Monday, January 30, 2006

spices, spices, spices

those of you who cook many different cuisines regularly must have a huge collection of spices like i do. i’m having such a hard time organising them neatly. in new york, i used a combo of a spice rack and old pickle and jam jars but i’d like a prettier solution in london. thus far i haven’t been able to find any. all the spice jars that i’ve seen so far come fully stocked – i guess i should look online and order something from the net. maybe i haven’t found the right cooking shops in this city. i miss the container store!!

my 18 jar spice rack in the picture is what i brought along from new york. it has assorted spices for mostly non-indian food. i have sage, tarragon, oregano, nutmeg, ginger, thyme, parsley, dilweed, basil, cilantro, fennel, curry leaves, kesoori methi, lemon grass, mexican seasoning, chinese five spice and vanilla beans.

i’ve loaded my indian spice box with new spices i just bought from a fabulous indian grocery store on drummond street. you see methi (fenugreek), jeera (cumin), black mustard seeds, turmeric, chillie powder and salt. i haven’t made up my mind as yet on what to put in the last available container – maybe garam masala. or coriander seeds. or sambhar powder. i still have 15 odd spice packets lying around waiting for a home. among the destitutes are anardhana powder, white pepper powder, black peppercorns, garam masala, kalonji, shah jeera, kashmiri chilli powder and anardhana seeds to name a few. which of these do you think most most deserves a place in my indian spice box?


Anonymous Diane said...

Lovely pics!
My spice box has: turmeric, fennel, cloves, cardamom, cumin, corriander, mustard seeds...

8:28 pm  
Blogger gs said...

welcome back after a long hiatus.i would anyday vote for garam masala or kashmiri chili powder.

12:28 am  
Blogger Lulu said...

thanks, diane! from your list, i would pick probably pick corriander. i haven't used fennel that much but am intrigued by it. what do you use it in?

thanks, appa. garam masala is a good idea but i just realised i don't have any. i forget to ask GB to make some. i will make it myself this weekend!

ps - the hiatus is because i still don't have broadbadn at home. am hoping to get it by friday and then i will be blogging a lot more!

8:21 am  
Anonymous Diane said...

Actually, garam masala would be much more practical for me (more than cloves or fennel as I don't use those as much) - maybe I will change next round of refills. Fennel...I use it mostly for some north indian dishes. I used it yesterday in a lamb with pepper recipe which was nice.

10:58 am  
Blogger Amy Sherman said...

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4:25 am  
Blogger Sury said...

Hi Lulu,

Lovely collection of spices there! Came to tell you that I tagged you for a common cold remedy meme. Please see this link:

Do play!

5:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try the Walthamstow Market, you will find some really amazing things, best time to go there would be on a Saturday morning.

Just get on the Northbound Victoria Line and its the last stop.

Lovely , multicultural market

2:50 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

thanks for letting me know about walthamstow market. i still havent made it to burroughs market either. both are on my list for saturday morning outings now!

7:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey lulu,
i've enjoyed reading your blog. you may want to try restaurant supply shops (brick & mortar or on-line) for spice jars. i know what you mean about the container store - i love that shop. my other fave is costplus worldmarket. if you're ever back in nyc for a visit, you can also try the chelsea marketplace.

6:41 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

thanks, payal! sounds like we have a lot in common. i loved chelsea market especially since i used to live in the neighbourhood- i've wrote quite a bit on my other blog:
thanks for the tip.

thanks also, amy!

2:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I live in Brussels and am desperately trying to find "paradise grains" (like pepper corns but apparently much tastier). I'm going to London in two weeks. Any ideas on a place where I could find unusual spices like this one?
For the storage: I have tons of spices too and after having tried several other options, I now use the empty Danone yoghurt jars (glass)! Cheap, very practical (they are just the right size and have a practical plastic lid that closes well), and a great incentive to eat healthy yoghurt!
best, Dominique

2:42 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi dominique,
i have a few suggestions for you:
1. the spice shop on blenheim crescent in notting hill. it's right opposite "books for cooks" and they stock all kinds of spices.
2. the big indian grocery store on drummond street. take the train to euston square or euston and ask anyone to direct you to the indian restaurants and stores which are about a five minute walk away. they might have it.
3. fortnum & mason in piccadilly. they have all sorts of exotic items and may just have paradise grains.
4. any fresh & wild organic grocery store all over london - the two i know of are in islington and westbourne grove.
hope this helps!

9:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a million! I'll definitely try some of those places. Will keep you updated if I find it, and will let you know if it's as tasty as they say it is!
thanks, Dominique

6:37 pm  

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