So it seems Spring has finally sprung! It always makes such a difference once the clocks have gone forward, the world just seems a brighter place, and combined with some decent weather – well, everyone’s a winner!
It’s been quite a smooth time in the world of spice, just keeping on top of things and making sure the Borough market shop is all stocked up with goodies. If you’ve been down to Borough you may have seen a bit more of my good self over the last few weeks, and I’ve really enjoyed getting back to what I used to do most of the time. After all, it’s all about keeping the customer happy for me, and meeting and chatting to you is one of my favourite things about what I do.
Spice of the month for March is one of my favourites from all of our many curry blends, a fiery red blend from Pakistan. The recipes seem to have a distinct hint of Frenchness about them – a lovely roast lamb, a classic steak with an exotic Spice Mountain twist, and a vegetarian treat which can go with both or be enjoyed by itself.
Hope you enjoy this instalment, and see you again when Summer will be just around the corner!

Spice of the Month

Karachi Curry Blend

This deep red, fiery curry blend is typical of the Sindh region of Pakistan (Karachi is the region’s capital), and it is one of our favourite curries. Based on ground Kashmiri red chilli, balanced with mustard oil and fenugreek leaves, it has a great depth of flavour and is perfect for use both as a marinade and as a curry base. It makes a great all-purpose curry, especially for those who like their curries with a proper chilli kick!
For perfect Pakistani-style lamb chops, blend a couple of teaspoons of Karachi spice with yoghurt and lemon juice, then marinate. Then cook on a hot grill or in an equally hot oven.
Or to use as a curry base, add three teaspoons – a little more if you like it really hot, a little less if not – to fried onions, garlic, ginger and tomato, then your choice of meat. For vegetarians, this method works brilliantly with chickpeas, and also aubergine.

Also Karachi spice is really good when a little is used to boost the flavour of gravy, stews and even baked beans!

Recipes

Lamb Boulangere

This lovely recipe is French, although similar methods are used with meat in Italy, Greece and Spain.

Read Recipe

Steak au Poivre rouge Kampot

We came up with this recipe after our trip to Cambodia last year. The quality of the Kampot pepper we found there was so good, we just knew it would be amazing in an old fashioned pepper sauce for steak.

Read Recipe

Tian Provencal

This recipe is taken from a Paris restaurant where a friend used to work, and is a lovely ‘haute cuisine’ take on the much more workaday ratatouille enjoyed allover France.

Read Recipe

This Month’s Feature –
No Jacket Required

Since the 4th Earl of Sandwich ordered his valet to put a bit of meat between two slices of bread 300 years ago, the sandwich has become maybe the most popular convenience food in the world. Especially once one adds the likes of kebabs and burritos to the mix, the variety involved in the world of the sandwich is genuinely astonishing. It would be a pointless task to attempt to look at sandwiches comprehensively in a couple of hundred words, so here we are just intending to show how to give the Spice Mountain touch to some popular favourites, all of which are perfect for popping into that packed lunch. It’s easy to bring a touch of the exotic to some seemingly run-of-the-mill butties, making your lunch hour just that little bit more interesting! We include a couple of wraps for the healthier-minded, otherwise we suggest the bread we prefer, but obviously feel free to use whichever kind you choose.

Egg Mayonnaise – Nothing quite lifts an egg mayonnaise like a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper flakes, the sweetish flavour of the pepper contrasting so well with the creamy egginess everyone loves in this filling. Use a good quality granary bap, and add a few thin slices of cucumber for the egg mayo to lie on.

Cream Cheese – There are all sorts of ways to perk up cream cheese, but here’s one you may not have come across – our Champignon crumbs. The umami hit of the mushroom matches so well with the subtle tang of the cream cheese, and makes this one a winner every time. Of course crunchy lettuce leaves will make this sandwich even better, and we like to use a nice thinly sliced sourdough fror this one. Also of course this is always good in a bagel.

BLT – The classic triple decker is usually made with toasted white bread, but try using good granary as it comes instead for a little twist – we find the brown bread really works. As for adding a touch of spice, not much is needed for this one. However try blending a little of our Red Onion powder with the mayonnaise to give a little zing

Mexican Chicken – The first wrap in our little collection. Use chopped grilled chicken (or leftover roast chicken), and mix with a spoonful of tinned tomatoes. Spice this mixture up with a couple of teaspoons of our Mexican Holy Trinity blend, and the smokiness of the chipotle takes the whole thing up to the next level. Also add a teaspoon of coriander leaf to add to the smokiness and give some herb freshness.

Cheese & Tomato – We’re always reluctant to mess with a good cheese sarnie (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!), but we’ve also found a good grind of black pepper brings out the flavour of the tomatoes. For a twist, use our black Kampot peppercorns, which have a subtle yet telling heat which will make this stand out from the crowd.

Tuna – There are an awful lot of ways to skin this particular cat, but here’s how to send it into the stratosphere! Blend the tuna with lemon juice, plus some Tomato powder, some Red Bell Pepper powder and finally some Chervil or Dill weed. No mayonnaise is necessary for this one, and it works so well in a big, fat crusty baguette. A few sliced tomatoes will do no harm at all.

Pastrami – Cured meats don’t get much better than pastrami, and once combined with the classic dill pickle and mustard we’re definitely home and dried. Try making your own very basic mustard for this by crushing brown mustard seeds with a drizzle of olive oil, the same of white wine vinegar and finally just a little mayonnaise for creaminess. Of course, good rye sourdough is the only contender when it comes to the bread.

Pao Bhaji – the classic Indian pao bhaji is a little impractical for the office, so here’s how to do it at home. Roughly mash some potatoes, then season with our delicious pav bhaji blend plus a few brown mustard seeds and some coriander leaf. Then make a wrap with either a wholewheat tortilla or a chapatti. Add a splash of natural yoghurt for some moisture if you like, and a few crunchy sweet onion rings also work really well.

Roast Beef – If there’s some of that Sunday roast left over, you’ve got a great buttie waiting for you. To make the perfect dressing for the sandwich, mix some of our Horseradish powder with mayonnaise to give a spicy kick. We particularly like this in a plain old school white bap, with plenty of sliced red onions for a tangy crunch.

Smoked Salmon – In these times when all things Scandi are so popular in London, you can make your own ‘gravadlax’ for your lunchbox. The night before you make your sandwiches, simply marinate the salmon in lemon juice, dill and black pepper. The flavour will intensify overnight, and instead of using butter in the sandwich, spread the bread with a little crème fraiche to give a lovely creamy contrast. We like this one in ciabatta, but of course rye bread works perfectly too.

SPICE MOUNTAIN A-Z

C

Cambodia – Home of the amazing Kampot pepper, and one of the best countries we have visited in recent years

China – The vast country which boasts some of the finest cooking around, in so many shapes and forms it truly makes the mind boggle.

Cochin – A city in Kerala which due to the many nations which colonised it is a true melting pot of flavour and spice, but still absolutely Indian.

D

Dhaka – Capital city of Bangladesh, the country of origin of a great many Indian restaurants in the UK.

Dundee – Scottish city which is home to the famous fruit cake, which always includes a good shake of mixed spice to lift it.

Dixieland – America’s Deep South, and where all that Cajun and Creole food everyone loves comes from. And jazz, of course!

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