As you know, I love cooking my way around the word, or globe-cooking as I like to call it. It's cheaper than globe-trotting and much easier if you've got kids and a full-time job to be dealing with ! I've already assembled a pretty impressive country-by-country list of globe-cooking recipes that I've tried out - some more successful than others ! - but I'm always looking for more inspiration, so I was delighted to hear about Seasoned Pioneers and their Worldwide Seasoning Reference guide. They are a small specialist spice blending company based near Liverpool, who dry roast, mill and mix spice blends. They have an extensive range of seasonings, herbs, spices, chillies and peppercorns on offer and kindly sent me through two of their products to try out : Herbes de Provence and South African Curry Powder.
As I'm married to a Frenchman, I'm very familiar with Herbes de Provence, which we sprinkle over everything from meat going on the barbecue, roast chicken and casseroles to spaghetti bolognese and even pizza. The usual blend of herbs includes savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano. I was surprised to see that this blend also includes fennel and lavender - a common addition for the American market apparently but a new one for me.
You can actually see the little pieces of lavender in there which are quite pretty and, flavourwise, it does work, adding a slightly sweet and floral topnote to the tart, fresh flavour of the herbs.
I sprinkled some liberally over a lovely piece of fresh salmon before squeezing over the juice of a lime and drizzling with olive oil and putting it in the oven. Madhouse Daddy who is a total carnivore and usually turns his nose up at fish came back for seconds which is quite an achievement and could well be down to the addition of the new seasoning !
The second pouch, South African Curry Powder, is a traditional blend of fennel seeds, cumin seed, coriander seed, cinnamon and cardamom and it gives a lovely depth of flavour without too much heat.
This is absolutely gorgeous in Durban curry and I can't wait to try it in Bobotie - if you haven't tried it, don't be put off by the recipe. Minced beef, curry powder and apricot jam may sound like they should never be seen in the same cooking pot but it really does work, trust me !
Seasoned Pioneers have over 300 spices and seasonings for you to try out from all corners of the globe and they also have a very interesting selection of recipes to test too. I'll definitely be dipping in for inspiration for some new recipes to experiment with at The Madhouse.
for more information : www.seasonedpioneers.co.uk/
Disclosure : I received the products in order to write an honest review.
Other blogposts you may be interested in :