Do you use spices often? You should! They should not be used for special occasions, class them as seasoning or flavour enhancers. Open your spice cupboard and start using them daily in food or drinks.
To most of us, seasoning means using salt and pepper but it can be much more! Some other simple seasonings most of us have in the store cupboard are vinegar, oil or mustard. There are many more that are easy to come by and store really well.
Look out for Chilli, cumin, coriander, turmeric – they are the main spices used in your basic curry and also dishes such as chilli con carne. Creating depths of flavour and fragrance to your food can be easily achieved once you can balance out the spices so that one does not overpower the others.
Some spices remind us of certain things, a great example is cinnamon and clove for Christmas. Others might remind us of a country we have visited or a restaurant we have enjoyed, lets think about Indian food and chillies or Thai with lemon grass. A great Mexican breakfast drink is chilli hot chocolate, certainly wakes you up!
Cardamoms, ginger, cloves and cinnamon are perfect examples of dual use spices for both savoury and sweet dishes, even the good old salt can and is used in both.
There are no rules on where and when to use your spices, adding small quantites to start with until you find your feet. Tasting as you go will pay off as you can always increase the spice to suit your taste.
There is no wrong way to use spices, balance is probably the most important thing to learn, to use spices often will certainly help with this, generally if you can taste one spice above all, there’s too much.
Dried spices are a great way to give you the chance to create your own twist on some of the most basic dishes, so open up that cupboard and give them a chance to shine