Knowledge Categories Archives: Ideas & Suggestions

Salad Spices

Summertime and the salads are easy!

It’s wonderful that exciting and tasty salads are now firmly on the menus of us all, whether we’re eating at home or dining out. Long gone are the days of lettuce leaves in a bowl with some sliced cucumber and tomatoes sometimes jazzed up with a few radishes or a handful of cress!

Over the years the limited salad seasoning options of salad cream, vinaigrette or mayonnaise were enhanced by the addition of American style creamy dressings such as Thousand Island, Blue Cheese and Caesar dressings.iStock_000017402349Large

However, more likely to be seen on today’s menus are medleys of exotic leaves, fresh herbs, nuts, fruits, seeds, pulses and grains drizzled with imaginative dressings often containing salad spices and seasonings.

Oils infused with sensational flavours then blended with inspiring vinegars provide the perfect backdrop to interesting and unusual spices, which in turn give a unique twist to the fresh ingredients of a salad. Balsamic vinegar is as popular as ever but there are now fabulous artisan vinegars available made from fruits, berries and herbs, that add yet another dimension to a salad dressing.Salad dressing

If you and your family favour more traditional salads, you can still jazz them up with relative ease. For instance, take the humble coleslaw, usually a simple mix of finely shredded cabbage and carrots bound together with mayonnaise. This staple side salad can be elevated to new heights by simple variations to the basic recipe.

To make a tasty and vibrant Mexican style spicy coleslaw just stir a couple of teaspoons of Fajita seasoning into your mayonnaise before adding to shredded cabbage and carrots mixed with finely sliced red, green and yellow peppers, that’s it!

Alternatively, enliven your salads with light yet flavourful dressings, inspired by international cuisines. For an Italian style dressing just mix a crushed clove of garlic with 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and large pinches of oregano, crushed fennel seeds, celery salt & cracked black pepper.

Experimenting with salad dressings and spices in salads can be great fun and limited only by your sense of adventure in the kitchen! For instance, try infusing your oils with unusual herbs such as Australian Lemon Myrtle or Mexican Oregano for a dressing with a difference.

Rice or couscous based salads offer themselves wholeheartedly to the addition of spice blends, along with a plethora of finely chopped fresh herbs and diced tomatoes, olives, spring onions etc. Our favourites to use are Middle Eastern Zahtar, Moroccan Ras-el-Hanout and Iranian Sabzi Ghormeh, all these are wonderful used as salad spices. tabouleh salad

Certain spices and spice blends lend themselves to being used as salad seasonings when simply sprinkled over salads, not only being aesthetically pleasing but also adding flavour and texture. African Tsire powder, a spicy mix containing crushed peanuts works wonderfully on salads as do crushed Sumac berries, imparting a fruity lemony flavour and vivid colour.

The seasalt and sesame seeds in Japanese Goma Shio add texture and bring out the flavour of salad ingredients, especially leaves and tomatoes. Additionally, nutty Middle Eastern Dukkah traditionally eaten with bread and oil, is also superb as a salad seasoning.DSC00837 - Copy

Last but certainly not least to consider in your salads are our Knead the Seed mixes. For ultimate crunch and flavour you can sprinkle either of our nutritious seed mixes into a salad. The glorious selections of seeds give every mouthful a wonderful surprise! You can choose between the five seed mix of chunky pumpkin seeds, sunflower, chia and linseed or the finer eight seed mix of tiny seeds such as chia, poppy, linseed, sesame and nigella seeds.

However you choose to use spices in salads, we are sure that you won’t return to a plate of undressed lettuce leaves ever again!

 

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Spice Alphabet – Seasoned Pioneers

A is for Allspice a peppery mix

B is for Bahar in stews a great fix

C is for Celery the salt or the seed

D is for Dill the seed or the weed

E – Epazote for Mexican fish

F is for Fennel a liquorice wish

G is for Galangal to use in Thai curry

Harissa spice mix for a dip in a hurry

I is for Indian masala spice needs

J’s for Jalfrezi with fenugreek seeds

Kapee is our K a pungent shrimp smell

L and Lavender French rings a bell

M is for Mint Leaves in lamb and in stews

N is for Nutmeg, in sauces great news

Oregano is O in pasta a treat

P is for Paprika intense pungent heat

Quatre-épices our Q for more flavour

Ras el hanout in rice quite a raver

S is for Sumac its berries are fruity

T is for Turmeric a so sultry beauty

Unique are our packs with their silvery foil

Vanilla is V, a temptress so royal

W’s for Wasabi it knocks off your head

X is for Xmas what more can be said?

Y’s are the questions you have for our team?

Z is for Zahtar a sesame seed dream.

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Essential Cuisine

AMAZING STOCKS!

Essential Cuisine make a great range of super quality cooking stocks www.essentialcuisine.com

Used by professional and home chefs throughout the UK – their delicious range includes Chicken, Beef, Vegetable, Lamb, Fish and Veal with each pot making well over a gallon of rich, balanced stock packed with flavour just perfect for great tasting stews, casseroles, soups, risottos, pies, sauces and gravies.

Each pot of Turkey Stock makes over a litre of Gorgeous Xmas Gravy helping to make your Christmas Dinner just that extra special.

 

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Party Dip Ideas

DipsNext time you’re entertaining, welcome your guests with healthy, tasty and colourful platters of dips and nibbles. Making your own dips will save you money and ensure they are lower in fat, but above all it enables you to create exciting combinations that are not readily available in the shops.

To make creamy, healthy and slimming dips, use fat free crème fraiche, fromage frais, natural yogurt, low fat mayonnaise or low fat Greek yogurt.
Our tried and tested favourites are all made with fat free Crème Fraiche, which we find to work perfectly, resulting in a creamy consistency and rich flavour. Simply stir through one of the following blends to taste, commencing with a couple of teaspoons of spice blend to 100ml of crème fraiche or your chosen alternative base for a dip:

If you want to introduce a little more colour and texture to your dips, stir in some finely chopped spring onions, finely diced red peppers or chopped sun dried tomatoes. These all make lovely toppings for jacket potatoes too!

Alternatively, try out these recipes from our website:

Other super simple ideas to wow your guests include:

  • Tuna dip – light cream cheese mixed with mashed tuna & cracked black pepper.
  • Wasabi dip – made from a mix of crème fraiche, crushed cooked peas & a touch of wasabi powder.

Serve your dips with a colourful selection of the following accompaniments:

Crudites of raw celery, carrot, cucumber, peppers, mooli, baby sweetcorn, cauliflower florets, asparagus spears, spring onions, sugar snap peas, breadsticks, tortilla chips, baked pitta strips, puff pastry straws or mini crackers.

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Spices for travel

It’s summer holiday time and there is a great sense of excitement and anticipation in the air!

Where have you chosen to spend your precious time away?

Maybe you’ll stay on a narrow-boat cruising the serene canals and rivers, chugging along at a leisurely pace whilst watching kingfishers flash along the bank.

Possibly you’ll be opening your caravan door in the morning and gazing across the beach at the rolling surf, with the sound of seagulls wheeling overhead?

You may have booked a comfortably furnished self-catering stone cottage with rural views from every window and a pair of deckchairs in the garden.

Others will be glamping or camping next to a sparkling freshwater lake surrounded by forest, listening to the nocturnal sounds of wildlife!

However you are planning to relax, one of the most important components of a wonderful holiday is wonderful food. Being well planned and well prepared in advance of your trip will enable a speedier attainment of relaxation once you’ve reached your destination. Not having to seek out the shops as soon as you’ve arrived means you can take it easy and instantly enjoy your surroundings.

With this in mind, we have put together a new collection of herbs, spices, seasonings and spice blends, aptly named the Travel Spice Kitchen. We hope that by popping this convenient, easy to carry pack into your luggage, you will have the ability to create fabulous meals with the minimum of effort and time!

The Travel Spice Kitchen contains the following carefully selected items, as always they are presented in our unique resealable foil pouches, ensuring maximum freshness and flavour:

This collection opens up a profusion of culinary options when on holiday. Use to conjure up tasty stir-fries, curries, chilli con carne, barbecue rubs, stews, goulashes, rice dishes, omelettes, pasta sauces and much more. All of those dishes can be created whether you are cooking on a camp-fire, a two ring hob or a full range cooker!

The ideas don’t stop there – when you don’t want a hot meal, you can use the Indian Garam Masala to make a delicious Coronation chicken, sprinkle oregano over a salad of sliced tomatoes and olive oil, stir chilli powder through crème fraiche for a dip with crudités or mix prawns with mayonnaise flavoured with paprika……the limit is your imagination!

 Travel_Spice_Kitchen

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Barbecue Spice Rubs

barbecue spice rubsThe unmistakeable aromas of summertime have to be freshly mown grass and mouth-watering wafts of delicious food sizzling over hot charcoals.

Happily it’s barbecue season again, when we take every opportunity to relax outdoors, cook under the skies and eat al-fresco with a chilled glass of our favourite tipple in hand!

Seasoned Pioneers barbecue rub, spices and seasoning rubs can transform your barbecue food into exciting and tasty dishes that will wow your friends and family. Literally packages of flavour, many of our barbecue spices can be used as a rub or as a marinade, so to follow are our suggestions as to how to spice up your summer!

Caribbean BBQ Jerk rub is the classic spice rub to use on meat, fish or vegetables, with a sweet spicy flavour that will bring some extra sunshine into your barbecued food. Jerk spice rub originates from Jamaica, but the word jerk also relates to a style of cooking where foods are grilled over charcoal, often in a halved steel drum known as a jerk pan.

In order to achieve the perfect jerk chicken, buy your jerk spices from Seasoned Pioneers, where we have carefully dry-roasted, ground and hand blended them to a traditional recipe. Barbecued jerk chicken is probably the most popular jerk barbecue dish consumed in the UK, although jerk rub is often used on pork, also a customary jerked meat in Jamaica.

Cajun Blackening spice rub is also fantastic when used on barbecued meats or fish, giving a blackened appearance and spicy Cajun flavour. This is particularly good when used as a rub on whole or filleted fish and chicken portions.

Here at Seasoned Pioneers, we have enjoyed experimenting to find out which spices used in barbecuing will give the best and tastiest results. The barbecue spice rubs we think will enhance your barbecued meats include our Fajita seasoningCaribbean Adobo rubHarissa spice mix and our Mexican Adobo rub, to name a few!

If you’re barbecuing fish, our newly launched Chermoula spice is simply splendid either rubbed directly onto fish or mixed with oil, garlic and fresh herbs to be used as a marinade.

Most barbecue spices can be used to marinade your food in advance of cooking. This can be done easily by placing your food in a bag with the spice rubs and maybe the addition of a little oil to prevent the food from sticking once placed on the barbecue. Leave it to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours or even overnight and then enjoy the fantastic spiced flavours and cooking aromas that will be the envy of your neighbours!

For an unusual and refreshing drink to serve with your barbecued food, make a large chilled pitcher of Caribbean Sorrel Rum and toast the arrival of summer!

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Chocoholics meet Spicoholics!

Chocoholics meet spicoholicsThe combination of chocolate with various spices and chillies can result in some stunning and surprising taste sensations.

We supply spices to several well-known and celebrated chocolatiers so thought it was about time we discovered what all the fuss is about!

Great fun ensued in the Seasoned Pioneers kitchen whilst we cooked up some inspirational marriages of flavour (in our opinion!)

Without further ado, let us share our best-loved creations with you, this is what we made:

Method – Using chunky bars of chocolate, simply melt your white, dark or milk chocolate gently in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in a bowl on a low setting in the microwave. Once it’s melted, stir through your choice of spice blend and pour into individual moulds or a shallow tray. Place into the refrigerator until set, then turn out and enjoy!

Many other herbs and spices work well, including cinnamon, sea salt, lavender, ground cardamom, ginger, mandarin peel, barberries, crushed chipotle chillies, mint, African Tsire powder… the limit is really your imagination, experimenting is tremendous fun and a great way to entertain the kids!

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Spice up the food of love

February 14th is St Valentine’s Day and while many people do want to take the time to show their loved ones how much they care on this particular day, there’s no reason not to celebrate love at other times of the year. Special days are celebrated around the world, but closer to home in Wales, the date dedicated to love is on January 25th –  Dydd Santes Dwynwen – St Dwynwen’s Day – Dwynwen is the Welsh saint of love.

Variations of the tale of Dwynwen’s love abound, but our favourite version is this one…..

Dwynwen lived on Anglesey in the 5th century and was the beautiful daughter of King Brychan Brycheiniog. Dwynwen was deeply in love with a Prince called Maelon.  He felt the same way about her, but her Father had already arranged for her to marry another.  She was so upset by this that she begged God to make her forget Maelon and that night an Angel came to her in a dream.

The Angel gave her a potion to make her forget her loved one and he was turned to ice.  After this God came to Dwynwen and granted her three wishes.  First she asked that Maelon be thawed, secondly that God would forever grant the hopes and dreams of true lovers and thirdly that she would never marry.  When the wishes came true, she committed herself to God and became a nun.  To this day, you can visit the ruins of her Church on Anglesey at Llanddwyn Island.

Whichever day you choose to romance your loved one, why not set the table for two and cook up a romantic feast, sprinkled with a few of nature’s aphrodisiacs? Numerous foods are reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, such as asparagus, almonds, bananas, basil, chocolate, figs, garlic, oysters, honey, chilli peppers and pine nuts, to name a few! Additionally the following are considered to be ingredients worthy of including in an amorous dinner…

Avocado

Since the time of Ancient American civilisations, avocados have been known as an aphrodisiac.  Back then it may well have been more to do with their shape, though more recently it has been suggested that they are packed with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for sexual health such as vitamin E and potassium.  Seems a bit less sexy when given a more scientific explanation, but most ‘aphrodisiac’ foods are named as such due to their nutritional content!

If nothing else, avocados add a touch of luxury to any meal with their smooth, buttery flavour, so try an easy salad of perfectly ripe avocado, tomato and some finely chopped shallot topped with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of lemon juice and a good grinding ofblack pepper.  You could also add some salmon or prawns and maybe a dash of Tabasco sauce if you want a bit more heat.  Or instead of as a salad, serve as bruschetta on top of some toasted bread (a crisp white baguette or ciabatta are good choices) rubbed with a garlic clove.

Saffron
Known mainly for the fantastic yellow colour it gives food, saffron also adds a delicate yet intensely warm musky flavour.  It gives a lovely added depth to tomato based sauces and is particularly good with a paella or bouillabaisse – both ideal for sharing.

But for something a little simpler, try this smooth and creamy Saffron Risotto.  The sweetness of the figs, also known for their aphrodisiac qualities, and the rich savoury flavours of the other ingredients blend together to give a wonderful taste.  It can be made suitable for vegetarians by using vegetable stock and a vegetarian parmesan or equivalent.  Serve with a simple salad or some steamed asparagus, another sexy food.

Ginger
The warmth of ginger can help start or recreate those warm fuzzy feelings you get from the one you love.  Simple and easy to use, ginger adds warmth and flavour to both savoury and sweet dishes.  Such are its aphrodisiac qualities that according to French legend, Madame du Barry served ginger to all her lovers, including King Louis XV, to help put them in a certain mood!

For dessert bake some fruit, such as a cored apple filled with raisins or similar dried fruit mixed with ginger (freshly grated or dried) and a pinch of cinnamon topped with a knob of butter before popping in the oven until the apple is soft and surrounded by aromatic juices.  Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!

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Indian Spices – Indian Restaurant Curry Range

A selection of the classic Indian spice restaurant curries…  each resealable foil pouch has an easy to follow recipe on the back and contains all the authentically dry-roasted Indian spices needed to recreate that Indian restaurant experience for 4 people at least 5 times over! 

–  KORMA INDIAN SPICE –
In India, ‘korma’ actually refers to the cooking technique of braising rather than the mild, creamy dish we are used to in the West. This style of cooking has been perfected by the Moghuls over many centuries, traditionally served on special occasions using the very finest cuts of meat… 
(Ingredients: Black Cumin, Mace, Paprika, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Black Cardamon, Black Peppercorns, Cloves, Coriander)

 ROGAN JOSH INDIAN SPICE –
Another classic dish of Moghul origin from Kashmir – it is best slow cooked with lamb to fully develop the flavours. Our recipe really captures this truly fine dish, unlike many restaurant ‘versions’ which  are often too compromised…
(Ingredients: Coriander, Black Cumin, Paprika, Paprika, Cinnamon, Black Peppercorns, Cayenne, Roasted Red Chillies, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg)

– JALFREZI INDIAN SPICE 
A more recent dish, evolved from the days of the Raj as a way of quickly stir-frying cold meats, with medium hot spices. It’s more moern roots do not detract however from a deliciously simple dish…   
(Ingredients: Fenugreek Seeds, Black Peppercorns, Red Chillies, Cayenne, Ginger, Turmeric, Cardamom, Cumin, Cloves, Amchoor, Coriander Seeds, Cinnamon)

– BIRYANI INDIAN SPICE –
A dish of antiquity, originating from from Iran (the Persian ‘berenj’ means rice). An elaborate pilaf again mastered by the Moghuls – a classic dish of alternately layered fragrantly spiced rice & meat…
(Ingredients: Cloves, Black Peppercorns, Cinnamon, Mace, Black Cumin, Green Cardamom, Red Chillies, Black Cardamom)

– DHANSAK INDIAN SPICE BLEND –
Perhaps the finest of Parsi dishes, the Parsis fled to India from Persia due to religious persecution. Their traditions and religion have thankfully survived and flourished with their food retaining its Persian origins and a unique place in Indian cuisine…  
Ingredients: Cumin Seeds, Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric, Coriander Seeds, Amchoor, Fenugreek Seeds, Cardamom

– DOPIAZA INDIAN SPICE BLEND –
A dish of North Indian origin, ‘do’ meaning two and ‘piaza’ meaning onions is testament to the importance of this ingredient in the finished dish… 
Ingredients: Cumin, Fenugreek Seeds, Tureric, Coriander Seeds, Red Chillies, Fennel Seeds, Cloves

– PASANDA INDIAN SPICE BLEND –
‘Pasanda’ means fillet and this dish involves strips of eat bein beaten and pounded until thin before being marinaded until incredibly tender and flavoursome… 
(Ingredients: Cumin, Black Peppercorns, Turmeric, Cloves, Green Cardamom, Fenugreek Leaves, Red Chillies, Cinnamon, Black Cardamom)

– VINDALOO INDIAN SPICE –
Vindaloo (or ‘vendaloo’) is famously fiercely spiced dish from Goa, orginally introduced to India by the Potuguese in the 15th century. Traditionally made with pork which is slowly marinaded, then fearsomely spiced… 
(Ingredients: Roasted Cayenne Chillies, Turmeric, Paprika, Mustard Seeds, Roasted Naga Jolokia Chillies, Cumin Seeds, Cinnamon, Cloves)

– PILAU RICE INDIAN SPICE MIX
The traditional mix of  Indian spices to make the fragrantly spiced pilau rice, another dish evolved of antiquity originally from Iran…
‘Earthy’ cumin & citrus coriander with spicy cinnamon & aromatic cardamom notes.
(Ingredients: Cinnamon, Cumin Seeds, Coriander Seeds, Cardamom Pods)

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Inspiration… Recipes for healthy eating

 We are all very aware of the importance and benefits of eating healthily. While we are increasingly getting the message that opting for a balanced diet and exercise is safer and easier to stick to than faddy and quick fix diets, it can sometimes be really hard to think of new and exciting recipes to keep our meals interesting and balanced as well as our taste buds & waistlines happy.

Spices are a great way of creating interesting & flavoursome meals which are both healthy and good for our waistlines too. So if you’re in need of some inspiration, why not try our improved Recipe Search Facility, featuring recipes from all worldwide cuisines and now with eight dietary criteria to choose from, including low fat and low carb. We regularly update our collection of recipes and our new low fat recipes include spice rubbed fish or, for those of you with more of a sweet tooth, low fat spiced biscuits see below for more to inspire you and your taste-buds:

– Moroccan Chicken & Apricot Bake

– Spiced Fenugreek Mushrooms

– Thai Shrimp Soup

– Tabouleh Salad

 Lemon and Nutmeg Spinach

– Chilli Salsa

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Discover… Seasoned Pioneer Seasoning Collections

Is your spice cupboard in need of a freshen up? Need a gift for someone who’s just starting to get creative in the kitchen or for a spice aficionado?… at Seasoned Pioneers we’ve used our spicy expertise to carefully select a range of Seasoning Collections to cater for the needs of all real food lovers whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re looking for the ultimate gift for the spice aficionado.

All spices lose their flavour over time and it is important to make sure your spice cupboard is up to date and giving you the best flavours in your cooking – Seasoned Pioneers’ clever resealable foil packaging and dry-roasting of spices both intensifies their flavours and helps the spices to keep their flavour longer. So if the time has come for you to have a clear out or if you are just starting to get creative in the kitchen (or maybe looking for a gift for a budding chef, a new homeowner or an unusual wedding gift), then look no further than our Essential Store Cupboard Seasonings: a collection of 30 spices that no kitchen should be without, including staples such as black Peppercorns, Bay leaves, Pimenton and Allspice. For a more adventurous twist on the essentials, try the Exotic Store Cupboard Seasonings.

If you want to spice up your seasonings cupboard or need a gift for a more adventurous chef why not take a look at The Spice Aficionado Collection: 60 seasonings including Japanese Wasabi powder, Indian Anardana and Chinese Cassia bark.

But if you’re looking for a gift for the really serious chef who has everything then look no further than The ULTIMATE Spice Aficionado Collection which 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.

Alternatively if you’re trying to re-create the cuisine of a holiday or time spent abroad, or if you have a friend from abroad living over here who’s longing for the tastes of home, then be inspired by our World Spice Blends Collections. As with all the Collections, the seasonings have been carefully selected for food lovers and include Asia and Far East (with 20 authentic spice blends) and, for those who can’t get enough, The Definitive Selection (40 spice blends).

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Planning Your Indian Spice Dinner Party

When planning your meal, bear in mind that there are generally 3 items in a traditional Indian spiced meal:

  • Main dish
  • Side dish
  • Staple (Bread or rice)

Chutneys, salads and raitas can also be served to add a tangy taste.

Planning The Menu

When deciding what dishes to serve, take into account the following considerations:

Is the main dish going to be highly spiced, or have subtle flavours?

Do the flavours of the dishes you have chosen complement each other?

Choose a side dish based on the strength and consistency of the main dish. For example, a mild side dish is more enjoyable with a spicier main dish and dishes with a drier consistency are generally accompanied with a curry or a lentil dish.

How To Serve An Indian Spice Feast

Unlike Western meals, an Indian meal is not served as separate courses. Although it has several courses, these are all brought to the table at the same time, allowing diners to help themselves to each dish in any order.

For more extravagant dinner parties, you can add more dishes to the standard 3 dish menu. Try adding one or two dry meat dishes, such as kebab or tandoori chicken, along with some chutneys, pickles and raitas, with a dessert to follow.

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