is the optimal shelf life to make sure that the delicate flavours don’t fade.

To enter the competition, just photograph the jar and send to Steenbergs via email, Facebook or Twitter before Thursday 31st March.  Full details can be found at: https://steenbergs.co.uk/article/show/57/oldest-spice-competition-2016Oldest spice prize

So search out that celery salt and dust off that dill seed to be in with a chance of winning £50 of fresh, fragrant Steenbergs spices.

Meet Sharmini – our new recipe collaborator!

Friday, December 4th, 2015

LOGO_grey_155wWe’re really pleased to announce our new partnership with Sharmini Thomas.  Originally from Kerala, Southern India, but now based in York, Sharmini runs her own cookery courses, is a cookery tutor for the City of York, and is a presenter and judge for York Food & Drink Festival.   We’re delighted to be partnering with her on some new recipes to highlight the Steenbergs Indian spices and blends and are looking forward to an exciting 2016 where we’ll be demonstrating and videoing, sharing top tips along the way.

  1. Tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment:

I am Sharmini Thomas and my Company is Sharmini’s Inspirational Indian Cuisine which denotes my passion for cooking and inspiring everyone to cook simple delicious homemade food. I’m originally from Kerala but I’m now settled in York where I have been teaching Indian cuisine for the past 17 years.

I am a presenter and judge at the York Food and Drink Festival and won the ‘Yorkshire Vision Curry Contest’ through public vote against several reputable York curry houses.

I also deliver cookery demonstrations for Radio York and local schools, as well as offering team building events, hands-on cookery workshops and networking events to corporate clients through the ‘medium’ of cooking.

  1. Who was your inspiration?

Indian cooking is an art handed down from generation to generation in India and my mother was my inspiration, she shared her love through food.

  1. Tell us about some of the recipes you will be cooking for Steenbergs:

I’ve recently done a version of Bombay Potatoes, which is a very popular dish in the UK and a great accompaniment to any Indian dish.  I’ve also shared my version of Tandoori Shammi Kebabs, made with minced lamb.  Kebabs originated from the Middle East and were made famous in India during the Mogul reign.

Sharmini Bombay potatoes Sharmini tandoori shammi kebab

  1. What are you looking forward to about the partnership with Steenbergs?

A marriage of ‘Spices with recipes’!

Steenbergs had sent some of their spices and I decided to use them in preparing my usual curries. Wow! To my surprise, the curries tasted so much better as the spices took it up another notch.  It then dawned on me what I have been missing all these years…

These are some of partnership ideas to share with you all:

  • Sharing some of my classic recipes using Steenbergs spices and blends.
  • Recipe development – coming up with new dishes using different organic Steenbergs blends
  • Use of Steenbergs spices in my cookery workshops and courses
  • Cookery demonstrations – joint cookery demonstrations next year
  • Customer involvement – asking customers to post pictures of their versions of the recipes.

We will be happy to hear from you on any other ideas?

  1. What is your favourite Indian dish?

Chicken/Lamb biryani: a one pot dish with memories of family get together back in Indiaturmeric-powder-organic-fairtrade-40g

  1. Which spice could you not live without?

Turmeric powder: it has so many health benefits.

  1. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Family and friends- looking forward to our Christmas lunch at home.

  1. What is your favourite piece of Yorkshire?

Villages of Yorkshire-very scenic and lovely fresh air –we are really blessed to live in such a beautiful county.

 

For full details of her recipes, visit: www.steenbergs.co.uk/recipes

For more details on Sharmini’s cookery courses visit her website: www.sharmini.co.uk

Steenbergs Spice Taster Panel: organic Garam Masala & Madras Curry

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Recently our taster panel had the joy of trying out 2 different spice blends: Madras Curry and Garam Masala.    Curries are very popular in British homes and Steenbergs aims to create authentic yet versatile curry blends to make enjoying Indian cuisine deliciously easy.

madras-curry-powder-organic-curry-blendMadras Curry is a medium hot curry powder, blended to be used as an everyday spice mix. The core elements to Steenbergs Organic Madras Curry Powder are the sweet spices of cinnamon; pungent spices such as cloves, cardamom and cumin to add a depth of character; Indian chilli and organic fenugreek; Keralan organic black pepper and Sri Lankan organic ginger to give it some bite. These almost conflicting flavours are melded together by amalgamating spices – organic fennel seeds, organic coriander seeds and organic turmeric (which also gives it a characteristic yellow colour).  At Steenbergs, we then add a little powdered organic garlic and organic onion to increase the versatility of the curry mix.

Our taster panel excelled themselves in finding different uses for the curry powder, adding it not only to traditional curries, but using it as a meat rub; on roast chicken; in a root soup; in homemade beans; in chilli con carne; in kedgeree; even on popcorn!  We loved the sound of the ‘chicken curry with wild spring garlic’, adding it to ‘fried red onions with kidney beans’ and the delicious list of curries including aubergine, chicken, beef, lamb, prawn, balti style, fish, and cauliflower & potato.

89% of our tasters would use this blend again and the same number would recommend it to a friend.  Many of them think it’s a great ‘store cupboard staple’ and pleasingly one taster commented that ‘it knocks the socks off bog-standard curry powders’.  A few of our tasters will even be using it as their secret curry ingredient going forward!

Interestingly half of our panel don’t normally use spice blends, preferring to make up their own using individual spices.  Here at Steenbergs we have all of the single spices for our customers to experiment and make their own blends but sometimes a quick and easy blend is just what is needed!

Madras curry

Descriptions for Madras Curry colour & aroma

garam-masala-organic-curry-spice-blendGaram Masala is a staple Indian spice blend used widely in Indian cooking. Steenbergs Organic Garam Masala comprises the sweet spice – cinnamon – and the pungent spices – caraway, cloves and cardamom powder.  At Steenbergs we add some wonderful organic black pepper from organic growers in the Palghat region of Kerala in India to give it some bite. Then Axel Steenberg has used organic fennel seeds to bring the flavours together and add some anise tones to the blend.

It is a very versatile blend as shown by the wide variety of uses that our taster panel put it to.  Whether it was sprinkled on beef & fish curry a few minutes before serving; to spice up pea & potato croquettes; in dhal; on scrambled eggs served with Arbroath smokies; to make a salad more interesting; Indian roast vegetables or on Hugh Fearnley Whittingstal’s sausage & parsnips, it shows how popular it was.  We love the sound of the ‘roast butter garam masala chicken’ and the ‘marinated chicken breast with yoghurt & pepper’.

One of our panel adds it to sweet potatoes before baking and enjoys the faces of her guests thinking ‘I can taste some extra flavours but not sure what she’s added!’

A well known spice to many of you, 93% of you would use the Steenbergs Garam Masala again and 89% of you would recommend it to a friend.  Many of our panel are avid curry fans, with some cooking curry at least twice a week but with the popularity of this sweet, warm and spicy blend, we hope to tempt you all to use it more often.

Descriptions for colour & aroma of Garam Masala

Cacao Chai Smoothie – A Quick Breakfast

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

This morning we made this dairy-free chocolate flavoured smoothie using almond and coconut milk.

Raw Cacao and Flax Seed Breakfast Smoothie

Raw Cacao and Flax Seed Breakfast Smoothie

The almond butter, banana and flax seed give the smoothie body and good sources of protein and natural carbohydrates.

I flavoured it with cacao powder and our chai masala mix for a warming cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.  This gave it a light chocolatey taste and hints of spice.

The maca powder was there, so why not chuck that in as well for extra goodness.

As for the sweetener, we used a little maple syrup, but you could use honey.  I prefer not to use agave because it is very high in fructose, so I find it overly sweet.  Agave is, also, much more processed than I choose normally as sweetener, and it’s best to let the bananas do the sweetening work.

It was great – not too sweet and with that hint of chocolate anyone (of any age) would love it.

Ingredients for Raw Cacao Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients for Raw Cacao Breakfast Smoothie

Cacao chai smoothie

75ml almond milk
100ml coconut milk
1 chopped banana
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp chai masala spices (don’t overdo this as it can become too spiced very easily)
2 tsp cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder (optional)
1½ tsp maple syrup or honey

Simple combine all the ingredients into a blender.  Whizz until smooth, then enjoy.

40 years on the shelf! The winner of our #oldestspice competition was… Pickling Spice from 1975

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Our recent competition to find the oldest spice in your cupboards was an illuminating competition with some fascinating entries. We knew it had to be based on something with a dateline – so we plumped for best before dates which came in, in the 1970s and 1980s. Steenbergs began 11 years ago, but in terms of oldest spices even the first ones we sent out in 2004 would have been mere babies, compared to the competition winners.

There was no particular spice that was sitting in everyone’s cupboard unloved, with jars & packets filled with everything from dill seed, coriander, rosemary, cloves, pickling spice and garam masala: some of which hadn’t even been opened although they were over 30 years old.
Sue’s tarragon from December 1994 & Camilla’s vintage Safeway sage from August 1995 were strong contenders until the entries from the 1980s started coming in.

Our first winner was a Garam Masala from 1984, actually a month before Aga, our head of customer service & dispatch was born.

Aga was born a month before this spice was best before.

Aga was born a month before this spice was best before.

Our second winner was the ultimate in store cupboard neglect – pickling spices from 1975, costing 19p! There were also spices from the 1960s in groovy packaging – although sadly undated and a whole host of people with cupboards full of spices before best before dates came into being.

Best before dates are guidance, as opposed to the use by dates. However spices do lose their essential oils once they are milled so ground spices and blends of these will lose their smell and flavour much quicker than whole spices. We would recommend an optimal shelf life of 2-3 years so that the delicate flavours don’t have time to fade.

Each winner received a re-useable Steenbergs jute bag filled with £50 worth of delicious, aromatic spices, just waiting to tickle their taste buds. Inspiration for dishes can always be found at www.steenbergs.co.uk/recipes and we’d love to hear about your tasty recipes too.

One of the bags of Steenbergs goodies for the winners.

One of the bags of Steenbergs goodies for the winners.

We had such a great response to our campaign that we’re looking to run our #oldestspice competition as an annual event.
So look out in March 2016 for Spring Clean your Store Cupboard Month!

Cooking With A Wonderbag

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Sophie came across the Wonderbag on the radio and then The Guardian, so one arrived several weeks thereafter.  Basically, a Wonderbag is a modern and green take on the slow cooker and that you find in books as far back as Mrs Beeton’s and even like the traditional way of cooking in a hole in the ground.  It is a highly insulated textile bag that comes in very homely patterns and is filled with insulating balls that you wrap around your boiled pot of food.  The key is to get them really hot and to have a pot that fits the amount of food you are making, rather than one with loads of space.  We have found it a great way of preparing a healthy, wholesome stew in the morning for eating when we get back with the kids after school later in the day; much better than whacking on the microwave for a “ping meal”.  Overall, it is a great and retro way of creating change in the world that works especially well with foods that do best with a slow cooking, for example pork ribs, casseroles and mince.

Wonderbags are so ethical in that for everyone you buy in the UK, one will be given for free to a family in South Africa.  They are so green that they are said to save 30% on fuel bills for those using them in South Africa and we can save here in the UK as well.  They have been hugely successful in South Africa and now are in over 150,000 homes (saving 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide) and Unilever is looking to distribute 5 million to people in poverty around the world.

In overview, the way to cook is summed up in the little booklet that comes with the bag:

“Just heat up your pot of food on the stove, kick-starting the cooking process, then place inside the Wonderbag.  Wonderbag’s incredible insulating properties allow food that has been brought to the boil to finish cooking while in the bag without the use of additional energy.”

Pork ribs in sweet sauce

Sweet Pork Ribs cooked in a Wonderbag

Sweet Pork Ribs cooked in a Wonderbag



Ingredients

2 racks of pork ribs
2tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped finely
2tsp cornflour
400ml / 14 fl oz apple juice
2tbsp cider vinegar
2tbsp dark soy sauce
4tbsp dark brown sugar
2tbsp honey
1cm / ½ inch fresh ginger, grated

Prepare the pork ribs:  remove the thin skin on the underside by pulling this off with your hands (for more on this visit Youtube); then chop the ribs into thirds.  In a heavy bottomed frying pan, add the vegetable oil and heat until hot.  Add the pork ribs and fry until browned.  Set aside.

Fry the garlic and ginger in the vegetable oil, then remove then add all the other ingredients, except the ribs and cornflour, and stir together.  Put the cornflour into a small dish or ramekin, add a small amount of the sweet sauce and stir with a teaspoon until thoroughly mixed and without any lumps; add some more of the sauce and stir until you get a thickish paste, then add this to the sweet sauce and stir in.  Now add the ribs.

Put the top on to your casserole dish and bring to the boil.  Simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes, then place into the Wonderbag, close up and leave for 6 or more hours – the longer the better.  If you need to reheat it before stirring, simply place bag on the hob and heat to boiling, then serve.

Serve with plain boiled rice and some stir fried vegetables.

Slow cooked mince

Mince Cooked In Wonderbag

Mince Cooked In Wonderbag

Ingredients

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped into thin slices
500g / 1lb beef mince
2tbsp olive oil
1 glass of red wine
1 x 400g / 14 oz tin of chopped tomatoes
250ml / 8 fl oz water
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the olive oil to the casserole pot.  When hot, add the chopped onions and lightly fry for 5 minutes.  Add the carrots and fry for another 2 minutes.

Next add the beef mince and cook until browned all over.

Add the red wine, stir in and let it be simmered off.

Add the chopped tomatoes, water, bay leaf and season.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced to your satisfaction.  Put the lid on and simmer for a few minutes to get the lid heated through, then place into the Wonderbag and leave for 2 to 8 hours.  Reheat if necessary on the hob before serving to get it piping hot.

Serve with rice or pasta, or some mashed potato.

Simple rice pudding

Ingredients

100g / 4oz pudding rice
50g / 2oz  caster sugar
500ml / 17 fl oz whole milk
10g / ½ tbsp unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla extract

Firstly, wash the rice in water.

Add the milk to the casserole pot and bring to the boil with the casserole lid on.  When it starts to boil, add the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract and stir until the butter and sugar have melded in.

Add the pudding, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.

Place into the Wonderbag, close it up and leave for 2 hours.  When finished, grate a little nutmeg over the top, grill for a few minutes to brown off the top, then serve.