Spices: A Note on Saffron

Saffron is formed from the whole, orange-red dried saffron threads, the stigma of the autumn crocus, crocus sativus.

Spices: Kencur | Lesser Galangal

This is sometimes called lesser galangal or lesser ginger, but this is not quite correct as it is a different plant to galangal and ginger.

Herbs: Limes and Kaffir Limes

Lime juice is somewhat more “green” in taste than the lemon, and can be used interchangeably in most dishes. I prefer limes over lemons in most recipes, except desserts.

Herbs: Lemongrass

Lemongrass is really a variety of hard grass, but is used as a herb for its refreshing lemon-minty flavour.

Spices: Kalonji | Nigella Seed | Charnushka

There is a lot of confusion about the name of this spice. It is variously referred to as black cumin (shar, or kala jeera), black caraway because of its usage with caraway seed in Jewish rye breads, and black onion seeds due to its similarity to onion seed.

Spices: Ginger Root

Ginger is an erect plant with thickened, fleshy and aromatic rhizomes. Used in different forms as a food, flavouring and spice, it is related to tumeric and galangal, and is one of the most ancient culinary and medicinal spices around.

Spices: Galangal | Greater Galangal | Thai Ginger

Galangal is an erect annual plant with aromatic, ginger-like rhizomes and is a staple of SE Asian cooking as a flavouring. Sometimes called Laos, or Blue Ginger, it is a member of the ginger family.

Spices: Chinese Five Spice Powder

All over China, five spice powder is known and valued. It is an aromatic, intense and tantalising spice of various recipes that has been used in China since ancient times.

Spices: Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds look a bit like cumin seeds (or vise versa), but are plumper and greener. Their flavour is anise-like.

Spices: About Cloves

This is the small, brown, nail-shaped spice, once found only in the islands of the Moluccas, east of Bali.

Spices: All about Chillies and Chilli Types

Chillies are a common ingredient in many cuisines. There are many different species, all containing capsaicin, a biologically active ingredient beneficial to the respiratory system, blood pressure and heart. Did you know there are more than 300 varieties of chilli?