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Trachyspermum ammi
Native to Egypt & Ethiopia
Ajowan is considered to be an antiflatulent, a spice which reduces the gaseous effects of beans and other legumes.
Pimenta dioica
Native to Central America & West Indies
Allspice seeds are easily spread by birds and other animals and it is sometimes considered an invasive species in places where it has become naturalised, such as Hawaii and on other Pacific islands.
Pimpinella anisum
Native to Eastern Mediterranean Region
In Britain, capsules of aniseed oil were built into the bearings of locomotives, so that the smell would give warning in the case of overheating.
Bay Laurel
Laurus nobilis
Native to Leaves
The medium-sized, tough, dry leaf accumulates oils in spherical glands in the leaf interior, and has a mixture of woody, floral, eucalyptus, and clove notes.
Black Pepper
Piper nigrum
Native to South India
India and Sumatra (in Indonesia), were historically the biggest suppliers of pepper in world trade. In the last 20 years however, Vietnam’s crop has expanded 15-fold and displaced India as the largest producer.
Carum carvi
Native to Europe & Asia Minor
An old superstition holds that caraway seeds had the ability to stop things getting lost or stolen and, by the same token, could be used to help lovers remain faithful to one another.
Elettaria cardamomum
Native to Sri Lanka & SW India
In terms of trade, Cardamom is India’s most important spice, however, the country only exports a small proportion of its total production – mostly to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Japan.
Capsicum annuum
Native to Central and South America
The heat of a chilli pepper is measured in Scoville Heat Units. A sweet pepper scores 0, a jalapeño pepper around 3,500 and a Carolina Reaper at a scorching 2,200,000.
Cinnamomum vera
Native to Sri Lanka & S.W. India
The Greek historian Herodotus reported that cinnamon could be harvested by enticing large birds with pieces of meat, causing the cinnamon sticks they used as nesting materials to fall to the ground.
Syzygium aromaticum
Native to North Molucca Islands & Indonesia
In the 17th and 18th century Dutch traders destroyed both wild and cultivated clove trees in order to maintain their monopoly and keep prices high, causing a great loss of genetic diversity.
Coriandrum sativum
Native to From Southern Europe and North Africa to Southwestern Asia
It is believed that coriander was planted in Massachusetts in 1670, shortly thereafter appearing in Latin America, where the leaves rather than the seeds have become popular.
Cuminum cyminum
Native to Mediterranean & Western Asia
In Sanskrit, cumin is known as Jeera: “that which helps digestion".
Anethum graveolens
Native to Southwestern Asia & Southern Europe
The oil from the seeds are distilled and have been used in the manufacturing of soaps.
Foeniculum vulgare
Native to Shores of the Mediterranean
Fennel seeds are sometimes chewed to "sweeten the breath." The volatile chemical that creates the typical aroma of fennel, trans anethole, is 13 times sweeter than table sugar, weight for weight.
Trigonella foenum-graecum
Native to Near East & Eastern Mediterranean
The aromatic compound responsible for fenugreek's distinctive sweet smell (sotolon) is also present in molasses, barley malt, coffee, soy sauce, cooked beef, and sherry.
Grains of Paradise
Aframomum melegueta
Native to West Africa
The Ménagier de Paris (1393) recommends Grains of Paradise for improving wine that "smells stale".
Juniperus communis
Native to Northern Hemisphere
The Greeks used the berries in many of their Olympics events because of their belief that the berries increased physical stamina in athletes.
Kaffir Lime
Citrus hystrix
Native to Tropical Asia
These tough leaves are richly endowed with citronellal, giving them an intense, fresh, lingering lemon-green character distinct from lemongrass (with which it’s often cooked).
Nigella sativa
Native to Mediterranean & Western Asia
In 2010, Nestlé filed a patent application for use of extracted thymoquinone from Nigella (N. sativa) as a food allergy treatment.
Myristica fragrans
Native to Banda Islands, Indonesia
Nutmeg is a psychotropic and in high enough doses cause hallucinations, delusions, and an impending sense of doom.
Sesamum indicum
Native to East Africa or India
Sesame is a high value crop and an important source of food and oil. In recent years there has been a large increase in world trade (some 80% in the 15 years to 2013).
Sischouan Pepper
Zanthoxylum bungeanum
Native to China
Sichuan pepper produces a strange, tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation that is something like the effect of carbonated drinks or of a mild electrical current.
Star Anise
Illicium verum
Native to Northern Vietnam & South China
Star anise contains a chemical found in the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu. Increased production of the drug often drives up the price of this spice.
Rhus coriaria
Native to Southern Europe
Sumac is unusual for being very tart (from malic and other acids), astringent (from abundant tannins, to 4% of its weight), and aromatic, with pine, woody and citrus notes.

Flavoursome Duckbreasts

Allspice Coriander Grains of paradise Nigella Rich olive oil

Grind all the spices and mix them to a paste with the olive oil. Spread the paste on the skinned duckbreasts. Either grill or bake in the oven.

The aroma and the flavour are a delight. Could be used on other meats too.

Visitor number 3276

Spicy pork tenderloin

Spicy pork tenderloin Cardamom Cloves Coriander Nutmeg Olive oil Mashed garlic Grind the spices together and mix them with olive oil and mashed garlic to make a paste. Spread the paste on the pork tenderloin. Grill or bake in the oven. This is easy to do and tastes delicious!

Kaffir Stroganoff

Our spices were Cloves, Fenugreek, Kaffir Lime and Sesame. First we reduced the Cloves because of it's intensety it would have overwhelmed the other spices. Second we increased the number oft sesame.

Furter we made rice and meat (we used chopped pieces of cow). We heated olive oil, put the meat in the pan and after while we gave white wine and cream into the pan. In the end we addes our mixture of spices and some salt. After a short while of cooking we threw out the cloves and die Kaffir Lime Leafes and served it. The next time we might be adding curry as well.


by Judith Gordon

Today at Kew I created a unique spice mix made up of Cardamom, dill, kaffir lime and sichuan pepper. I was given these spices in a container to take home. This evening I made a sauce with the spices and it was delicious. I made enough for two servings.

First I ground up all the spices, removing the green cardamom seeds from their pods first. Then I fried the spices in two tablespoons of rapeseed oil and added a chopped red onion. After a couple of minutes I added 150 gm of chicken breast sliced, 8 small mushrooms chopped, 2cm aubergine chopped, and cooked them until they were cooked through. Then I added two tablespoons of coconut cream and a tablespoon of lemon juice. After five more minutes I added cooked pasta and cooked another five minutes.

The result was surprisingly light and fresh-tasting.

Spiced Fish

Spiced Fish Fish filets Equal amounts of caraway, cumin, dill and fennel seeds Sliced lemon Toast the seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, then crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle. Place fish on oiled aluminum foil. Top with seeds and slices of lemon. Close the foil around fish. Bake at 180°C until done.


Hawaij (Arabic: حوايج‎, Hebrew: חו׳יג׳), also spelled Hawayej or Hawayij, is the name given to a variety of Yemeni ground spice mixtures used primarily for soups and coffee. Hawaij is used extensively by Yemenite Jews in Israel and its use has spread more widely into Israeli cuisine as a result.[1]

The basic mixture for soup is also used in stews, curry-style dishes, rice and vegetable dishes, and even as a barbecue rub. It is made from cumin, black pepper, turmeric and cardamom. More elaborate versions may include ground cloves, caraway, nutmeg, saffron, coriander and ground dried onions.[2] The Adeni version is made of cumin, black pepper, cardamom and coriander.[1]

The mixture for coffee is made from aniseeds, fennel seeds, ginger and cardamom. Although it is primarily used in brewing coffee, it is also used in desserts, cakes and slow-cooked meat dishes.[2] In Aden, the mixture is made with ginger, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon for black coffee, and when used for tea excludes the ginger.[1]


Bahārāt (Arabic: بهارات‎) is a spice mixture or blend used in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially in the Mashriq area, as well as in Turkish, Iranian, Kurdish and Israeli cuisine. Bahārāt is the Arabic word for 'spices' (the plural form of bahār 'spice'). The mixture of finely ground spices is often used to season lamb, fish, chicken, beef, and soups and may be used as a condiment.


Ingredients for a Gulf-style baharat Typical ingredients of baharat may include:

Allspice Black peppercorns Cardamom seeds Cassia bark Cloves Coriander seeds Cumin seeds Nutmeg Dried red chili peppers or paprika

Turkish baharat includes mint as the modal ingredient. In Tunisia, bharat refers to a simple mixture of dried rosebuds and ground cinnamon, often combined with black pepper. In the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, loomi (dried black lime) and saffron may also be used for the kebsa spice mixture (also called "Gulf baharat").

A recipe for baharat is a mixture of the following finely ground ingredients:

4 parts black pepper 3 parts coriander seeds 3 parts cinnamon 3 parts cloves 4 parts cumin seeds 1 part cardamom pods 3 parts nutmeg 6 parts paprika The mixture can be rubbed into meat or mixed with olive oil and lime juice to form a marinade.


Advieh or adwiya (Persian: ادویه‎) is a spice mixture used in Persian cuisine and Mesopotamian cuisine.[1] It is used in rice dishes, as well as in chicken and bean dishes. Although its specific composition varies from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea, common ingredients include turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, rose petals or rose buds, cumin, and ginger. It may also include ground golpar, saffron, nutmeg, black pepper, mace, coriander, or sesame.

There are two basic varieties of advieh:

Advieh-e polo - used in rice dishes (usually sprinkled over rice after the rice has been cooked) Advieh-e khoresh - used in stews or as a rub for grilled or roasted meats Advieh used for stews often includes saffron, sesame, cinnamon, rose buds, coriander, cardamom, and other spices.

Garam Masala

The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes across India according to regional and personal taste,[1] and none is considered more authentic than others. The components of the mix are toasted, then ground together.

A typical Indian version of garam masala contains:

black and white peppercorns cloves Cinnamon or cassia bark nutmeg and mace black and green cardamom pods Bay leaf Caraway Some recipes call for spices to be blended with herbs, while others for the spices to be ground with water, vinegar, coconut milk, or other liquids, to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion, or garlic may be added. Some recipes also call for small quantities of star anise, asafoetida, stone flower or Dagadphool and Kababchini (Cubeb). The flavours may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect, or a single flavour may be emphasized. A masala may be toasted before use to release its flavours and aromas.[1]

The order in which spices are added to food may be very elaborate in some dishes. In the case of the Kashmiri speciality rogan josh, for example, coriander, ginger and chilis are each ground individually, and a garam masala of cloves, cardamom, fennel, red or black chilies, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg is prepared separately. The cook tastes the dish carefully to determine the precise moment when the next spice should be added. The order is coriander first, then the ground ginger, then the garam masala, and finally the chilis.[1]

In the chicken dish, murgh kari (chicken curry), the procedure is also precise. First, the chicken is fried and removed from the pan. Onion, garlic, and fresh ginger are added to the pan and cooked slowly for 7 to 8 minutes. Next cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, cayenne, and fennel seed are added with water and fried for a minute or so. Next tomato concassé is added with fresh coriander, yoghurt, and salt. The chicken is returned to the pan and more water is added. Finally, some garam masala is sprinkled on top, the pot is tightly covered, and the dish cooks another 20 minutes before serving.

In Pakistan, garam masala is a common additive in various types of pilau (pilaf). It is usually added to hot oil in which onions have been fried golden brown.

Kaala Masala

Kaala masala is a Maharashtrian spice mixture (masala). The Maharashtra region has quite few varieties of masala which distinguishes Maharashtrian food from other aromas and flavours of India. Stronger and spicier flavours are significant aspects of Maharashtra. This special masala makes it easy to prepare Maharashtrian items like usal, varan and masala bhat.

Some of the main ingredients Of kaala masala are cumin seeds, coriander seeds, clove, cinnamon sticks, kalpasi, coconut, sesame seeds and chillies. "Kaala" means "black" in the Marathi language and this refers to both the colour of the final masala and the ingredients which it contains. Typically, it will be prepared from dark spices such as cloves and cinnamon and the spices will be roasted until they obtain a dark colour.[1]

Chaat Masala

Combine spices and sprinkle over fruit or snacks. Add Asafoetida, Dried Mango powder and curry leaves.

A New recipe

This is a recipe

Piri-piri Prawns and Harissa Couscous


For the piri-piri prawns

  • 2 red chillies, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 dried chilli, roughly chopped
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 very large African prawns, shells removed but tails left on, cleaned

For the couscous

  • 200g/7oz wholegrain couscous
  • 400ml/14fl oz boiling water -1 tsp harissa -1 tbsp pomegranate molasses -1 tsp baharat spice mix (available from Middle Eastern stores and some supermarkets) -½ lemon, juice only -1 red onion, finely sliced -1 pomegranate, fleshy seeds only -1 small bunch coriander, roughly chopped -1 lemon, quartered, to serve

Preparation method For the piri-piri prawns, place all the ingredients except the prawns into a food processor and blend until smooth. Place the prawns on a plate and rub over the piri-piri sauce, reserving a little to garnish. Leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour. Heat a griddle pan until hot and cook the prawns for 4-5 minutes on each side, depending on their size, until the prawns have turned pink and are cooked through. For the couscous, place the couscous into a bowl, pour over the boiling water and stir with a fork to combine. Add the harissa, pomegranate molasses, baharat and lemon juice and stir once more. Cover with cling film and set aside for 3-4 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed into the couscous. Remove the cling film and fluff up with a fork. Add the red onion, fleshy pomegranate seeds and coriander and mix well. To serve, place three prawns onto each plate with a pile of couscous. Drizzle over the reserved piri-piri sauce and a squeeze of lemon.

Mulled Wine

  • 2 clementines
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg, for grating
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bottles Chianti or other Italian red wine

This is dead simple to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. It's a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you've got your own favourite spices, then feel free to add those to the pot too. Let everything cook away and warm up gently so the flavours have time to mingle with the wine. I like to leave my mulled wine ticking over on a really low heat and just ladle some into glasses as and when guests pop in.

Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.

Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you've got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason I'm doing this first is to create a wonderful flavour base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine. It's important to make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you'll burn off the alcohol.

When your syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it's warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.

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Pumpkin Pie


  • 750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 140g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar


Place the pumpkin in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or until tender. Drain pumpkin; let cool.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 15 mins. Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is pale golden and biscuity. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Pour into the tart shell and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set.

Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled.