It’s nearly here! On Wednesday evening the lights will be switched on at Borough Market, and for me that means it’s officially Christmas! Of course I have been busy already, making sure that both the Borough and Stratford shops are full of festive cheer, and I can safely say that they are – everything is in place to give this Christmas the Spice Mountain touch. This month’s newsletter therefore is extremely Christmas-centric – our feature looks at what Spice Mountain can offer in the way of awesome presents and super stocking fillers for foodies and civilians alike. Our recipes include a timelessly wonderful piccalilli, a deliciously different dessert idea from Down Under (I do like a taste of home at Christmas!) and a lovely way to use up the leftover turkey on Boxing Day. And Spice of the Month is ground mixed spice, a blend I like to call the Christmas spice. We will be open every day right through to Christmas Eve at both Borough and Stratford, and will be opening late at Borough on some days – keep an eye on our Twitter feed to keep up to date. My staff and I are all ready, willing and able to sprinkle the festive season with spice magic. Which only leaves me to say… HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS, FROM ME AND EVERYONE AT SPICE MOUNTAIN!! Magali Spice of the Month Ground Mixed Spice This wonderfully aromatic blend just cries out to be paired with the type of food we eat at Christmas! The blend is used in many types of cookery from savoury to sweet, and is used a great deal in breads, cakes and pastries, especially sweet ones, which of course suits Christmas perfectly. The blend of course varies, but would usually include cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pimiento (allspice) among others. In savoury cooking, mixed spice is an essential ingredient in meat stews throughout Europe, working particularly well when used in combination with game. It turns up in the Greek Stifado and the French Civet, both of which use it together with lots of red wine to produce a rich, sweetly aromatic and warming dish. It also turns up in curry recipes, especially from the Caribbean, and it can be used in Mexican cooking in much the same way Garam Masala would be used in Indian. When it comes to baking, mixed spice is widely used in Europe to produce sweetly spiced buns and cakes, a good example being the classic Hot Cross Bun enjoyed at Easter, another being the Simnel Cake which is popular at Christmas. And of course a spoon of mixed spice works wonders when added to the filling for a lovely apple pie! In short, this classic blend is a versatile ingredient which is best used when we want to bring a touch of deep-level flavour to our food, working as it does with both sweet and savoury foods to give a warming, lasting, gentle and aromatic note to anything it is used in. Buy on Spice Mountain November Recipes Piccalilli This classic English mustard pickle is great for Christmas, on the buffet table at tea-time or just to perk up a turkey sandwich for a nightcap. Read Recipe Australian Christmas Pudding Ice Cream Tarka signifies that the dhal has been tempered with a mixture of crisp fried garlic, onion and chilli towards the end of cooking, a process which adds a total flavour bomb to the lentils. Read Recipe Turkey Biriani The Boxing Day turkey curry is an established favourite nowadays. Thee recipe has been for quite some time. Read Recipe This Month’s Feature – Spice Mountain Santa So Christmas is nearly here, and you want to get someone you love the ideal present. Whatever you imagine would be the perfect spicy Christmas gift for a foodie, the Spice Mountain Santa will have it! Even as I write, our elves (me, basically!) are blending and packing and stacking the shelves with all things spice to fill those stockings. But it’s not just spice we can offer – we also stock a great range of spice accessories, things which will become valuable friends in the kitchen to whoever receives them. For someone who likes to get that bit more hands-on with their cooking, I’d suggest a Mortar & Pestle. Made of English Terracotta, they will last for years, and there are few things more enjoyable than getting to work with whole spices and creating your own blends. In a similar vein is another favourite toy, the Microplane Spice Grater and Zester. This handy tool is so good for grating ginger and garlic, or anything else, nice and fine. For the dining table, how about one of our delightful Salt Pigs? These condiment holders are a very popular table decoration, being both practical and attractive to the eye. Besides those three, we also stock salt and pepper grinders, which are clear and thus great for showing off that speciality salt or peppercorn you are using! When it comes to presents, there are times when it pays to think inside the box, specifically one of our spice Gift Boxes. We have a great selection to choose from, including Curry, Chilli, Middle Eastern Flavours and the attractively packaged Elements box, designed for those who want to start at the beginning with grinding their own blends and containing eight basic spices. And for the discerning drinker, check out our Spiritualised gin botanicals kit, containing four spice blends tailor-made for jazzing up the evening gin and tonic. And don’t forget to pop one of our Mulled Wine Spice Bombs in the stocking too! Individual spices and blends make great stocking fillers. For lovers of the hot stuff, have a look through our range of chilli products – you can choose from the world’s hottest chilli, the Carolina Reaper, or our chilli extract, which checks in at a mind-boggling 9m SHU, four times hotter than the Naga chilli! For curry lovers, apart from the aforementioned Curry Box, we stock dozens of exotic and authentic curry blends so there will certainly be something to suit anyone. Maybe you’d like to point someone in the direction of eating healthier in the year ahead? No problem, choose a stocking filler or two from our range of superfoods, or our 100% freeze-dried fruit powders to liven up juices, smoothies and breakfast in general. And if you’re buying for someone who loves baking and caking, Spice Mountain is a true Aladdin’s Cave! From luxury vanilla down to basics such as cinnamon-infused sugar it would be easy to fill an entire stocking with these items alone. If you’re not sure where to start, or you know the person you’re buying for would enjoy an hour browsing around Spice Mountain, we have the ideal solution – buy that lucky person a Spice Mountain gift voucher. Available in various denominations, these vouchers can be used instore and online (although we would recommend including a day out at Borough Market as part of the gift!). So there are our suggestions for making your Christmas gift shopping spicy! We’re open at Borough Market and Westfield Stratford every day from Monday 4th December until Christmas Eve, and our expert staff will be happy to help you choose the ideal gift – pop in and see us, but make sure you don’t end up just buying presents for yourself!! Merry Christmas!! 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. Satsuma/Clementine – The classic Christmas citrus fruits, both get on well with sweet, aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. For something slightly different, sprinkle segments with oak smoked sugar and pop in a hot oven for five minutes. Pomegranate – As a popular ingredient in the Middle and Near East, pomegranate goes wonderfully with dukkah, and is equally good with Indian chaat masala. Celeriac – Using spice transforms celeriac, and it is the warmly aromatic ones such as cumin, nutmeg, coriander and turmeric which work best. In a mashed celeriac dish, or a soup, ground mixed spice and white pepper give lift and balance. Chestnut – The deep, sweet nuttiness of chestnuts match well with both salt and sugar. Vanilla sugar goes particularly nicely, and in savoury dishes, herbs such as sage and thyme give an extra dimension. Swede – Love them or hate them, two spices are essential with swede, these being nutmeg and black pepper. Cumin matches well too. For an interesting variation, try mashing swede with Tunisian tabil blend. Salsify – The taste of the seashore, salsify obviously matches best with anything salty. Its unique flavour is best not messed with too much, so subtle salts like Cypriot lemon pyramid or Egyptian frost are great, adding texture as well as flavour.