SPICE STO­RIES

Small amounts of spices can com­ple­ment both sweet and savoury dishes – use them spar­ingly so they don't over­whelm nat­u­ral flavours

Woolworths TASTE - - Festive Spices -

ALL­SPICE is a trop­i­cal spice with the warm and fra­grant aroma of cin­na­mon, cloves and nut­meg. The ground ver­sion is used in breads, pies and pud­dings, while whole all­spice is used in turkey brines and mulled wine. Pair it with: As­para­gus, beet­root, car­rot, cof­fee, ham, lamb, sweet potato, turkey.

CIN­NA­MON, from the in­ner bark of sev­eral species of the Cin­namo­mum genus, is used as an aro­matic condi­ment in sweet and savoury dishes, bakes and teas. Pair it with: Ap­ple, ba­nana, black­berry, blue­berry, car­rot, date, or­ange, plum.

GIN­GER in dried, ground form, is a star in­gre­di­ent in fes­tive bakes, but the fresh ver­sion of this root packs tons of warm, pun­gent flavour that works well with meat and veg­eta­bles, stir-fries, soups, mari­nades, sauces and cur­ries. Pair it with: Apri­cot, ba­nana, beef, chicken, choco­late, lemon, or­ange, pineap­ple, plum, pork.

NUT­MEG comes from the seed of the same tree that mace is har­vested from, but its flavour is more bit­ter­sweet, with deep woody tones. It’s de­li­cious in fruit-based desserts and fruit cakes, and adds depth to cheesy sauces. Pair it with: As­para­gus, car­rot, cauliflower, lamb, or­ange, potato.

STAR ANISE is the sweet­ish dried seed pod of an ever­green tree. It has a strong flavour with pow­er­ful liquorice un­der­tones and is de­li­cious in syrups for poach­ing fruit, for spic­ing trop­i­cal fruit, and for height­en­ing the sweet­ness of root veg­eta­bles. Pair it with: Ap­ple, beet­root, chicken, fig, leek, lemon, lime, mango, nec­tarine, pear, pork.

VANILLA pods are the fruits of sev­eral kinds of or­chids from the Vanilla genus. Once har­vested, the pods are dried. When you’ve scraped out the seeds, place the pods in a jar of sugar, or in­fuse them into cus­tards and creams. (One vanilla pod is roughly equiv­a­lent to 3 t vanilla ex­tract.) Pair it with: Ap­ple, black­berry, granadilla, grape­fruit, lime, pa­paya, peach.

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