How to use spice to warm up winter meals
Pasadena’s Spicebar is a hot spot for home cooks who are keen to add a little warmth to their cooking this winter.
Spicebar manager Jueyenne Staltari says winter is prime baking time when classic sweet spices are needed for comfort food cakes, pies and puddings. It’s that time of year when people are reaching into the pantry for staples such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and allspice. Jueyenne suggests pulling out the spice jars and having a whiff – if a spice doesn’t smell nice and fragrant then it’s time to restock.
In addition to the essential sweet spices, Jueyenne says she’s also getting lots of requests for flavours to liven up wintry stews, casseroles and slow-cooked dishes.
“A lot of people are coming in this year asking for paprika which has a nice, fruity, slightly sweet and warming flavour,” she says. Paprika is a ground bright red powder from finely ground dried red capsicum and comes in sweet, smoky and hot varieties.
Jueyenne says the Mediterranean herb section is also popular this season for people making Bolognese sauce, lasagne or moussaka. Spicebar has top-quality essentials such as marjoram, bay leaves, thyme or the all-rounder Italian mixed herbs.
“We have pure oregano with no filler ingredients that some commercial brands contain,” she says.
Spicebar’s vast range of herbs and spices are contained in storage boxes with lids which allows customers to select as much or as little of the ingredient as needed.
“People tell us they love this,” Jueyenne says. “Some people might be experimenting with a dish so only want to try a small amount of a particular spice to see if they like it. Others may live alone and don’t need large amounts of things … we understand that.”