If I think of Christmas and spices, the first thing that springs to mind is an orange, covered in cloves, tied with a red ribbon and hung on the Christmas tree! Remember those? Or maybe the first thing you think of is the sweet smell of cinnamon or gingerbread?
Either way, if you’re trying to make good use of the extra lockdown home-time and are already doing your Christmas planning, here’s a quick round up of some deliciously warm spices and herbs that you might want to stock up on this festive season.
Mulled wine: OK, well not exactly a spice but with a ready-made mix of mulled wine spices, it couldn’t be easier to make your own. Probably most associated with the festive season but it tastes so good, do you ever really need an excuse to drink it?
Nutmeg: A warm, aromatic spice with hints of clove. Use nutmeg to add flavour to savoury stews, make a sauce for your Christmas pudding or just sprinkle it on top of a freshly made cappuccino.
Cinnamon: A hugely versatile store cupboard essential that’s definitely not just for Christmas! Cinnamon goes well in baking or stews and is perfect for those Christmas cookies.
Cloves: Traditionally associated with Christmas, these hot, spicy flower buds (yes, that’s what they actually are) are not just for decorating those childhood oranges. Cloves are great for adding extra flavour to stews, rice, red cabbage, baked ham, hot mulled cider and fruit cakes to name just a few!
Cardamom: We’re talking the green variety here, not the black ones. Great in teas, hot milk, baked goods, curries, tarts and even shortbread. Put this warm sweet spice to good use in a long list of both sweet and savoury dishes.
Ginger: You might not think of ginger on its own for Christmas but mix it with other spices, and it’s a must for your baking, biscuits and left-over turkey curry!
Rosemary: Who doesn’t love the smell of rosemary? Great with chicken, lamb and pork or added to your stuffing. Or mix with butter to use as a topping for a steak or a simple jacket potato (if you’re trying to cut down after the big day😊).
Juniper berries: Don’t just think gin. Add juniper berries to your festive stuffing or braised red cabbage or use them to marinate game meat if you fancy breaking away from the traditional turkey this year.
I’ll stop there or it’ll be the new year before I finish and the festivities will all be over!