Let’s get spicy … seven spices to warm your winter
Is there anything better in the cold Tassie winter than hunkering down at home in front of the fire with a delicious meal or a hot drink? As we head into the depths of winter we’re sharing seven warming spices that can help beat the winter chill.
There’s so much we love about ginger, not the least of which is its versatility. It works in both sweet and savoury dishes and it can be fiery or soothing. It is available in many forms including fresh, ground, pickled and crystallised. Add some ginger to overnight oats for a deliciously aromatic start to the day, incorporate it into stir-fries for dinner and don’t forget all the fabulous baked treats you can make using ginger, including of course, gingerbread. You can also use ginger in drinks, think tea, ginger beer and dry ginger ale. Ginger is known for its ability to ease nausea and gastrointestinal problems.
Known for the vibrant yellow colour that it adds to dishes, turmeric is a natural addition to curries and soups. Add it to mustards and relishes where its notes of orange, ginger and capsicum will shine. The roots or rhizomes of turmeric are sued both fresh and dried in cuisines around the world. Turmeric has a soft peppercorn type of heat so a little goes a long way. Turmeric is also highly valued for its anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s a great addition to your diet. Try a turmeric latte or tea, or make a smoothie with turmeric, pineapple, banana and mango.
Frequently used in baking and sweet dishes, cinnamon also works well in savoury dishes where it brings a subtle sweet warmth. Add to chilli con carne to balance the heat of the dish, or use it in marinades. Of course winter is a great time for comfort food like puddings and baked treats and this is where cinnamon really shines.
Warm up your life with the delightfully fragrant cardamom. This spice that is widely used in Indian cooking has subtle citrus notes that lend a lovely flavour to rice, desserts and curries.
Hot and spicy cayenne pepper is an integral ingredient to give a kick to sauces, chilli and rubs. Use it to add some zing to soup, curries, Mexican dishes.
6. Star Anise
Used in both sweet and savoury dishes, star anise is easily recognised by its unique eight-pointed star shape. It is popular in Asian cuisine and is a key ingredient of Chinese five-spice powder. As its name suggests it has a strong aniseed flavour that makes it a welcome addition to dishes such as sticky pork belly.
Cloves are often associated with Christmas, think festive hams studded with cloves but they are a lovely spice all year round. They will add a lovely flavour to spiced drinks, such as mulled wine or chai tea and work beautifully in desserts and puddings.