Hi everyone! So, that exciting news I’ve been promising you for the last few months can now be revealed – Spice Mountain is now open at Westfield Stratford City! We can be found in the Great Eastern Market, and are open seven days a week. The shop has been open for a week now and I’ve been pleased by how many people are dropping in for a look. We have had a few people asking if this move affects our Borough Market shop – the answer being, no not at all! While it is always good to expand our operations, the Borough shop is still very much home and will always be the heartbeat of Spice Mountain. So I look forward to seeing you at both shops!! And do spread the word for us, please.

This month’s feature is on the tomato, in season now and stacked high in all the shops, so we are giving you a few ideas on how to make the most of the glut of tomatoes available, and which spices match best with them. Our recipes include a lovely tomato tart, along with a way to make pickled cherries (the other thing in season at the moment which we love) which will keep the flavour of summer in your larder all year round. And spice of the month is Smoked Green Jalapeno Flakes, which we have totally fallen in love with recently – try them and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about!

Well that’s all for now, catch up again soon!

Magali

Spice of the Month

Smoked Green Jalapeno Flakes

The Jalapeno chilli is one of the most widely used in the world, and is particularly well known for its essential role in many Mexican dishes. It is also extremely common in Indian food, where it is known as the bullet chilli. Our smoked green jalapeno flakes offer a new way to enjoy this chilli, adding a little bit of smokiness to the distinctive flavour it has.
The jalapeno has a fresh, grassy flavour with plenty of heat, and a lovely balance between the two. While the flakes are not quite as hot as fresh, they still pack a punch! Blended with other chillies and cumin for a seasoning mix, it will give life and zest to your dish, and it is especially good when used in a salsa verde, or (with caution) in guacamole. Also it has a great affinity with pork – try making chilli con carne with pork, lots of fresh coriander and jalapeno powder and you will get a deliciously authentic Mexican experience.
Also remember the jalapeno’s place in Indian food – the flakes in particular are really good when added to curry powders, giving your dish extra freshness and heat, and working especially well with veggies.
Another food this chilli works really well with is cream cheese, but in this case remember a little goes a long way.. just try a sprinkle on your sandwich or in a dip, it will bring it to life!
As well as the smoked flakes, we also stock a lovely green jalapeno powder which will do a slightly different job, with a deeper heat and colour – why not try using the two together for the ultimate jalapeno kick!?

July Recipes

Cherry Tomato Tart

This recipe stars the wonderful tomato, discussed at more length in this month’s feature.

Read Recipe

Samosa Chaat

There are many deliciously addictive Indian streetfood stars around, but this lovely dish must be near the top of the list!

Read Recipe

Pickled Cherries

The cherry is very much in season at the moment, and we love just to grab a bag and eat them wherever we happen to be.

Read Recipe 

This Month’s Feature –
The Tomato

Along with the onion and the potato, the tomato is among the most ubiquitous of vegetables (yes, yes – we know technically it’s a fruit!!). Its bright red colour and sweet, acidic and unique flavour permeate the cuisine of most places, down to the level of that bottle of ketchup sitting on the table. It appears in myriad forms – fresh, dried, pureed, powdered, pickled, pulped – and is often there even when you don’t realise it. Tomatoes, especially fresh ones in season, are incredibly good for you, packed with lycopene (the substance which brings that bright red colour) and vitamins, making them a genuine feel-good food. And of course tomatoes and spices match wonderfully, the strong flavour of the tomato holding up against even fiery spices to bring a wonderful balance. Here we feature some of our favourite tomato-orientated Spice Mountain blends and seasonings, with which you can get the flavour of summer into so many of your favourite dishes, and also some single spices with which tomatoes make the perfect marriage.

Tomato Basil and Olive Salt – This seasoning salt packs in all the flavours of the Mediterranean, making it perfect for cooking simple dishes such as roasted meats and fish. It can also be used as a table condiment, and for something a little different, try using it to make a seasoned butter which will be lovely used to dress fresh pasta.

Berbere – This Ethiopian blend is the basis of the national dish there,wat, a highly spiced stew typically accompanied by the sour bread injera. However used in moderation it is a great way to give some body and heat to tomato sauces, and it also works very well withgame due to the aromatics included in the blend.

Jalfrezi curry – One of our favourite curries, jalfrezi relies on tomato to give depth, sweetness and body to the sweet and sour heat the curry must have. The curry can be made with pretty much anything, but works so well with fat juicy prawns, and also vegetables. Thinking outside the box, as it were, it also works wonders when a spoonful is stirred into your baked beans!

Patatas Bravas – It would not be a lie to say that Spanish food pretty much revolves around the tomato. So many Spanish favourites include it, from a basic breakfast pan de tomate to patatas bravas. We include tomato in our patatas bravas blend to give that extra tomato hit, and it can be used as an all-purpose seasoning in Spanish cooking. And again, a good one to add an international note to your beans on toast.

Mediterranean Bruschetta – Garlic bread. Few can resist this treasure, the aroma mouth-watering, the flavour even more so. But it can be improved, by turning it into bruschetta! Add to the garlic the wonders of tomato, peppers and woody herbs, and everyone’s a winner. Having some of this blend in the pantry means this heavenly experience can always be yours.

Basil – Possibly the tomato’s perfect partner, the grassy, aniseed flavour of basil totally lifts and fills out the flavour of the tomato. While it has to be acknowledged that fresh basil is best on fresh tomatoes, when cooking the dried basil does a different job, becoming an integral part of the dish. Dried basil can overpower a dish, so use with moderation.

Ajowan – Also known as lovage seed and King’s cumin, ajowan is a seed used in Indian cooking. It has a sweet and aromatic flavour, and although subtle, it can stand up well to tomatoes. A favourite Indian recipe bakes tomatoes seasoned with ajowan in their own juices and a bit of ghee, simple but stunning. A sprinkle of ajowan in any tomato based curry will do no harm at all.

Thyme – Like basil, it is the opposites in thyme which attract it to the tomato. Woody, earthy and aromatic, thyme tastes of Mediterranean hillsides and pairs brilliantly with tomatoes, giving them perfect balance and perfume. Use thyme in any dish which includes tomato, and try a sprinkle on pizza instead of basil for a change.

Methi (Fenugreek) Leaf – Methi leaf has a musty, tropical character, especially when dried, and it is another herb with which the tomato gets on very well. The classic Indian dish using it is methi gosht, a slow cooked lamb dish which is typically packed with tomatoes. In this case it is more the tomatoes balancing the methi, really, the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes calming down the bolder methi.

Intense Balsamic Powder – We all know how well balsamic vinegar goes with tomatoes, and this intense balsamic powder does exactly the same job, just with a bit more oomph! Use as you would the vinegar, simply sprinkling some of the powder over thickly sliced tomato with a dribble of olive oil and a grind of salt and pepper. Balsamic powder is very intense, so a little goes a long way.

Tomato Powder – We couldn’t really go tomato crazy without mentioning our beautiful tomato powder, 100% dried Spanish tomatoes with all the flavour and colour that implies! Use as you would use tomato puree, or simply to boost soups, stews and gravies, and also curries. This has become a definite store cupboard staple.

Spice Mountain A-Z

K

Kerala – India’s southern sunshine state, and source of much of the world’s best pepper alongside many other spices.

Kowloon – area of Hong Kong, which metre for metre has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants anywhere.

Kenya – East African country where the food is usually spicy, and source of some of the world’s best coffee and tea.

L

London – One of the world’s most vibrant and multicultural cities, known for food from all over the world and of course the home of Spice Mountain.

Laos – Southeast Asian country which was under the control of France in days gone by, meaning Laotian food has many French influences.

Louisiana – Southern state of the USA which is the home of Cajun and Creole cooking, one of the most popular styles nowadays.