I love using herbs and spices in my cooking & have a whole cupboard full of them. I think my most used would have to be cinnamon, in both sweet and savoury dishes. I really need to experiment a bit more with flavours though and after clearing out some old spices and rearranging the cupboard recently I've managed to make some room, which I plan to fill with some flavours that I haven't tried before.
Just Ingredients is a website full of herbs, spices and whole foods, and I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the founders, Ben Cunningham, to see what he had to say about herbs and spices.
|Ben Cunningham - sorry he's not the prize!|
Where do JustIngredients source their spices from?
We source our spices from a variety of countries all around the world. We discovered that spices taste better when grown and harvested in their native country, so whenever possible, we source our spices from their country of origin. For example our Turmeric comes from India, our Saffron comes from Spain and Parsley comes from right here in the UK. We have a very close relationship with our suppliers and continually endeavour to source the highest quality ingredients for our customers.
What is your most popular spice?
At the moment I’d have to say it’s definitely Paprika. Because this spice is so popular we don’t just stock standard Paprika, we also stock Smoked, Hot, Sweet and Organic varieties. We’re very excited to be introducing Kibbled Paprika to our range; something we hope will excite our customers too!
Where do you see the future of your company going?
Our aim is to provide the largest variety of high quality ingredients available online, and we want to do that at prices which will make the supermarkets shake in their boots! We currently have a range of over 1,000 ingredients which we plan to expand upon; for instance we have just introduced a new range of Wholefood products to our range, and we have some exciting Seasonings and Rubs in the pipeline as well.
Are consumers getting more experimental with their choice of spices?
Yes they are! More unusual blends such as Ras-el-Hanout, Togarashi and Zatar Spice blends are becoming rather popular. The rise in popularity of T.V. cookery programmes like MasterChef, have inspired people to be more creative in the kitchen, and with our range of culinary herbs and spices we can help consumers continue to experiment in their kitchens.
Do you spend much time in the kitchen yourself?
Yes I do! I try and cook from scratch every chance I get, rather than buying fast food and convenience meals. This isn’t always easy after a long day at work, but the reward you get from serving up a delicious home cooked meal that you’ve prepared yourself is always well worth it.
Like everyone, I have my ‘too tired to cook’ days, so I’ve perfected a selection of meals which are superfast and easy to cook but are just as tasty as meals that require more time to prepare. I like whipping up a quick pasta dish with big juicy tomatoes and our Italian Seasoning amongst the ingredients, or I lightly dust a chicken breast with Thai 7 Spice or Jerk Seasoning, grill, and serve with a hearty salad, dinner ready and on the table in less than 30 minutes.
What is your favourite dish to cook and who do you like to cook for?
My favourite dish to cook is Thai Green Curry, but I am trying to be more adventurous and get more creative in the kitchen. I think it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of cooking the same meals over and over again and consequently jade our palates. We need to constantly experiment with new recipes, flavours and ingredients to keep meal times interesting and keep our taste buds engaged. I had an experimental moment in the kitchen last weekend, making a Thai inspired BBQ marinade which included Garlic, Chilli Flakes, Lemongrass Stalks and Kaffir Lime Leaves; I served it up to my brave family and got a surprisingly good response.
If you could have only one spice for the rest of your life, which would it be?
I’m a big fan of Ground Cumin. My Mum does this amazing Greek meatball recipe with Yogurt and Feta. It has Cumin as the main flavour of the dish and always reminds me of home.
If you want to be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of spices in Just Ingredient's monthly competition then just follow the link below and answer a simple question