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Thursday November 22, 2012

Spices ,condiments and herbs have been used to flavor food for thousands of years. Each national cuisine arrived at its own mixture, or was influenced by a neighboring country. Spices have been used for many purposes. In cooking, they stimulate the gastric juices and enhance the flavor of food. Before refrigeration, they helped preserve food. In medicine, they have been used to protect and cure. Many spices were thought to possess either religious or magical properties.

Spices are the fried aromatic parts of plants, such as buds, bark, fruit, pods, roots, berries, seeds, or even flower stigmas. Initially, they were mostly grown in a few tropical countries such as Sri Lanka (Ceylon), the West Indies and Indonesia. As demand grew in Europe, routes were opened up to bring spices to the colder countries from the far-flung colonies. Ships carried spices halfway round the world, Arabs brought them by caravan through the Middle East from India and China. As countries struggled to gain a monopoly over particular spices, many wars were fought over lucrative rights to the spice trade. Nowadays, most spices can be grown in any tropical country, as they become freely available, they are increasingly experimented with and introduced to local cuisine's everywhere.

Herbs and Spices are the heart and soul of cooking: they give food inspiration, color and character. Vary the herbs and spices and you will give a dish individuality and make it your own. Whatever herbs and spices you choose, follow the simple guidelines should prove helpful.

  • Use 2 or 3 times more fresh herbs than dried
  • Crush dried herbs before using, to bring out their flavor
  • Store fresh herbs in water in the refrigerator or freeze them
  • Buy dried herbs in small amounts, keep them in airtight containers out of direct sunlight
  • Spices keep longer if bought in whole form to be ground as needed. Use a mortar and pestle, peppermill or special grinder.
  • Buy pre-ground spices in small amounts and keep in airtight containers, out of direct sunlight.
  • To bring out their full flavor and avoid a harsh taste, cook spices before adding any liquid to them

As interesting and tasty as spices may be, they are only one element of a well-cooked dish. Be careful not to overdo a flavoring, but to harmonize the flavors to complement the basic ingredient: whether fish, rice, chicken, beef or vegetables. Different cooking methods, such as roasting, stewing or frying, will vary the flavor of the same ingredients, as will the type of oil and the quality of the water or wine used. Follow the recipes carefully before beginning your own experiments in spice and herbs cooking.

* What's New * Herbs Spices Recipes
  1. Turkey and Ham Picnic Rolls -

  2. Sauerkraut Salad

  3. Six Cup Salad

  4. Lemon Grass Prawns

  5. Mussels in Black Bean and Coriander

  6. Beef Stroganoff

  7. Herbed Lamb Roast

  8. Potato Herb Mash

  9. Ginger Bears

  10. Grilled Mackerel with Gooseberry and Fennel Sauce

  11. Herb Stuffed Herrings with Mustard Sauce

  12. Squid Braised with Red Wine and Garlic

  13. Griddled Red Mullet with Walnut and Parsley Pesto

  14. Grey Mullet with Red Wine and Garlic Sauce

  15. Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic

  16. Baked Fish with Coconut and Kaffir Lime

  17. Tiger Prawns (Shrimps) with Garlic and Herbs

  18. Pork Fillets with Herbs and Pistachios

  19. Deep Fried Sea Bass with Garlic

  20. Baked Trout with Herb Stuffing and Cream Sauce

  21. Squid with Herbs

  22. Caribbean Seafood Creole

  1. Honey Barbecue Baste

  2. Lamb Riblets in Barbecue Sauce

  3. Oven Barbecued Spareribs

  4. Pork Chop Packages (Barbecue)

  5. Apple and Spice Muffins

  6. Potato and Herb Damper (Australian Bread)

  7. Herbed Corn Muffins

  8. Tomato, Basil and Olive Muffins

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