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    As Spring envelops the south west, everyone is beginning to dig out their shades, iron their shorts or dresses and debate whether or not it is too early for sandals, whilst dreaming of the endless barbecues, tall glasses of Pimms and the smell of freshly cut grass…

    For others, like myself, Spring is the beginning of the end for their sinuses. It’s the penultimate season of runny noses, itchy eyes, non stop sneezing and wheezing lungs with no respite from nature’s bellows of pollen that are the flowers, trees and grasses. If only there were ways of avoiding the effects!? Well…

    Short of stocking up on antihistamines, nasal sprays and fabled local honey we have a few tricks up our spice covered sleeves to help combat the effects of hay fever.

    Copy of hayfever_ Ingredients…Ready!

     

    First up: Fresh Ginger!

    A bit of background info on how this works; A study has shown that ginger has an effect on the levels of Immunoglobulin E (or IgE for short), the antibody responsible for causing mast cells in your body to release histamine (AKA an allergic reaction). Antihistamine is the chemical that, in large amounts, causes swelling, itching, rashes and excess fluid to be produced. Ginger actually helps to lower the amount of IgE in your body and as a result the symptoms of mild allergic reactions can be reduced! For those interested, here is the link for the study.

    Science lesson out the way, lets make some tasty ginger tea. This particular tea is fresh and zingy thanks to the large amount of fresh ginger and lime. I found the honey and coconut milk added some viscosity to the drink so if it’s too thin for you, add some more!

    You’ll need:

    • A thumb sized root of fresh ginger
    • 500ml Water
    • Honey (the local(er?) the better)
    • A couple of tbsp coconut milk
    • 1/2 a Lime

    IMG_1791

    Method:

    1. Start by slicing the ginger and adding it to a pot with the water.
    2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
    3. Then stir in the coconut milk, 2 tbsp of honey and the juice of a lime and you’re good to go!
    4. Pour through a sieve to remove the whole ginger and serve in your best mug.

    The addition of the local honey helps your immune system get used to the pollen in the local areas and the coconut milk and lime give this hot drink a distinctly Mediterranean taste!

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    Despite my face, it was actually really tasty…

     

    Next: Turmeric & Pepper

    In Ayurvedic medicine Turmeric is among the top contenders for the ‘most useful root’ award. Google it, and it would seem like there is nothing the humble spice can’t do… Short of curing every ailment ever, we’re going to look at it’s ability to reduce the effects of hayfever.  Turmeric contains a chemical called ‘circumin’ which helps to stabilise those pesky mast cells and stops the cells from degranulation (the release of histamine). The addition of black pepper increases the bio availability of turmeric giving it more efficacy in fighting hay fever symptoms as well as acting as an expectorant to clear out your sad, sad sinuses! This particular drink packs quite the punch with the addition of the black pepper, with turmeric’s subtle yet complex flavour as the base. If milk isn’t your thing, substitute with coconut milk!

    IMG_1822 Such a delicious colour!

     

    On to the good stuff, you will need:

    • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
    • 500ml Milk
    • Ground black pepper
    • Local honey

    Method:

    1. In a pan, bring the milk to a simmer and add the turmeric, honey and a pinch of ground black pepper.
    2. Stir until everything is mixed together and serve in your next favourite mug. Save the rest for later on!

    IMG_1834

    Different angle, same face, still tasty!

     

    The key to both of these recipes is regular intake. Drink 2 – 3 mugs a day and it will help alleviate hay fever symptoms!

    If you need some turmeric and black pepper, head on over the Spicestore to stock up before it’s too late!

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Chris – World Kitchen Explorer – Nigerian Egusi
    After a trip to the shops and a short discussion about which bananas were least ripe we had our ingredients prepped and ready to go. Off to a super rocky start; the red oil spices didn’t quite follow the instructions. Have had (bad) experiences with frying chilli flakes before I was very tentative with the heat and timing, yet still managed to ever so slightly burn the flakes in chase on the fabled red oil (it was more amber in the end).

    IMG_3128 IMG_3137 IMG_3139

    Apart from that initial drama the rest of the cook was fairly simple, well paced and left enough time during the cook to tackle some of the washing up that had accrued. The timing held up towards the end as we used beef from our local butchers instead of store bought. Which is a must anytime we do beef dishes! It’s just not worth the toughness and actually tends to be cheaper.

    Tim – World Kitchen Explorer – Bihari Kebabs and Paratha
    My second time testing! I was pre-warned that I might have unknowingly picked a tricky one but it actually worked really fairly easily. The meal is a good combination of flavors, with the mango (not pictured)

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    giving a good bit of sweetness to it all. I would recommend letting the steak chunks sit in the spices for a bit longer to soak up the flavours for a while if possible and I probably should have been a bit more generous with the garlic (I do love garlic so that might not be to everyone’s taste). A little tip is to roll the Paratha a bit thinner as it was tricky wrapping everything up in it (and make sure you have a frying pan big enough for it to fit in to lying flat!). Tried and tested it with a good pale ale and it matched very well!

    Dan – Meat Free Magic – Grilled Veg and Romesco & Paella  
    This was the second tester kit I have tried from The Spicery. I was really looking forward to make this dish as i’ve only ever had paella with meat/fish in before. I’m always keen to try veggie alternatives because I can find meat quite overpowering at times!

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    I’ve never actually heard of romesco sauce before so was quite intrigued to see what it would be like. I do however love tomatoes and garlic so already I knew it was going to be a winner. It was super easy to make and the spices that went into the sauce smelt amazing.


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    The allioli was again, really nice and straightforward to make. It  tasted like a really fresh garlic and herb dip. I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise but the black pepper and parsley really transformed the taste. The veg I choose to grill for starters was asparagus and broccoli. Both the romesco sauce and allioli really complemented one another with the veg and you could really taste the freshness in the ingredients.

    For the Spanish Paella I added a red and green peppers, butter beans, and frozen peas instead of fine beans. The dish was so colurful! I think the infused saffron gave it a real kick. It’s crazy to think such a small amount can make such a huge difference. I’ll most definitely be making the sauces again and try the different variations the recipe has on my next attempt!

    But the winner is…

    Andrea – Food Truck – Malaysian Fried Chicken and Pancakes

    Being American, some might assume that eating fried chicken is somewhat of a pastime for me, but I must have gotten KFC’ed-out growing up..surprisingly enough, I’ve never actually attempted to make fried chicken at home.

    Cooking
    I wasn’t quite sure how this recipe would turn out having already tested it in the Spicery kitchen (which is much bigger and pan-filled than mine) but I figured the end result would be worth the effort.

    Family dins
    And worth it it was – my housemate said the American-style corn pancakes were the best he’s ever had and everyone around the dinner table was raving about the honey soy dipping sauce and corn salsa. Not to mention the fried chicken itself!
    It wasn’t too difficult to fry (though I did have to fry it in three separate batches). All the accompaniments were done previous to the frying, so that helped. I did end up using quite a few pans and dishes by the end of it (it was a Spicery meal, after all!), but the only real complaint that I had was the potatoes took longer than expected.
    A nice change to the curries I tend to test at home!

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    Spicery Food Truck Dinner

    March 10, 2017

    Last night, to celebrate the launch of our brand new Food Truck subscription, we opened our doors at the Spicery HQ to spice-lovers to enjoy a 5 course Food Truck meal. As our dining room filled with our 40 guests, Matt and Alice prepared plates in the “Food Truck” Meanwhile, our guests started by cleansing their […]

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    Time to spice up your Shrove Tuesday!

    February 28, 2017

    Ah yes, Shrove Tuesday – the one excuse to literally eat everything in your house in preparation for Lent. Pancakes are great, but fancy a spicy twist on this flipping marvellous holiday? We did some experimenting here in the Spicery kitchen to add a little kick to the average pancake filling…have a go at home (with a stack […]

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    The book you’ve all been waiting for…

    February 24, 2017

    Big news at Spicery HQ! After a few years deliberating the best way to bring out a book, the recent Curry Legends workshop triggered boss James’ brain into action and the How to be a Curry Legend Cookbook was formed. For all you curry lovers out there, the book will contain around 60+ recipes – […]

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    Spicery Christmas Open Day 2016

    December 15, 2016

    We all had a great time at the big Spicery Christmas open day this year – over 200 of you visited for our Christmas market, make your own curry stall, turkey kathi roll lunch and moor beer’s delicious Christmas ale. Here are a few highlights from the day…   Faduma and Maria serving a hot […]

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    Staff Testing November 2016

    November 28, 2016

    Chris on WKE Persian Duck Stew: From the get-go we had to make a few compromises: I don’t own a blender, so instead of pulverising electrically I took to crushing the walnuts with a small-but-heavy saucepan – this seemed to do the job pretty well. Secondly, I was cooking for my girlfriend, who is intolerant to […]

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    A Spicy Chilli Wine Collaboration – aromas of petrol, grass and citrus!

    November 24, 2016

    Yesterday was a first for us Spicerers! Pairing food with wine is not exactly a groundbreaking concept, but when it comes to spicy food, most people might not immediately think wine would be a good match. Admittedly, even I was a bit sceptical at first that wine would go with the bold, punchy flavours we’re […]

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    How to use up that leftover pumpkin

    November 1, 2016

    Ah November, the eleventh month of excitement, hot beverages and officially (oh yes, Christmas jumper fans) sweater season. As we say sayonara to kids dressed as things that go bump in the night, pre Bonfire night fireworks and the last dregs of summer, few things rollover from the month of October. That is, besides some […]

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    Staff Testing October 2016

    October 25, 2016

    Chris on Indian Restaurant Favourites Dhansak: We were ready. We’ve done this before and we know it can be quite the undertaking sometimes. Both Steph and I had done the prep, got everything chopped, measured, filled and in position. After a quick breather we jumped right in… To find out that this curry was one […]

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