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!
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!”
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.
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)!
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.
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!
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…
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.