Knowledge Categories Archives: Christmas

Gifts for cooks!

It can be difficult to think of original and innovative gifts at Christmas or any other time of year.

We think that for anyone who enjoys cooking and eating, a great cookery book with a selection of spices that feature in the recipes should go down a treat!

There are numerous fantastic books available in bookshops and online. Some are tried and tested favourites, some are new publications and the choice constantly increases, encompassing every cuisine imaginable.

Just to inspire your imagination, below are a few ideas from us, but you can put together a gift like this using any book that features herbs, spices & seasonings:

book-spices-1

 

 

‘Rick Stein’s India’ with a Seasoned Pioneers Rick Stein Spices Gift Pack

 

 

 

 

 

Delia’s How to Cheat at Cooking with our accompanying Gift Pack of ten spices used in the book:

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Joe Wickes ‘Lean in 15’, packed with health conscious recipes using fresh ingredients, spices and spice blends, with a few workouts to get you even fitter!lean-in-15

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Christmas Spice Checklist

Here’s our Christmas Spice check-list – a reminder of the spices that you may need over the festive season:

Cinnamon Quills – great for serving as a stirrer with Coffee or Hot Chocolate!

Nutmeg – Essential in Christmas cookies, puddings, Eggnog & Gratins

Allspice berries – Integral in Nigella Lawson’s Allspice Gravy!

Juniper berries – for use in all game dishes and pies, also great with winter vegetables.

Mixed Pudding spice – Cakes, puddings, mincemeat – the ultimate Christmas spice blend!

Mulled drink spices – for welcoming and warming your guests!

Star Anise – Cranberry sauce, glazes for meats and an attractive natural gift decoration!

Celery Salt – for your Bloody Mary’s!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme – the basic herbs for your stuffing mixes.

Madras Curry Powder – a good all-rounder for your turkey curry & Coronation chicken.

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Christmas Gift Poem from Seasoned Pioneers

Seasoned Pioneers are we

For spicy food we hold the key

Unlocking every flavour

For our customers to savour.

So make a healthy choice today

From our latest gift array

And sample a selection

To embrace a new direction.

Friends and neighbours, family too

Just think of all those people who

Would love a novel gift from you –

Could any other present do?

There’s peppercorns, salts, spices for drinks

Curries and chillies for kitchen high jinks.

From professional chefs to amateur cooks

They’re boxed to show their shiny good looks.

Recipes, too, for all to inspire

Wonderful meals that never will tire.

In Santa’s stocking – no longer the chocs,

On Christmas morning, instead of the socks

What a surprise, what a delight!

Someone, at last, has got it so right!

Rick Stein’s Spices, Delia’s too

That certain person – they just knew

How loved ones yearn to be inspired

And with imagination fired

To reach their true potential

In creating dishes sensual.

Hot and fiery, exotic, organic

Never a problem, no need to panic

Lots of ideas on how to cheat

How, in a trice , to turn up the heat.

All over the world, India, Asia,

Spicy cooking should never phase yer!

With attractive packages brought to the door

We guarantee your street cred. will soar!

Ever ‘last minute’?

This sure will ‘swing it’!

So add us to your Christmas list

Receive, or give, that is the gist

Of these our seasonal wishes

For those ever grateful dishes!

 

Greetings we send

With every spice blend

And a ‘Happy New Year’

From everyone here!

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Twelve Days of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve kaffir lime leaves
Eleven sumac berries
Ten mulled wine spices
Nine cubeb peppers
Eight bouquet garni
Seven piquin chillies
Six roasted garlic
Five curry leaves
Four fennel seeds
Three clove buds
Two peppercorns
and a nutmeg on a Christmas tree…
Seasoned Pioneers wish you all a very happy festive season!

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Christmas inspiration from around the world

Fancy something a little different on your table this festive season? We taken a look at a couple of other countries for some festive feasting inspiration.

When thinking about Christmas, it’s hard not to conjure up images of Santa in his Lapland toyshop making a list and checking it twice, so our first port of call is Finland.

Joulupöytä, which translates as Yule or Christmas table, is the name of the traditional food board containing many different served at Christmas in Finland. The main dish is usually a large Christmas ham, along with other dishes such as fish and a variety of casseroles. The feast is finished off with sweet treats such as a rice pudding, Christmas bread and biscuits. And it’s all washed down with a traditional alcoholic or non-alcoholic glögi, similar to mulled wine.

Casseroles

Very handy dishes for any host preparing a feast as they can be made in advance and keep well for two or three days when stored in a cool place. Or why not try with leftover vegetables?

Swede casserole (containing ground ginger, white pepper, nutmeg)

Carrot casserole (containing nutmeg)
Both casseroles are suitable for freezing if they don’t all get eaten!

Glass Masters herring (containing whole allspice berries, bay leaves or you could also try with horseradish, peppercorns or celery or mustard seeds. You will need to make this a few days in advance as the fish needs to soak overnight, unless filleted and the skins removed, and the whole lot left to marinade for two to three days).

Rice porridge (containing Ground cinnamon to serve)

Mixed fruit soup (you will need to start the night before as the dried fruit will need to be soaked overnight. Containing a stick of cinnamon)

But a white Christmas isn’t a reality for everyone so if this is your summer or you want to transport yourself and your taste buds to sunnier climes this festive season, let’s look to the Caribbean for some inspiration.

The weather might be different but the spirit of getting together with friends and family and enjoying good food is still the same. Dishes to chose from include roast pork, rice with peas, yummy parcels of pork and green bananas known as pasteles, followed by sweet treats including black cake or pudín de pan. Drinks of choice are often rum based such as eggnog-like coquito or ponche de creme or if you can’t let go of that mulling feeling try sorrel rum punch.

Pernil (roast pork) (containing Caribbean adobo rub)

Arroz de Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) (containing bay leaves, garlic cloves, minced, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne, annatto seeds)

Black cake (containing cinnamon, allspice)

Ponche de creme (containing nutmeg)

However you celebrate the festive season, we hope it’s a very happy one!

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Inspiration for Christmas gifts from your kitchen

Looking for a last minute Christmas gift or just some treats for festive visitors? Look no further than a simple, but delicious Panforte – a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits, nuts and spices. Normally served with coffee or dessert wine – but delicious at any time of the day! – it’s sweet and quite sticky, with warming and festive hints of cinnamon and cloves alongside the citrus flavours of cardamom. It will keep for several weeks if wrapped properly or stored in an air tight tin.

As with most traditional recipes there are several versions available with many claiming to be the original, so browse the internet for one you light the sound of most, or try this one from Antonio Carluccio…

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Christmas Recipes: Thinking ahead

It can be frowned upon to talk about Christmas too much before December but for some things it’s essential not least for anyone making Christmas cakes and puddings or chutneys or anything from the kitchen to give as gifts.  So the following recipes are not only delicious but help serve as a timely reminder that we need to get a move on!

A big thanks to Margaret Armstrong for donating the Christmas pudding and cake recipes.  She told us: “Both these recipes were used by my maternal grandmother and mother, both of whom made them for family members and neighbours. I have now taken over the recipes and followed their tradition of making them for family and friends.”

Christmas PuddingChristmas pudding…

  • 2 lbs 8 ozs mixed dried fruit (Sultanas, Currants, Raisins, finely chopped Apricots, dried Cranberries) use your choice and combination.
  • 4 ozs chopped candied peel
  • 2 ozs chopped blanched almonds
  • 2 ozs chopped walnuts
  • 2 ozs plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8ozs Demerara sugar
  • 8ozs fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Grated rind 1 lemon
  • 4ozs shredded suet
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 grated large Bramley cooking apple
  • 1 grated large carrot
  • ¼ pint of whiskey or Old Ale,
  • 2 teaspoons Cross and Blackwell Gravy Browning  (NOT gravy mix!!)

Night Before

Soak all the dried fruit, nuts and spices in a bowl with the whiskey or Old Ale and gravy browning. Cover and leave overnight, stirring occasionally.

Next day

  1. Sieve the flour into the above mixture and mix.  Add the sugar, breadcrumbs, lemon rind and suet. Add the grated carrot and the grated cooking apple, stir well. Beat the eggs and stir well into the mixture.
  2. At this stage you may like to ask the children to stir the pudding mixture 3 times and make a wish (NOT for themselves)
  3. Grease the pudding bowl or bowls. This recipe will make 1 x 4 pint, 2 x 2 pint or 4 x 1 pint puddings.  Cover with greaseproof paper then foil. Boil or steam for four to eight hours depending on size. Uncover and leave to cool. Re-cover with new paper and foil and store in a cool dry place.
  4. Steam or boil for a further 3 hrs on Christmas Day and serve with your favourite sauce.

Christmas Cake (can also be used for Wedding Cake)

  • Christmas Cake10 ozs butter
  • 10 ozs brown sugar
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons rum, brandy or sherry
  • 12 ozs plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 ozs chopped blanched almonds
  • 2ozs chopped walnuts
  • 3lbs 6ozs mixed dried fruit (sultanas, currants, raisins, finely chopped apricots, dried cranberries – your choice and combination)
  • 4ozs chopped mixed candied peel
  • 4ozs glacé cherries (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons Cross and Blackwell gravy browning  (not gravy mix!!)
  1. Place all the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the three tablespoons of brandy. Add the two teaspoons of gravy browning. Cover and leave to soak turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare Cake tin using double layer of greaseproof paper.  7 inch square or 7 inch round tins.
  3. Turn on oven to 170 C.
  4. Weigh out all ingredients before beginning.  Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Stir in the grated lemon rind.  Whisk the eggs and GRADUALLY whisk into the mixture incorporating well each time, add a little of the flour if the mixture shows signs of ‘curdling’.  Mix the spices with the flour and sieve gradually and stir into the mixture.  Stir in the nuts, dried fruit, candied peel and glace cherries.
  5. Pack the mixture firmly into the prepared tin.  Cover the outside of the tin in double layer of brown paper, cover the top of the cake with double layer grease proof paper. Place in preheated oven at 170c for one hour then reduce the temperature to 150c and cook for a further two hours.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from tin. Store in airtight tin until covering with Marzipan and Icing.
  7. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of spirit of your choice over the cake weekly for the next two to three weeks.
  8. And don’t forget if you’re the hard working cook in the kitchen a treat of mulled drinks might help set the festive mood!
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Pioneering… Alternative Christmas recipes

Turkey Hangover…?!

Are you fed up with the same old turkey curry or sandwiches for days after your Christmas dinner? Why not try some of these ideas for different ways to use up your leftovers (if chicken is specified in the recipe, just use turkey instead):

Turkey Mole

Thai Coconut and Rainbow-Pepper Chicken Soup

Moroccan Chicken & Apricot Bake

Yemenite Soup

Or for an even quicker and easier alternative, why not try one of our new worldwide gourmet cooking sauces? Simply make sure the meat is properly heated through, then add the sauce, heat and serve! Chose from:

– Moroccan Fennel and Apricot Tagine Sauce

– Cajun Jambalaya

– Sri Lankan Curry Sauce

– Thai Penang Sauce

– Indonesian Rendang Sauce

– Spanish Pimenton Bravas Sauce

– Chinese Sichuan Plum & Mandarin

– Indian Jeera & Tamarind Daal

– Mexican Manchamantel

Click here for details

Vegetarian Guests…?

Are you having a vegetarian or vegan Christmas dinner or just one guest over and need some ideas? Try one of these…

Tanzanian Banana and Yam Stew for a change on the traditional or Pilaf Stuffed Onions for a great looking and tasting vegan centrepiece. For those new to vegan cooking, please be careful if buying stock as not all vegetable stock is vegan friendly try Marigold Bouillon, who have a delicious stock especially for vegans.

The Moroccan Bake is great made using Quorn fillets, halloumi cheese or with extra vegetables and chick peas for an aromatic and tasty dinner that you can serve along with your other Christmas dinner vegetables. So aromatic in fact that the vegetarians at the table might need to guard their meal carefully and fend off all others wanting to try some so make sure you make enough!

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Inspiration…Christmas Gift Ideas

Mulling Drink Spice Mixes…

For guaranteed festive cheer try one of our mulling drink spice mixes (1.95 each) including our latest Mulled White Wine, best selling traditional Mulled Wine for red wine, Mulled Cider, Cajun Cafe Brulot for a liquor coffee with a kick together with our Sorrel Rum for an authentic Carribean punch plus with many having non-alcoholic recipe versions as well, non-drinkers and designated drivers need not miss out.

Inspirational Gift Ideas…

For gifts around 10 pounds, try one of our gift selections. With five seasonings and a recipe booklet, you can chose from cuisines such as IndianAsian as well as Worldwide selections. With our festive Mulling Drinks selection and, for those who like it hot, our Hot and Fiery or Chillies selections, containing five different chillies with heat ratings up to volcanic.

For gifts under 20 pounds, try our Delia Smith ‘Cheat’ Ingredients, with all ten of our seasonings used in Delia’s book ‘How to Cheat at Cooking’ or our Worldwide Curry Powders selection which contains ten authentic dry-roasted curry powders from around the world, including South African Curry PowderMalay Curry Powder and the wonderful Zanzibar Curry Powder.

For the budding chef the Essential Store Cupboard Seasonings (38 pounds) is a collection of 30 spices that no kitchen should be without including staples such as black peppercorns, bay leaves, pimenton and allspice. Or for a more adventurous twist on the essentials try the Exotic Store Cupboard Seasonings (53 pounds).

For the chef that has everything the ULTIMATE Spice Aficionado Collection (180 pounds) is a selection of 100 of our most interesting and unusual spices and blends including Indonesian Laos Powder, Iranian Advieh Rice Seasoning and Mexican Epazote Leaves. Now that’s got to impress any cook or chef!

For the full range of our gift selections, click here

For the full range of our seasonings collections, click here

Stocking Fillers…

For great stocking fillers, our individual seasonings are ideal. Practically gift-wrapped already in their attractive funky foil packaging (it keeps them super fresh too!), there’s over 200 to choose from so you can tailor your selection to any lucky chefs desires maybe Moroccan Ras-el-Hanout, Indian Gujarati Masala, Middle Eastern Rose Petals or you can choose a gorgeous little fabric bag of Mulled Wine spice balls, that can also decorate your Christmas tree!

 

Why not treat someone to a great cookery book with an accompanying gift box of especially selected spices. We have designed several selections in conjunction with the authors:

Rick Stein’s India Spice Selection, used in his book and TV series India.

Delia Smith Ten Spices, used in her book How to Cheat at Cooking.gift_bag_mulled_wine-spices

Delia’s Spices used in Delia’s Cakes.

Annie’s Camping Spice Kit, used in The Camping Cookbook by Annie Bell.

Seasoned Pioneers Gift Service…

And now you can even save time on wrapping by selecting the gift service option when you buy. For just 3.95, we will send your package hand wrapped together with a handwritten message of your choice, plus, if you want, we’ll even send your gift directly to the lucky recipient!

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