Tag Archives: Cumin

This week in my kitchen…Store cupboard basics…Spices…

Welcome to my store cupboard basics which means it is Friday once again and Spices something I use every day in one form or another…I am also always on the lookout for new spices…I just adore what a touch of spice does to food…

If you have been following this your store cupboards BASICS by now yours should be nearly fully stocked…

The smell of spices always draws me wherever I am and sometimes it is so strong that it makes me cough and my eyes water…but I love it…It is also one way for me to get my kitchen cleared quickly …haha…

Spices are many and varied, they need to be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. As flavours dimish with age then buy in small quantities the only spices I buy in large quantities are those I know I will use quickly…

To make your own mixes is quick and easy and ensures your spices are always fresh…As I go through the spices, I use I will link to recipes where I make my own mixes which are far superior as they contain no preservatives and work out far cheaper than costly spice mixes …

Allspice…This berry has a warm, slightly cinnamon-clove flavour readily available ground and can be used in both sweet and savoury cooking.

Cayenne Pepper…Fiery and piquant this spice is made from dried red hot chillies used sparingly it is excellent added to cheeses dishes, fish, creamy sauces, meat sauces and soups. Added sparingly to these salmon burgers it just lifts the flavour…

Chilli Flakes… Crushed dried red chillies can be added or sprinkled over many dishes…so easy to make your own just dry fresh red chillies in the sun if you have any or even on a hot radiator and then just crush in a pestle and mortar and store in an airtight jar. Used in many Thai dishes like larb or homemade sausages I have linked to these as it shows how I use many of the spices I have on this post.

Chinese five-spice powder…This is a mixture of star anise, cassia, fennel seeds, cloves and anise pepper again if you have the spices easy to make in minutes. It has quite a strong powerful flavour so use sparingly.

Cinnamon…one of my most used spices it has many uses…I buy the sticks and use whole or ground although you can buy powdered cinnamon ready ground I prefer to do my own. The powder can be used in baking and making spice mixes. The sticks can be added to stews or drinks. This Thai braised Pork is a good example of where I used star anise, cinnamon and Chinese five-spice powder.

Cloves…Available whole or ground these dried flowers buds are used in sweet and savoury dishes…Baked apples, bread sauce they are one of my most used spices. If sing ground use sparingly as it is strong and too much is unpleasant to the palate.

Coriander…Available whole or ground I buy large packs as I use it often…It is the basis in my Indian spices and curries…

Cumin…Warm and pungent cumin works well with most meats particularly lamb again one of my favourite spices and one I use a lot.

Fennel Seeds…These little green seeds have quite a sweet aniseed like flavour that goes well with chicken and fish and again I use when making Indian spice mixes.

Garam Masala…Ground and roasted spices make this mixture which is used in many Asian dishes. Available ready mixed but if you have the spices so easy to make your own and the flavour is much better. My recipe where you can see my use of spices…


  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamon pods green
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 piece of mace.

Let’s Cook!

Dry roast all your spices individually until warm and fragrant. Leave to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder …I have a little coffee grinder which I use to grind my spices and it works really well prior to that I used a pestle and mortar which is hard work but brilliant as an arm toner.

Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months as the spice will start to lose its potency …If you use a lot of gamma masala then just double or treble the quantities.

Ginger…This ground dried spice is useful for baking although for savoury dishes I use fresh root ginger.

Green Cardamon…The green papery pods contain little black seeds which can be easily crushed and the seeds scraped out.

Mustard Seeds…are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are coloured from yellowish white to black. They are an important spice in many regional foods. Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar or other liquids creates mustard. Simples said the meercat…

Nutmeg…Is available ground but to me not the same as storing a few whole nutmegs and grating it as required.

Paprika Pepper…Used in many Spanish dishes it is available both mild and hot…It has a slightly sweet flavour and is lovely used as a garnish for a seafood sauce or an egg dish.

Pepper…Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices and should always be used freshly ground as it loses its flavour quickly.

Green peppercorns have a milder flavour and can be found dried or in brine. Fresh green peppercorns are widely used in Thai cooking and one of our favourites.

White peppercorns are hotter than green but less aromatic than black peppercorns but ideal for a sauce if you don’t want the black specks but want a pure white sauce.

Pink Peppercorns seem to be more popular of late…Pink peppercorns are not only pretty, but they also offer a fruitiness along with their peppery bite for a deep, well-rounded pepper flavour. They’re delicate and should be crushed with a knife, rather than a pepper mill, to be used on seafood, poultry, salad, even popcorn, in curries, sauces, chutney, or in place of black pepper for an interesting twist. They are also more expensive.

Star Anise…Earthy, a subtly sweet spice which has a number of uses in savoury cooking, especially in traditional Asian dishes.

Turmeric...Used in many Indian dishes the ground turmeric is made from the dried turmeric root it has a peppery, slightly earthy taste and stains if you are not careful…

Vanilla…Dried vanilla pods are long and black encasing hundreds of tiny black seeds expensive but so worth it…Just make sure what you are buying as there are many inferior products on the market.


I hope you are finding these posts on store cupboard basics helpful…It does take time (and) money to build up a store cupboard which is why I am breaking it down into easy stages…Just for those of you who are not sure just where to start…

Whether you call it a cupboard or a pantry a savvy cook knows it helps them create delicious, economical dishes without using expensive ingredients or having to pop out and hope no one sees us without our slap…Picture the scene… we are halfway through making a new recipe…We can taste it…Then up pops the ingredient we thought we had in the cupboard or we missed that bit of the recipe…The shop is shut…It is raining…We are in our house clothes…Don’t they always though…haha

Until next week when in my store cupboard basics it will be Dried herbs and stock cubes…

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and well being.

The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a relaxing weekend xx




Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds who would have thought just what health benefits that little seed can provide for us…Well…Sally has and it is all here in one post with recipes … A one-stop post for healthy food and good health information….I hope you enjoy x

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series where I provide the nutritional health benefits for a food and Carol Taylor works all week in the kitchen to provide delicious recipes to include in your regular diet. I hope you will go over to her new blog which she has just started: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/ and discover more about her beautiful home in Thailand.

This week we are going to be featuring pumpkin seeds which are not only delicious but contain some very important nutrients that make this a snack that every man should eat once or twice a day.

When I was researching my men’s health book I came across some interesting statistics with regard to the very common problem of an enlarged prostate. In fact if you live to the age of 90 – 9 out of 10 men will have the condition!  Any man over the age of 50 who has a reduction…

View original post 2,192 more words

Chicken Handi/Murgh

Curries are one of our favorite dishes either a lovely fragrant Thai curry or an Indian/Indonesian Curry…we love all cuisines. I always grind my own spices and make enough for a couple of curries and I always use fresh ginger and garlic although you can use ready made pastes.So again tweak your recipes to suit you and your taste as I believe that is what cooking is about..no hard and fast rules …just put love and taste into your dishes and all will be well.

For my Garam Masala mix, I grind the following ingredients together: Any mix I don’t use I store in a small pot for next time.

3tsp cumin seeds.

3 tsp coriander seeds.

1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns.

4 cloves.

1 piece of cinnamon stick.

3 brown cardamom.

2 tsp fennel seeds.

1-star anise.2 dry red chillies.

Ingredients for Curry:

4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes.

3 large tomatoes skinned and diced.

2 medium onions chopped roughly.

4tbsp Natural Yoghurt.

1 tsp turmeric powder.

1 tsp red chilli powder.

Salt to taste.

3-4 tbsp oil/ghee

2-3 tsp of prepared garam masala spices.

Fresh, chopped coriander for garnish…I also add some into my curry whilst cooking it.

Let’s Cook!

Put cubed chicken in large bowl and add yoghurt and masala spices. Leave to one side.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add chopped onions cook until soft about 4-5 mins..take care not to burn, add garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2 mins, Then add turmeric chilli powder and salt cook for a further 1-2 mins.

Add chicken and stir to combine.

Add tomatoes and stir bring to a soft boil and turn to simmer. Add some coriander (my choice)

Cook for a further 45 minutes until sauce has slightly reduced and thickened a little.

This is a lovely family curry…not too hot but flavoursome.

Serve with Rice, mango chutney,

and Nan bread. Or other condiments of your choice.

My recipe for Mango Chutney


4 Green under ripe Mangoes.

3cm Fresh ginger finely diced.

3 cloves garlic finely diced.

500 gm sugar.

1tsp salt.

1/2 tsp dried chilli.

1tsp cumin seeds.

2 cardamom plus 4 cardamom seeds.

7cm cinnamon stick.

5 whole cloves.

250 ml vinegar I use Apple cider but have used white vinegar and malt.

5 black peppercorns crushed.


Peel mangoes and cut into small strips.

Place mangoes in large pot. Crush diced ginger and garlic in pestle and mortar and stir into mangoes.SAM_7105 SAM_7107 SAM_7108 SAM_7109

Stir in sugar,salt,chilli,cumin,cardamom,cinnamon and cloves.Stir to blend. Cover and leave overnight at room temp. N.B. We are prone to ants here so put water into a shallow tray and put bowl in centre the ants won’t swim the moat..ha ha

Next day place mangoes in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.Cook stirring occasionally until the mix starts to thicken about 30-45 mins.Stir in vinegar and crushed peppercorns and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Put into warm sterilised jars. Once cooled I keep in the fridge where if you live in cooler climes a cool larder will be fine. This makes 3 medium-sized jars.SAM_7128     Enjoy !  It goes well with my Indian curry recipes.

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoy!

If you did please share as sharing is caring 🙂