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Herbs, Spices, Spice Mixes, Oils and Vinegars.

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Some of you may be aware I am recently graduated from a culinary school and I am a chef. I enjoy cooking, but I enjoy flavours and spices.


I have been trying to reorganise my spice collection. Yes, I appear to collect spices amongst other things. I think there are only a couple I have yet to use.


Herbs and Spices in my hoard are


Exotic Spices

Allspice, Berries

Allspice, ground

Amchur, Powder (powdered mango)

Anise, Seed, Whole

Anise, Star Whole pod

Arawan, Seed

Cardamon, Green pods

Cardamon, black pods

Clove, Powder

Clove, Whole

Corriander, Seed

Corriander, Powder

Cumin, Seed

Cumin, Powder

Curry, spice mix

Curry, leaves

Fenugreek, Seed

Mace, Powder

Nutmeg, Whole

Nutmeg, Powder

Turmeric, Powder

Vanilla, Whole pods

Saffron, Whole


Cooking Chemicals

Citric Acid


Cream of tartar

Ammonium Bicarbonate


Common Spices

Basil, Leaves

Fennel, Seed

Garlic, powder

Ginger, Powder

Mint, Leaves

Mustard, Powder, yellow

Mustard, Seed, Yellow

Mustard, Seed, Black

Mustard, Seed, Brown

Onion, Powder

Onion, Seed

Oregano, Leaves

Parsley, Leaves

Rosemary, Leaves

Thyme, Leaves


Unusual herbs, Spices

Juniper, berries

Senna, Pods

Sumac, Powder



Pepper, Black, whole

Pepper, Black, ground

Pepper, Mixed, whole

Pepper, White, ground



Salt, Black, Cyprus, flake

Salt, Pink, Himalayan, rock

Salt, White, kosher, flake

Salt, White, table

Salt, White, course sea

Salt, White, Pickling

Salt, Smoky


Hot Peppers and mixes

Birds Eye Peppers, whole, dry

Cayenne Pepper, Ground

Chili, Powder

Chili peppers, flake

Chipotle Pepper, Powder

Ghost peppers, chocolate, whole, dry

Ghost Peppers, red, Whole, dry

Paprika, Spanish, mild

Paprika, smoky, hot

Paprika, smoke, hot

Piri piri Peppers, whole, dry

Trinidad scorpion Peppers, red, whole, dry

Trinidad scorpion peppers, yellow, whole, dry

Variegated fish peppers, whole, dry



Malt Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

White Balsamic Vinegar

Red Balsamic Vinegar

Red Balsam Vinegar, 18 years aged

Red Wine Vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

Rice Vinegar Vinegar

White, Vinegar Vinegar


I have used all the spices except the sumac and senna pods. I frequently use them as part of other spice mixes, I find that mixing my own spices results in recipes that I can control the flavours. I also like to collect spices for different forms of cuisine. I enjoy Indian cuisine and Chinese cuisine, so a lot of my spices can be mixed on the fly. I also make my own curry pastes.


In order to utilise my spices, I have also collected a variety of mortar and pestles. I use them all, depending on what I want.


My knowledge of spices for some reason is greater than my knowledge of herbs. I find spices fascinating and I have whole books dedicated to them.


I am intrigued with salts, and I may end up collecting other salt types. there are many varieties and each have a use, much of it is for presentation. I use kosher salt the most in a pinch pot. It dissolves easily and is pretty much pure.


Recent additions to my collection are the ghost and scorpion peppers. These are not fully dry yet and are hanging off strings in my kitchen. I also have a yellow pepper, but the name eludes me. I grew it in my garden this summer along with the variegated fish pepper. I also enjoy peppers and I have a high heat tolerance. With that said, I would not dare eat a scorpion pepper. I have tasted the juices and they are incredibly powerful!! I have been known to eat whole Habanero peppers.


Spices are a lot of fun. What do you use and why?

Edited by Starscream

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Wow! blink.gif That's a lot of spices. I usually just use salt, pepper, lemon pepper, powdered curry and powdered paprika. There's something called pili-pili powder in my kitchen; it's red and really hot. (I suspect I might have used too much of it xd.png .) Although I really like spices and spicy food.


My mom and dad recently went to Cyprus and brought home some spice mixes. I have no idea what's in them since they're just labeled 'Barbeque' and 'Spice Mix' and the ingredients are all in Greek.


Any tips on how to make normal foods spicier/tastier?

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Pili pili is another term for piri piri, and yes, that stuff is epically hot


Its not hard to add flavours to food. You need to do it bit by bit and build layers of flavour.


By this I mean, during stages of cooking you add in your spices.

Example would be:


"Garlic should be the first thing to add and the last thing to taste"

You add it to the recipe at the start. The oil is hot, you sautee, the Garlic, add in onions, add in whatever else, then depending on your dish, you incorporate the spices. If its Indian cooking, I saute the seeds until they jump, then add in the rest. You build up with flavours using stocks if needed, and finally when you are almost ready to serve THEN you add the salt. (rice and pasta are a bit of an exception) the reason you add salt at the end is if you add too much when you are still simmering it down, you can make the food too salty. You just need to use enough salt to food to make it "POP" in flavour. Food without salt tastes flat and kinda blah. you add enough to make it stand out and it should never taste salty.


But define normal food?


Normal for me is not what the neighbours down the hall are prepairing... and Primus help me, I want to knock on their door and say A: can I have dinner? or B: teach me your recipes.


The best bet is to find what ingredients pair best with your food. They usually say if it grows together, it goes together. With chicken, ingredients like thyme, sage, cranberries. Duck, Orange, rosemary. Venison, juniper berries.


typically though if I want to make a recipe, I research the recipe and find out what is common between them and the amounts. Books like my spices one tells me about culinary uses, medicinal uses, history or what products is usually seen.


Quite often I use my ingredients medicinally.

Fenugreek for example, I use when I get a cold, along with honey and lemon

This week I have been drinking an infusion of honey, lemon and ginger because I was feeling nauseated - worked a charm (for me).


Basically if you want normal food to have an indian flare:

Cumin, corriander, cardamon, clove, tumeric and whole black pepper.

Curry Powder is probably a mix of most of those and may contain curry leaves

but curry is a general term and can be like garam masala, tikka masala and whatnot.


If you are looking for asian flare (very general term for Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Korean, Thai,

Ingredients like hot peppers (birds eyes or cayenne) lemon grass, star anise, ginger and garlic. Some my include coconut milk (I make mine by using hot water and unsweetened coconut then blending it and straining it).


French flare uses mostly herbs such as thyme, parsley, rosemary, rich sauces made from beef, veal, lamb, chicken or fish stocks. Flavoured with onions, carrots and celery (mirepoix).


I think you might be able to find more on how to flavour food by googling flavour foundations.


As for Spicer (if you mean heat) I found something about hot peppers the hard way.


Hot peppers often have a pleasant flavour. Seeds of hot peppers lend a bitterness. Seeds and the white pith of peppers is where the primary heat is. If you want a lot of hot pepper flavour but not the heat. use the flesh and remove the pith and seeds. If you want more heat, leave in the pith. But never overuse the seeds because that can make it unpleasant. I found this when I wanted super hot salsa and it had a bitter after taste.


To scribe what I mean about the hot peppers having flavour. Habaneros whole, are an amazingly sweet pepper. they taste great and add a wonderful flavour to the dish. It's that 30 second delay between tasting it and it punching you from the inside of your skull saying. "I'm hot!" They have a lot of flesh compared to seed.

I find Thai peppers more bitter and less flavourful, but they have more seed to flesh.


When my team mate was designing a hot sauce from trinidad, she came to me to get help taste wise because I can taste beyond the heat. her initial batch was bitter. reason: seeds. I told her to add more peppers, no seeds to fix the flavour. the result: great hot pepper sauce <3


Anyway, I wrote a novel.

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Niiiiiice... probably gonna write a novel right back at ya. I love cooking even if I don't do that a lot.


You actually inspired me to make an actual thing of potatoes, mushrooms, chicken and tomato sauce today. I'm usually really lazy and just plain forget to feed myself. A promise of a tasty meal motivates me to cook. xd.png


I'm also a great fan of overflavoring things. When I cook, I usually cook for a hungry family of five and now I cook just for myself and I have no idea how much I should add things. wink.gif


I define normal food as something that one gets from a grocery store and makes every day - boiled potatoes, fried meats, pasta etc. Delicious when you're hungry but not something you remember for a long time.


There isn't really much of a food culture where I live. Although I don't know where you live either, my default gues for everyone on the internet is US.

I live in a colder climate, the cultural background is different, the spices have to be shipped over long distances, making them expensive, the people aren't really used to hot flavors...and I don't actually know how to cook. Although I've managed to fool people into thinking that I can; I just put the ingredients in, using common sense and a little knowledge my mom has managed to pass onto me. I mean, I just recently managed to permanently remember the recipe for pancakes.


Anyway, do you have any suggestions on how to make lamb delicious and get rid of that woolly taste, using anything other than rosemary?

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Well, I dunno if this is weird or not, but my mom used to make lamb chops in the oven (roasted) with thyme, and a few peeled potatoes on the side, also roasting along with the lamb. It was super delicious! Although...I've never tasted a 'wooly' taste from lamb. And she used a ton of thyme, by the way. So don't be stingy with it! haha

Edited by King_Max_Cat

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I live in canada. We are very multi-cultural here. Although, interestingly, true canadian cuisine is difficult to pinpoint.


As for lamb - I like mint sauce with it. Although I technically dislike mint.

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Hmm, mint. That should be interesting. My mom has been favoring mustard and honey lately but I don't like the sweet taste with meat.


What kind of mint? Fresh, dried? Peppermint? Because that's the only thing we have in our overgrown, fully out of control garden. Weed it out all you want, it's just going to grow back.




It's nearly winter, there isn't any mint left anymore. dry.gif I forgot.

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I guess peppermint, fresh, minced with malt vinegar and a bit of sugar. Is what we normally do.

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About the only ones I use are salt and black pepper (I'm very ashamed).

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I have to have garlic and extra virgin olive oil as my base, and then hope I have not ran out of fresh spices. (I know everyone puts mint on lamb, but I dislike it.) Not saying the majority is wrong just does not work for me.

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Nothing to be ashamed of for being a salt and pepper person. Those seasonings do really bring out the natural flavours.

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i haver used homemade willow powder....very bitter

A canadian....Have you had maple sugar?

Edited by LeviathinGeneral

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My family used to make maple syrup when I was a very young child. We have had maple sugar, Maple candy, maple syrup. I only use maple syrup on pancakes. I do not have maple sugar on hand, but I could obtain it. I do have jaggery and palm sugar

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Besides sea salt and pepper I mostly use/need chilli and paprika, curry, cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon.


Herbs I always have in stock (fresh, dried or frozen): chives, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, lovage, peppermint, sage.

Sometimes I use chervil and coriander.


I have a friend, who mixes and sells his own spice mixtures. They are very high quality and unique. I especially like his tea spices (for chai latte) and the berbere goes well with red meat (I used it recently in a game stew. Delicious! biggrin.gif)


I also need a lot of soy sauce, wasabi, tabasco and harissa, but the latter is hardly found here in good quality. sad.gif


I generally use olive oil for cooking, sometimes butter. And of course original Styrian pumpkin seed oil, but that´s not for cooking, just for salads.... it tastes great on vanilla ice cream, too. biggrin.gif


Vinegars: mostly apple vinegar, sometimes rice vinegar.



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Peppers. I grow them in my little garden out back. I love peppers and I grow all sorts of them. I'm not talking about bell peppers, just the spicy ones.

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We keep a collection of spices from all around the world, honestly some I am still learning what they are and how to use, we have a lot of fun cooking in our house, pickles and canning various things too. Some nights I sort of get bored and start smelling some of her spices and throw them in with what I am cooking haha, hey if it smells good why not? She comes home from school tastes it raises an eyebrow, usually she will grab something else and toss it in and we will giggle cuz it tastes so good.


This is not an herb or spice but I must say I am loving burger wheat and beluga lentals!


Experimenting is just fun. We have juniper berries, not sure what they are for, waiting to see what we are going to be doing with them. The Indian spices now those have been quite interesting. Curry is something that I have gotten pretty confident in cooking with now smile.gif

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My family used to make maple syrup when I was a very young child. We have had maple sugar, Maple candy, maple syrup. I only use maple syrup on pancakes. I do not have maple sugar on hand, but I could obtain it. I do have jaggery and palm sugar

Yeah we use jaggery as well. Tea and it mix really well.

how about ground lemon powder? Apple bits?

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I have not obtained lemon powder, but I am going to hazard a guess it's dried lemon zest powdered, which I could make myself. Is this in tea? I have a tea with apple in it. It's quite pleasant on a stressfilled night.

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The most important spices in my kitchen, the ones I can't live without are


sweet Hungarian paprika

hot Hungarian paprika

smoked paprika

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I know and use sweet and hot paprika, but I never heard of smoked paprika. Where can I get it?

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My pot of smoked paprika is La Chinata found on www.lachinata.com you may find it in speciality stores. I am not sure where mine came from as it was a gift to me from my mother.

Edited by Starscream

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We find many smoked paprika types and other spices and herbs at Winco and Hucklleberries if you have those types of markets.

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Also you can find smoked paprika at the big box stores like Costco and ethnic markets.

if you like the sweet and the hot,I'm sure you will enjoy the smoked also.

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I found this little spice quize on facebook. Thought I would share it this with you. Can you identify all 11? To me at least it's pretty easy, but as I stated, I have a sort of weird love of the spices. I got all 11. Quiz.


Please, whatever you do, don't spam "I got 3" or "I got 11" we could discuss the spices.




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So.. sneezing my brains out... why? 2am I decide - lets make taco seasoning... sure enough mix mix mix, double the recipe and grin. taco seasoning made.


But then I look and think... chili powder - what if I make my own?


So I look up a recipe. I find I have only one type of the three dried peppers - but when does not having ingredients stop me. I have other dried peppers, which names I forget, and I seed them, roast them - oh dried habanero? why not.. oh and piri piri peppers? toss in a few of those, along with some other hotties...


Fumes in my kitchen go from sane, to insane - sneezes happens, runny nose, dry roasting the peppers and cumin in my cast iron skillet, I then cool them, mix in garlic, oregano and smoked paprika (and a touch of chipotely pepper powder - I mean its not like its hot already) and a bit of spanish paprika (for colour) grind grind grind - disturbing my poor husband's sleep and now, I have a bag of home made chili powder... muahahahah I need to make a chili.


my eyes are itching...


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