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Herbs & Spices - please help me use them.

2

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  • I was reading a craft book yesterday and it suggested using herbs and spices to make little fabric bags or shapes - like lavender bags but with other smells.

    I havent tried it yet but im thinking of using some scraps of leftover materials (old shirts etc) to make some decorations for the kitchen which will smell lovely. This might be the home made gift idea for christmas this year! Ive got loads of rosemary in the garden I can use but will also try old kitchen spices too.
  • Chris25
    Chris25 Posts: 12,918 Forumite
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    JaneAire wrote: »
    I was reading a craft book yesterday and it suggested using herbs and spices to make little fabric bags or shapes - like lavender bags but with other smells.

    I havent tried it yet but im thinking of using some scraps of leftover materials (old shirts etc) to make some decorations for the kitchen which will smell lovely. This might be the home made gift idea for christmas this year! Ive got loads of rosemary in the garden I can use but will also try old kitchen spices too.


    oh yes, you've reminded me.....you can put the sweet scented spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon etc) into a muslin bag then make a cover for them, a bit like an envelope or small cushion cover but large enough for them to lie on one level when placed on a hard surface. Use festive fabric and this can then be used as a potstand or coaster - everytime you place a hot saucepan or mug on it, the smell wafts up :)

    or sprinkle in amongst pot-pourri, again for that Christmassy fragrance.
  • why not remix those spices!

    a spice mix to make chilli (whether bean or meat) goes as follows:
    1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    2 tsp paprika
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 tsp dried sage
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

    don't worry if you're missing an ingredient, it's all good. fry some onion, a fresh chilli pepper, maybe a green pepper, then your meat / beans and add the spice mix. then a couple of tins of tomatoes. fresh coriander too perhaps? simmer for an hour or so. yum. i actually make a whole jar of the mix as we have it so much.

    speaking of which, a classic bengali spice mix called panchphoran is equal proportions of fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds & nigella seeds (just double the cumin if you haven't got nigella). my favourite use for this is if you cook up some red lentils to make dal, get a couple of tbsp oil really hot in a frying pan then add 1/2 tsp of the panchphoran to the oil - the seeds will start popping (this is what's called the "tarka" technique. just carefully (it may spit) pour the hot oil / spices into the cooked lentils and stir. yum. hey presto your dal is now tarka dal.

    incidentally, both these came from madhur jaffrey's fantastic book World Vegetarian. :D
  • my tip is a D-I-Y suggestion- Once you've gotten used to how different herbs and spices work, you get a sense of how a recipe might benefit from a bit of one of them. What I do, to avoid ruining a dish- I spoon out a small amount, and then add a relative amount of the herb or spice, stir in and taste. If it improves the taste, then I can add the herb or spice to the main dish. It's an exciting and safe way of experimenting, finding out how the flavour of different herbs and spices affect the taste of your meal.

    as a general rule, I personally use herbs in a European-style dish, and spices in a curry. However, I add a bit of hand-ground chilli seeds to almost everything:D
  • CCP
    CCP Posts: 5,061 Forumite
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    However, I add a bit of hand-ground chilli seeds to almost everything

    I can relate to that! I love chillis and throw some into most things - there's not much chilli doesn't go with, imo! :D
  • I see you already have turmeric, cumin and coriander. If these are as I think and already ground then mix them together and you will have "curry powder". You will have to vary the quantities according to taste and if you want some more heat add some paprika. Pour some olive oil into a pan, add finely chopped onions of any sort and then your curry powder and away you go - then add meats or other veg to suit your diet. No need to go out and buy a "curry" sauce and it will be tons better than "Uncle Bens"!!!! You can make endless variations on curries. I like to add dried sultanas to mine!
  • doobyden
    doobyden Posts: 12 Forumite
    Some yummmmerz ideas here!

    You can also try adding cinnamon to the water when boiling/ steaming carrots... really brings out the sweetness. Just struck me that this may work with with sweet potatoes too. I will have to try it!
  • Chris25
    Chris25 Posts: 12,918 Forumite
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    doobyden wrote: »
    Some yummmmerz ideas here!

    You can also try adding cinnamon to the water when boiling/ steaming carrots... really brings out the sweetness. Just struck me that this may work with with sweet potatoes too. I will have to try it!


    I'm sure it would - cinnamon is lovely sprinkled on roasted or mashed sweet potato as is nutmeg on mashed swede or brocolli soup :)
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg are used in Greek cooking when making a meat and macaroni dish called pastizio, It's really delicious, even if you don't think those spices would go well with lamb or beef. Believe me, they do!
  • Horasio
    Horasio Posts: 6,676 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I use cinnamon mixed with sugar or in coffee.

    Bran Flakes with cinnamon sugar is amazing.

    I discovered cinnamon sugar in the States as make my own now. At this time of year (fall and Halloween), everywhere there seems to smell of it.

    Cinnamon can be used in the same was a vanilla

    Mixed spices are used a lot in my house in cakes, pies etc.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Herbs-and-Spices/Spices/Cinnamon/Main.aspx
    An average day in my life:hello: :eek::mad: :coffee::coffee::coffee::T :o :rotfl: :rotfl: :p :eek::mad: :beer:
    I am no expert in property but have lived in many types of homes, in many locations and can only talk from experience.
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