Few things say “winter” better than a steamy cup of spiced cider or mulled wine. Mulling Spice takes many forms, but ours is heavy on the cassia cinnamon and with a hint of orange peel for 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.
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 carries the series’ 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 or 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 and Poudre Forte (“sweet powder” and “strong powder,” respectively), 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 they 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….
While we were busy brainstorming a new name, taking the labels off of jars in gift sets, redoing the store displays, and adjusting our website, 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!
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.
Spring is in the air! This is my favorite time of year: spring training baseball is on the radio, Mother Nature is providing us with some gorgeous sunny days between all the rain, and one of the most fun celebrations on the calender is right around the corner.
That’s right, St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and whether your entire family is from the Emerald Isle or you’re just Irish at heart, St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to have some friends over to enjoy a pint or two of Irish stout and some corned beef and cabbage. For our recipe, be sure to brine it for as long as recommended. The salt in the brine carries the flavor of our Pickling Spice through the whole piece of meat and the extra spices reserved for the cooking liquid lend it a great burst of flavor on the surface. This St. Patrick’s Day be safe, enjoy some delicious corned beef and remember:
“May the lilt of Irish laughter
lighten every load.
May the mist of Irish magic
shorten every road…
And may all your friends remember
all the favors you are owed!”
The baker’s spice holy trinity of Ginger, Cassia and Allspice in our Poudre Douce blend make this upside-down fruit cake an essential for the winter holidays — and it’s a table-top stunner, too! 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. The pepperberry holds a dazzling array of flavors that make it ideal for use it is in all kinds of infusions such as honey, oil and alcohol. (Added bonus – it adds a pinkish-purplish color to your infusion!)
In this recipe, we use a pepperberry-infused honey mixed in with fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries to create 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…