Spices, what would I do without my spice cabinet!!! My husband and I have a huge cabinet full of whole spices that we grind up and use when we are marinating our dish.
I am here to give you guidance on the 5 spices you need to start building your spice cabinet into beautiful colours, intensity, and wide variety of flavours. You should all have at black pepper (BP) and salt in your cabinet so these will not be included in this list.
TIP: It is best to store large quantities of whole spices in the freezer (if you have space). Keeping whole spices (not ground yet) in a freezer will keep for up to 3 years and keep their flavour/colour for longer.
5 Spices I recommend you must have as a base in your spice cabinet;
- Chilli flakes: can be added to any dish. Stew, meat, chicken, roasted vegetables. You can gauge the amount to add depending on how much you love you chilli. Adding a little sprinkle will not burn your mouth off but will just add that tinsie kick in your mouth that just goes well with all the ingredients. Adding more chilli will obviously be more hot and spicy but I personally love that fragrant taste in my mouth. When you add chilli in excess amount I feel like you don’t really taste the food anymore and it is just pure fire.
- Turmeric (Curcumin): this might be an odd one but let me explain. Turmeric is so good for you. SO GOOD!! It is best absorbed by our body when you add it with BP or good fat (milk, butter, coconut oil, coconut milk). FACT: Our bodies struggle to absorb cur cumin directly into our bloodstream. Curcumin has a low absorption rate and our body needs to absorb all the amazing benefits it carries into the lining of our liver and stomach.
So this can be activated with adding BP so the liver can make substances water soluble making it easy to pass through our systems which increases absorption up to 2000%. Eating turmeric with good fats it is more likely to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Turmeric is a vibrant spice that can be added to soup, curry, yoghurt, latte’s, chicken. It doesn’t have a strong peppery taste, it’s earthy and musky.
- Seven spices (Lebanese): this just has everything you need, by the way this is already mixed for you I add this to everything, literally! you can find the ‘seven spices’ anywhere nowadays. This blend has all the spices you need to add full flavours. The spices are; pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and fenugreek. It is amazing to rub this into your meat, soup, broths.
- Dried Oregano: I have chosen this leaf because when it is dry it is more flavourful than when it is fresh. It has an aromatic warm taste, and it’s intensity can be varied depending on how much you add to your dish. This added in a tomato soup, base of a pizza, sprinkled on salad, sprinkled on roasted potatoes with olive oil, and ANY pasta (literally dribbling right now) is soo GOOD. OMG I love this spice so much, it makes the meal hearty and brings me back to the mediterranean. Also, I love adding this to beef or lamb when I am marinating it for a BBQ or on the grill (recipe for that will soon be posted here) or a stew. It goes so well with these ingredients.
- Bay Leaves: I have chosen this spice because I cook a lot of broths, stews, rice, stuffing it in chicken/turkey/leg of lamb and this spice is perfect for just that. There isn’t much of a difference in taste when you get dried or fresh bay leaves. There isn’t a distinctive taste from bay leaves however they bring out other flavours and spices in the dish you are making. A lot of people will say this is a pointless her and really doesn’t add flavour to my dish BUT when the leaves are infused with water they will add a slight bitter taste that stops the soup or stew from feeling too heavy. That is the best way I can explain it. It’s a whispering flavour that I believe is important for broths, stews, soups. You can remove the leaves before serving, as you can not eat them.
That’s all the talk about spice I can do for now. I hope this helps you guys build the base of your spice cabinet and we will obviously discuss more spice variety in the future! Thanks for reading :).