Spice Alchemy — Neil Cowling

Spice Alchemy -- Neil CowlingIf you like food with flavour then this is a great book.

If you have high blood pressure and want to get rid of salt out of your diet, then use spices and herbs to replace it — this is the book to show you how.

No, i’ve no idea how authentic the spice mixes and recipes are, but to be honest, they’re all really nice so i don’t actually care if my cajun spiced high carb salad dressing is authentic or not, it’s delicious and that’s all i wanted from this book.

The book has lists of various spice recipes from around the world, and also complete recipes in which to use those mixes, if you chose to.   Personally, i just take the spice mixes and make my own things with them as i’m vegan.

My only complaint is that the spice mixes are listed in tsp and tbsp, some ingredients are listed as pre-ground, others are whole, so it all gets confusing in that regard.   I found i had to go to Cronometer and use their “Add food” thing with what was stated in the spice mix ingredients and then change the output to grams to get the exact weight.   That way i could use whole coriander seeds by weight to the same amount of ground coriander by tsp that was listed in the recipe. But if you’re happy using the pre-ground spices then all that won’t be a problem.

But, if you’re going to all this trouble of making your own spice mixes then do yourself a favour and buy whole spices with as far away a ‘sell by’ date on them as you can find in the shops to make sure they’re as fresh as possible — you can even splash out and get organic ones.   You’ll notice a huge difference.   Pre-ground spices are stale by nature as once you grind a spice it starts to degrade rapidly, with fats oxidising and going rancid and essential oils evaporated away.   Most whole spices, that you grind fresh each time to the exact amount you need, are living seeds that you should be able to plant and grow — they’re very fresh!!!   If you do want to get into the weighing whole spice thing then you’ll also need a micro scale (ebay) that weighs to 0.1 grams or finer — well worth a few pounds if you want to make some seriously consistent spice mixes that are repeatable.

That all said, even if you do just want to use tsp and tbsp with pre-ground spices, this book is very much worth the 99p to begin your journey into mixing spices and having some real flavour and health in your food instead of just salt and high blood pressure.

Neil’s Page

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