Seasoning tips

Spices

Spices are generally stronger in flavour than fresh herbs, so you need a smaller quantity. They can make an incredible difference to a dish, and even just a trace can lift the flavour – such as a lovely creamy mashed potato flavoured with a touch of freshly ground nutmeg.

Essential oils in spices oxidise as soon as they are milled, so using a mill to grind your own spices when you need them gives a brighter, more potent flavour – and you can create your own unique spice blends. For a really intense flavour, toast whole spices over a high heat in a dry frying pan before you grind them.

The difference between Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices both come from plants, but from different parts. Herbs come from the leafy green part of the plant, whereas spices come from other parts, such as the root, stem, bulb, bark, seeds, flower buds or fruits.

 

Spices are usually dried before being used in cooking, and you can use herbs fresh or dried. In some cases, both the herb and the spice come from the same plant – for example, coriander gives us both fresh leaves and dried seeds.

 

Some flavours come through most strongly in their fresh form, like ginger. Other spices change and develop their true flavour on drying. For example, peppercorns are picked green and the enzyme reaction that occurs as they dry turns them black, and creates the pepper flavour we know.

Quick Tips for Using Spices

Remember that using herbs enhances the flavour of foods without adding fat, sugar or calories.

 

For an even more intense flavour from whole spices, toast them over a high heat in a dry frying pan before you grind them.

 

Whole spices and bay leaves release flavour more slowly than when they’re ground, making them ideal for slow-cooked dishes.

 

Whole spices keep longer than ground ones – so grind your own blends when you need them, and you’ll get maximum flavour.

 

Dry rubs are simply combinations of dry ground spices, sometimes with chopped herbs. When you apply them liberally to a good piece of meat, they add a lot of flavour – and when you cook the meat at high heat, the rub creates a crust of flavour that locks in the juices. You can apply spice rubs generously, as the intense flavour is mellowed by cooking.

 

Just like dry rubs, wet rubs contain mainly dry ground spices, but they’re made into a loose paste by adding small amounts of liquid – often water, wine or stock. Wet rubs are best cooked slowly, at lower heat.

 

Different flavourings can enhance particular tastes. Certain spices are considered sweet, because their aroma enhances the sweetness of a dish, such as cinnamon in apple pie. Equally, others can emphasise bitterness, such as juniper berries in game dishes.

Spice Varieties

Coriander

Coriander seeds are the fruit of the coriander plant, and have a sweet, spicy flavour. They make up a large proportion of curry powders, and are used extensively in Arabic, Indian and African cuisine.

 

Chilli Flakes

With the popularity of spicy foods, we have become very fond of chilli – and chilli flakes are an easy way to add flavour and heat to any dish. We use chilli mainly in savoury cooking, but you can add it to some puddings, such as ice cream and chocolate dishes. It’s also good in rubs and marinades, and for salsa, curries and Mexican dishes. You can even sprinkle it over pizzas for an extra kick.

 

Fennel Seed

Fennel belongs to the parsley family. The seeds have a slight aniseed taste, which is great with fish, figs and bread. Fennel is also a great flavour for pickling, and good with apples.

 

 

Mustard Seed

Yellow mustard seeds are good for marinades and rubs. Indian cooking uses whole brown or black seeds, which are smaller and quite hot.

 

Cinnamon

Ground cinnamon is strong and flavoursome, often used in Asian cooking, such as curries and rice dishes. It’s also used in teas and puddings, and can be delicious with vegetables and eggs.

 

Cumin

Cumin is the most popular spice after pepper. It’s best to buy whole seeds, and lightly toast and grind them when you need them. Use cumin sparingly, and note that it rarely works with fish, except for in fish curries or tagines.

 

Celery seeds

Best known for their use in Cajun and French cooking, these light brown seeds have a very strong taste, so treat them like concentrated celery. They’re the main ingredient in celery salt. Use celery seeds in vegetable dishes, mustards, pickles, chutneys and bread, or add them to soups, casseroles and fish dishes. Also, try them ground over a roast beef sandwich.

 

Paprika

Paprika is a mild chilli powder. It has a rather sweet flavour, often smoked, and ranges from mild too hot in taste. Its colour enhances the appearance of foods.

 

Caraway

Related to coriander and cumin, caraway seeds are highly aromatic, and have a distinctive aniseed flavour. Rye bread or soda bread wouldn’t be the same without caraway seeds, and you can use them in a variety of other recipes – from potato salads and coleslaws to tomato-based soups and sauces, or a pork roast.

You may not have guessed it, but fennel belongs to the parsley family.

Why would you need a Spice Mill?

Spice mills can handle certain seeds, which are difficult to crush in a pestle and mortar, such as linseed, cardamom pods or cloves. Grinding spices, seeds and pods can be difficult to extract flavour from, but a spice mill changes that. And once you’ve created your favourite spice blend, you can store it in the Kingsley Spice Mill, keeping it handy for whenever you want it.

Easily crush and grind, seeds, cloves or pods with no mess

The difference between Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices both come from plants, but from different parts. Herbs come from the leafy green part of the plant, whereas spices come from other parts, such as the root, stem, bulb, bark, seeds, flower buds or fruits.

 

Spices are usually dried before being used in cooking, and you can use herbs fresh or dried. In some cases, both the herb and the spice come from the same plant – for example, coriander gives us both fresh leaves and dried seeds.

 

Some flavours come through most strongly in their fresh form, like ginger. Other spices change and develop their true flavour on drying. For example, peppercorns are picked green and the enzyme reaction that occurs as they dry turns them black, and creates the pepper flavour we know.

Spices

Spices are generally stronger in flavour than fresh herbs, so you need a smaller quantity. They can make an incredible difference to a dish, and even just a trace can lift the flavour – such as a lovely creamy mashed potato flavoured with a touch of freshly ground nutmeg.

Essential oils in spices oxidise as soon as they are milled, so using a mill to grind your own spices when you need them gives a brighter, more potent flavour – and you can create your own unique spice blends. For a really intense flavour, toast whole spices over a high heat in a dry frying pan before you grind them.