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British Isles

Mulling Spiced Wine and Cider

Winter cocktail

Mulling Spice three ways!

Few things say “winter” better than a steamy cup of spiced cider- or for those of imbibing age, mulled wine. Mulling Spice takes many forms, but ours, heavy on the cassia cinnamon and with a hint of orange peel, has the power to banish those grey-day blues.

It’s important to choose the right wine to mull, and through much “research,” we”ve settled on Pinot Noir as the optimum choice. It’s fairly robust, so stands up to the spices, but the less expensive varieties are not so nuanced so as to make covering their intricacies with spice, criminal.  Look for one whose shelf-talker boasts a larger body, and hints at black or red cherry flavors that will complement the star anise in the Mulling Spice.

A good-quality, unfiltered apple cider is all that’s required for heavenly spiced cider. As the apple capital of the world, Washington state farmers markets are chock full of cider choices, and we’ve yet to find one that disappoints. A few even pair other local fruits with apple- try apple-cranberry, apple-cherry, or apple-blackberry. Simply substitute a quart of apple cider for the wine in the recipe below, and perhaps omit the sugar, depending on the variety of cider that you choose.

It’s also possible to combine these two delights- Winter Sangria, anyone? Add one bottle of wine to four cups of apple cider, along with 1/4 cup of honey or brown sugar, and 1/3 cup of freshly crushed Mulling Spice. Steep for twenty minutes before straining and serving, and don’t forget the cassia stick stirrers!
 

Mulling Spiced Wine and Cider

Ingredients

1 bottle Pinot Noir, or other larger-bodied, semi-sweet red wine
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons Mulling Spice, freshly crushed with a mortar and pestle

Instructions

  1. Whisk half of the sugar in to the wine until it's dissolved.
  2. Add the water and Mulling Spices, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steep for fifteen to twenty minutes, tasting at five-minute intervals to check the intensity level of the spice flavors. The longer you steep, the more pronounced the spice!
  4. When desired flavor is reached, remove from heat, and whisk in more sugar, a tablespoon at a time to taste. Strain, and serve.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/mulling-spiced-wine-and-cider/

Categories: British Isles, French, Holiday, Mediterranean, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings, Wet Your Whistle | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Feast of Ice and Fire

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Many fans of  the HBO Series “Game of Thrones” are still reeling from last week’s blood drenched “Red Wedding” episode. Readers of the book series  “A Song of Ice and Fire” on which the show is based have a few advantages over the tv viewers:

  • They totally knew what was coming.
  • They had the pleasure of reading the author’s glorious descriptions of feasts and food.

By now, most fantasy foodies are familiar with the depictions of heavily laden tables known to induce jealous belly growls. Now you can put those burbles to bed, because World Spice now carries the official companion cookbook, “A Feast of Ice and Fire!”

George "Get over it." Martin

George “Get over it.” Martin

Author George R.R. Martin introduces “A Feast of Ice and Fire” by saying, “Food is one of life’s great pleasures.”  We couldn’t agree more!  The book is divided in to sections based on cuisines from Westeros, Braavos, and other regions of the “Game of Thrones” empire.

This book is also ripe with real history, as well as quotes and excerpts of narrative recipes from actual medieval books of cookery and baking. Many of the recipes, such as Pork Pie, (which, incidentally, looks fantastic) offer a historically accurate recipe, and follow it with a “modern” recipe, boosted with the likes of hot sauce, and other spices and seasonings that wouldn’t have been available in the early European kitchen. Each recipe is introduced by a decadent quote from one of the many scenes of feasting found in Martin’s books.

Long Pepper

Long Pepper

World Spice has long been the spice source for Medievalists seeking Poudre Douce, or “sweet powder,” and Poudre Forte, or “strong powder”  and both are used often throughout the book. Both blends rely heavily on cassia and ginger, with a dose of grains of paradise or long pepper, both of which were used in true medieval cooking, as this pre-dates the domestication and cultivation of the black peppercorns we know today. Also used again and again are two forms of pastry dough, which use a generous pinch of saffron for color and heavenly flavor.

For the lord or lady looking to to surprise guests with a spread of goat, elk, or venison, our English Beef Rub will tame the gamey edge of these meats, using the unmistakable flavor of  juniper in combination with these warm, sweeter spices to excite even a mundane beef roast and delight your honored guests.  Whatever you choose to serve, please observe the hospitality laws.  Failing to do so is a sure fire way to ruin dinner and spoil your appetite.  Bread and salt, people.  Bread and salt.

You can bet my next “Game of Thrones” screening will include a feast fit for the Iron Throne room- perhaps Mutton in Onion-Ale Broth, Trout Wrapped in Bacon, Roman Buttered Carrots, Cheese and Onion Pie, a Salad from Castle Black, and finish the whole lot with Poached Pears, Elizabethan Lemon Cakes, and a challis of Mulled Wine- but I’m open to your suggestions (from anyone but House Frey)!

Categories: British Isles, Hot Topics, Main Meals, Notes from the Field, Recipes, Sides, Sweet Somethings, Wet Your Whistle | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Le Quebecois Mini Pies

We were recently asked by another spice company to change the name of our Montreal Steak Spice because they owned the rights to the name. Well, okay….

We had to brainstorm a new name, take the labels off of jars in gift sets, redo the store displays, and adjust our website all in a very short amount of time.  We were busy!  While all of this change was taking place, I recalled a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, ‘We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.’  Change can be good, our store displays are fresh and new our website got a nice update, we have a fantastic new name for one of our earliest blends and an outstanding recipe to go with it.  Introducing……Le Quebecois Steak Spice  (applause, applause)!

Paying homage to the Canadian Provence were the blend originated, Le Quebecois Steak Spice showcases both the French flair for deft seasoning, and the British love of beef. While usually associated with steak, we tried it in these vegetarian mini pies with great success – you know how how we love to play with our food!  Bon appétit.

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Le Quebecois Mini Pies

 

Le Quebecois Mini Pies

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing pastry
1 large onion, diced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems and leaves thinly shredded and kept separate
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 scallions, chopped
2 ounces arugula
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
1 ounce fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
4 ounces ricotta, drained
3.5 ounces aged, white cheddar. We used Beechers Flagship
2 ounces feta, crumbled
Grated zest of one lemon
2 eggs
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
9 ounces filo pastry, thawed, but cold

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat
  3. Add onion to pan and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes
  4. Add chard stems and celery, cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Add chard leaves, raise heat to medium high and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes
  6. Add scallions, arugula and herbs. Cook for two minutes more and transfer to a collander
  7. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as you can
  8. Transfer to a bowl and mix in cheese, zest, eggs, salt, sugar and Le Quebecois Steak Spice
  9. Lay out a sheet of filo, cut into 12 squares and brush with olive oil
  10. Lay the oiled squares into the cups of a muffin tin
  11. Repeat, alternating the angles of the squares so that they cover the sides of each muffin cup, until you have 5 layers of filo
  12. Fill each cup with herb mixture and fold excess filo over the edges of the filling
  13. To top each cup, make another 5 layer filo piece, cut in a round, and place atop of each cup
  14. Brush lightly with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes until the filo turns golden brown
  15. Serve warm or at room temperature as an an appetizer or an accompaniment to roast lamb or beef
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/mini-herb-and-chard-pies-with-le-quebecois/

Categories: British Isles, French, Hot Topics, Recipes, Snacky Bits | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bejeweled Spice Cake

The baker’s spice holy trinity of Ginger, Indonesian Cassia and Allspice in our Poudre Douce or “Sweet Powder” blend make this upside-down fruit cake an essential for the winter holidays — even if wasn’t such a table-top stunner! We made a festive selection of dried fruits over the classic pineapple to allow the spices to shine through. Less sweet than those pineapple upside-down cakes of our childhoods, we like this cake at brunch as well as for dessert!

This cake is as delicious as it is beautiful!

 

Poudre Douce Bejeweled Cake

Ingredients

Topping:
2 cups mixed dried fruit
1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
boiling water
2 Tbl butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
Cake:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup almond flour
10 Tbl unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the dried fruit into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. After 10 minutes, drain and set the rehydrated fruit aside.
  3. Put the 2 Tbl of butter into a 10 inch round cake pan and put it into the oven to melt the butter. Remove pan from oven and swirl the melted butter around, making sure to get some of the butter on the sides of the pan (use your fingers or a pastry brush). Sprinkle the 1/3 cup brown sugar onto the bottom of the pan and spread around evenly. Set aside.
  4. Sift the flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder into a bowl. Whisk in the almond flour and salt, and set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer, beat the softened butter, brown sugar and honey until creamy and a light color (about 3 minutes). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. (Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl down.)
  6. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Put the drained, rehydrated fruit in the cake pan, patting down to make sure every inch is packed with fruit. Pour the cake batter on top of the fruit and smooth out.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes (or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean). Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan (to make sure the cake is loosened), then invert cake onto a plate.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/bejeweled-spice-cake/

Categories: British Isles, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tasmanian Pepperberry Berries

The Tasmanian Pepperberry is a rare find, native to Australia and wild harvested in limited quantities. There are a dazzling array of flavors in that little pepperberry! It has many uses, but one of our favorite ways to use it is in all kinds of infusions,  such as honey, oil and alcohol. (An added bonus – it adds a pinkish-purplish color to your infusion.) Tasmanian Pepperberry-infused honey is easy to make and can be used for any recipe that calls for honey. We found that when mixed in with fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, it makes a heavenly combination perfect for brunch or dessert. Try it on waffles, french toast or pancakes, or better yet…liberally pour it over ice cream, then sit on the front porch and enjoy the lazy summer afternoon. We won’t tell…

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Tasmanian Pepperberry Macerated Berries

Ingredients

1/3 cup honey
1-1/2 tsp. Tasmanian Pepperberry, ground
2 oranges, juiced
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 pink fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. vodka, rum, tequila or other liquor (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put the honey into a small pan and heat on low until the honey has become more "liquid". Pour into a bowl and add the ground Tasmanian Pepperberry, mixing well. All to cool before you add it to the berries. (You can make the infused honey ahead of time - make double, so you have extra to use for other things.)
  2. Put the berries into a big bowl. Whisk together the cooled honey, orange juice and alcohol (if using) in a small bowl. Pour over the berries and gently toss. (It's ok if some of the berries get smooshed.) Let sit at room temperature for about an hour, stirring occasionally (to help the berries "break down" a bit - that just makes it taste even better).
  3. You can serve this for any meal or snack. This tastes just as good on pancakes as it does on ice cream or even just mixed in with Greek yogurt.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/tasmanian-pepperberry-berries/

Categories: British Isles, Global Cuisines, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caraway Red Ale Mustard

Mustard is easy to make, but it also requires a little patience. If you let the mustard sit for a few days for the flavors to meld together, you will be rewarded with a fine, flavorful mustard to make your sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs extra special.

Caraway Red Ale Mustard waiting patiently for the grilled meat to be done.

 

Caraway Red Ale Mustard

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbl. Brown Mustard Seeds
1 Tbl. Caraway, toasted and crushed
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup red ale (we used Hale's Red Menance)
2-1/2 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the mustard seeds and powder, caraway, water and red ale. Transfer to a covered container and let sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Combine the mustard/ale mixture with the salt, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Then put in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. You can then transfer this to a jar and it will keep in the refrigerator for a few months...if you haven't used it all before then!
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/caraway-red-ale-mustard/

Categories: British Isles, Eastern Europe, Global Cuisines, North America, Recipes | Leave a comment