In my opinion, a home made gift is worth way more than a bought one. Time and effort have gone into it and a bit of love and care and that counts for a lot!
Even if you aren't creative or arty, these wee spice blends are so easy to make, and a great wee gift for a foodie friend!
Spices have been used for hundreds of years in cooking, they of course, add great flavour to food, but can also have lots of health benefits. A sprinkle of any of the following blends can really lift a simple meal and provide an extra treat for your tastebuds. We always add some kind of extra flavouring ingredient to our food and keep a wee selection of ready made spice blends.
Here are three of my favourites;
4 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp dried thyme
4 tsp dried orgenao
2 tbsp sumac
(optional but nutritious- 1 tsp seaweed flakes)
Toast sesame seeds and cumin seeds until browned and fragrant; grind roughly in mortar and pestle then add the other and ingredients and grind again until satisfied. Chunky is good, or not so chunky, whatever you prefer. Sprinkle on anything-hummus, soups, pizza etc. It goes great with Middle Eastern flavours. Store in a glass jar.
from A modern way to eat-Anna Jones
a handful of hazelnuts
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon sea salt
Roast hazelnuts in the oven until golden, allow to cool before removing the bitter skins.
Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until the hazlenuts and peppercorns have broken down into small pieces. You can leave it here or continue grinding to a fine powder. You could also add a teaspoon of seaweed flakes or hemp seeds for an extra nutrition boost.
Store in a glass jar and sprinkle over everything from salads to soups to roasted veggies- it packs a real flavour punch!
This isn't really a spice blend, its more of a condiment, but its delicious nonetheless! I've been using this since my macrobiotic days, and its simply a mixture of sea salt and sesame seeds, dry toasted and finely ground in a pestle and mortar. Sesame seeds are a great source of calcium and magnesium and great for bone health. I use it in place of salt and sprinkle it on soups, salads, steamed greens and sushi! It amazingly tastes quite salty but with only a teaspoon of salt, a little goes a long way! My favourite salt is Himalyan Sea Salt, known as the king of salts for its purity and high mineral content!
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup of sesame seeds (white, black or a mixture)
Simply dry toast the sea salt in a small pan for a few minutes then tip into pestle and mortar. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the sesame seeds start to colour, turn the heat off. They sometimes start popping so stop then!
Add the sesame seeds to the pestle and mortar and grind to a powder. Its ok to leave the mixture with some whole seeds. Transfer to a glass jar and use liberally!
All spice blends will last for a good few months, though spices do lose their potency so i suggest filling small jars that are easier to use up quickly.
....your health in your hands...