Hello everyone! I got back from Thailand at the beginning of the week (a wonderful trip, just relaxing on sun-kissed beaches in between eating amazing food!) feeling energized and ready to begin the new spice year in earnest. After the madness that was Christmas it’s been nice to get back working at my regular rhythm, and to concentrate on blending again rather than just keeping the shelves in the shops full of goodies for you. 2017 was a tremendous year for Spice Mountain, and the whole operation seems bigger now what with the shop in Westfield Stratford opening and the online shop getting busier all the time – thanks to everyone who explored Spice Mountain, by the way, both old customers and new. I’ll be doing my best to keep creating reasons for you to return! This month’s feature looks at what people in Southeast Asia begin the day with – breakfast is an important meal in that part of the world, and can be much different to what we enjoy in the West. Our recipes include a couple of Thai classics, plus a hearty, warming soup, and our spice of the month is our popular Tom Yum soup blend, which brings together the main players in Thai cuisine together so effectively. Have a good month, and see you next time! Magali Spice of the Month Tom Yum Soup Blend Tom Yum soup is one of the definitive flavours of Thailand. Hot with chilli, citrussy with lemon grass, galangal and lime leaf, somehow refreshing on top of the spiciness. Our handmade tom yum blend combines all these traditional spices with more to make tom yum soup the easy way! Simply add a few teaspoons to simmering stock, along with some torn sweet basil leaves, then add prawns for a real taste of Thailand. The blend can also be used as an all-purpose Thai seasoning, in stir-fries and especially in salad dressings. It works really well in anything including tomatoes, and using coconut milk rather than stock gives the blend a completely different profile. A really versatile blend all in all which is essential to have handy for a quick blast of far eastern flavour in your cooking. Buy on Spice Mountain January Recipes Carrot and Papaya Salad This is a deceptively simple Thai classic, the small amount of ingredients meaning they all stand out and balance each other. Read Recipe Sea Bass baked with Thai Holy Trinity Another very easy Thai dish, this uses the Thai holy trinity of flavours – lemon grass, galangal and kaffir lime leaf Read Recipe Scotch Broth As a balance to all the Southeast Asian delights this month, how about this robust, old school soup from Scotland and the north of England? Read Recipe This Month’s Feature – Rise and Shine! At Spice Mountain we love our breakfast, and one of our favourite things about travelling is to see what treats other people enjoy to start off the day! On our recent trip to Southeast Asia we were delighted to see so many tasty brekkie options, from savoury to sweet and for appetites large and small. Rice, noodles and breads all feature, and of course there is a healthy splash of spice in many. Here we take a look at our favourites from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore – all of which make a refreshing change from bacon and egg for a weekend breakfast treat. Teh Tarik We start our look at breakfast with possibly the ultimate cup of tea – teh tarik is commonplace in Malaysia and Singapore, and is their version of the Indian chai, missing out the masala (spice element). Teh tarik is always strong, sweet and milky, and gives a real boost to energy at the beginning of the day. Roti Canai This is a simple breakfast dish, originally from India but happily adopted by Malays and Singaporeans. A freshly cooked, flaky roti (or paratha), often with an egg added, is served alongside a small bowl of lightly spiced vegetable or lentil gravy, for dipping. And all washed down with teh tarik, of course! Dim Sum The classic Chinese breakfast, a selection of dumplings and little bites to be shared and enjoyed at leisure, washed down with a pot of Chinese tea. In Singapore taking the family for a dim sum brunch on a Sunday is very popular, and in Malaysia and Thailand, food stalls offer dim sum to be enjoyed on the move – the roast pork bun (char siu bao) being particularly popular. Wonton Mee Noodles of course are popular all over Asia as a breakfast, this version especially so. Simple egg noodles in an aromatic broth, with a few juicy wonton thrown in, light and tasty. Often the noodles are fried dry with soy sauce and a little char siu, and the wonton soup is served on the side, with some salty chilli sauce to add if you choose. Rice Porridge Variations of the Chinese congee are enjoyed across Southeast Asia – in Thailand it is known as Joke, served piping hot with an egg, some meatballs and a little liver, and it is one of the most popular dishes. In Singapore frog leg porridge is common, and most food courts will have a stand offering it. Nasi Lemak Perhaps the most popular Malay breakfast is Nasi Lemak, a simple dish of coconut rice with anchovies, sambal, peanuts and egg, often served wrapped up in a banana leaf for takeaway. In Singapore a piece of chicken is often included too, and the dish is enjoyed at lunchtime as well as breakfast. Moo Ping Found on many Thai street corners are the Moo Ping sellers, carts offering freshly barbecued skewers of pork. A more basic version of the Malay satay, these skewers are often served with a little sticky rice, and the two work really well together for a light breakfast on the move. Half-boiled Egg/Kaya Toast This is the definitive Singapore breakfast enjoyed in coffee shops rather than on food courts, and one that is not a million miles away from Western egg on toast. The eggs however are served half-boiled, then cracked into a dish and garnished with a sprinkle of soy sauce. The toast is served alongside, white sliced bread spread with kaya (a jam/curd made with coconut, sugar and egg) which can be dipped in the eggs for a unique sweet/savoury experience. Curry Puff A great hangover breakfast, the Curry Puff is a Singapore staple. Slightly sweet shortcrust pastry stuffed with chicken and potato curry (or often sardine curry), just the right size to be enough and not too much, and the perfect way to settle the stomach after a few too many Tigers the previous evening! Fruit Salad The dazzling array of fresh fruit on offer in Southeast Asia is mouth-watering. Fruits of all colours, from mango to pineapple to jackfruit to lychee, arranged over ice to be eaten in excess! Also don’t forget delights such as fresh coconut water straight from the nut, and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. Getting your five a day is never a problem, with so many delicious fruits to choose from. A Match Made In Heaven In which we take a monthly look at which spices, herbs and blends match best with the fruit and vegetables in season. Cauliflower – the earthy flavour of cauliflower seems to match well with many things, but aromatic spices such as coriander, cumin and turmeric work wonderfully, Garlic is a natural partner too. Leek – As an allium leek has a distinct if mild onion flavour, so it needs quite a powerful spice to hold up to it – black pepper, mustard seed and cumin seed all work well, and if cheese or cream are added to the mix, nutmeg is essential. Purple Sprouting Broccoli – One of our favourite Winter vegetables, and we love to prepare it with a sprinkle of our Arrabbiatta blend, the garlic and chilli really lift the broccoli’s earthy flavour. Our Pyramid salts also go well, particularly the lemon variety. Kale – Another deep green and earthy vegetable, kale is popular now in smoothies. Cooked, it goes well with punchy spices like smoked paprika, and also with anything garlic-centric. Rhubarb – One of the greatest matches around is rhubarb and vanilla, the two just complement each other so well! The tartness of the rhubarb is more than matched by the intense vanilla sweetness for a perfect balance. Rhubarb also matches well with dried ginger.