Herbs and Spices... help needed!

What are the herbs and spices you literally can't live without?

I need some help; I have a lovely spice rack that my Mother-In-Law bought for me YEARS ago, it can hold 16 different herbs and spices.

Well - I am not much of a cook, in case you haven't been following my blog long... it is one of many of my short-falls (this one probably being one of the worst seeing I am now a wife and Mum, and the cooking should be falling on my shoulders). 

Over the weekend I did some cleaning and tidying, including throwing away all the herbs and spices in the rack - seriously, some of them are probably more than eight years old (*cringe*), and I have been too scared to use them for years!

So - I want to know what your top three herbs and top three spices are (in the comment section)... ones you literally can't live without, and would run down to the supermarket in your slippers for, if you ran out of it!

THEN - I need you to e-mail me at: mrs.e.collins@gmail.com with your all-time favourite (no-fail) recipe(s) that use at least one of these herbs / spices; make sure you put 'Recipes' in the subject line so I don't assume it's spam!!!

Now 'lil M is 3 months and his colic, wind and sleeping are getting under control; I need to don that cooking cape again, and start making more effort in the kitchen! Hubby is GREAT, but it is unfair for him to constantly be put under pressure when he gets home from work...

I will then compile the list of 'must have' herbs and spices you will tell me about, and the recipes - and wa la... a great cooking hero arises out of the ashes! Hahaha, not quite that easy I know; but at least it's somewhere to start! I am expecting loads of comments and recipes please - full of inspiration and encouragement ;-)!

Today I have got lamb chops in the crockpot (ooops, actually maybe they're pork?)!!! I haven't used anything except salt and pepper with them, because I tend to find that when cooked in the crockpot, the flavour from any seasoning disappears anyway... and I will be cooking brown rice (Button's favourite at the moment) and veggies to go with.

If you have been following me for any length of time, you will know we are an allergy family - don't let this bother you though, I am learning to work around it, and if I can't use your recipes yet; hopefully in time I will be able to dig them out and use them later. The kids are meant to out-grow their allergies in time, and hubby is up and down like a yo-yo with his gluten anyway (he is intolerant rather than allergic, so sometimes he just eats it anyway)!


You've reminded me that I should probably go through my spices and do a cull!
Top 3 spices: ground cumin, Chinese five-spice, & smoked paprika.
Top 3 herbs: rubbed thyme, parsley & oregano (I grow these, but do have dried in the pantry, for those wet nights when I don't want to go outside to the herb garden!).
I'll hunt out some recipes for you, for sure! Anything to do with food...I'm in :)
Parsley, chives (in season) and thyme (fresh only for me).
Paprika, peppercorns, curry powder, used in moderation, i.e. to boost the flavour rather than dominate everything, although what's in the crockpot at the moment may be a bit stronger than that!!
Will bring some books up - not that I use them much these days :-).
Anonymous said…
I'm just going to list my 6 favourite ... mixed spice, nutmeg and cinnamon (mostly for baking, but nutmeg is a must for moussaka); I also tend to throw a combination of thyme, basil and marjoram into most of my dishes no matter what I'm cooking .... I also love sage, parsley, mint and rosemary (I have all these dried as I find the fresh stuff dies on me too often). Mixed herbs is a great one to start with. Tuscan seasoning ... I could go on and on!!! Sorry not much help!!! xx Leonie
Amy said…
For tomato dishes, paprika. I have a chicken recipe that is great in pot or crockpot that uses paprika if you are interested? On the menu for tomorrow (must get chicken from freezer!~)
Curry powder. NOT PAMS! I tried that and it was YUCK. Now have Greggs...half a teaspoon with mince, s&p, and an egg to make yummy meatballs, 1 tsp with kumara/pumpkin/potato/onion/garlic and milk for a delicious hearty soup, YUM. And I am not a big curry girl by any stretch of the imagination!
Chilli flakes. Chilli con carne is what I bought them for, but I flick a teeny bit into soup and casseroles for an extra flavour boost (like literally often a flick of the shaker side!).
For soups and anything remotely italian (i.e that uses tomato as a base!) mixed herbs...easiest as that way they get used up before going old and they can go in or on almost anything (like your chops, a soup, a casserole, rice dish, etc). It's been the only dried herbs I've had for the past few years as I also have some fresh stuff.
I love fresh Italian parsley (the flat leafed stuff, even Boyo will eat it when he claims to hate parsley as the Italian is milder than the curly!)...it is also very easy to grow!
Rosemary would be my next choice. I love the smell of a roast that has rosemary sprinkled on it - sometimes the potatoes, sometimes the meat, plus it actually goes really well in pumpkin soup.

I think herbs/spices depend on what you cook - at the moment I've got a couple of recipes using red curry paste, which I'd never used before but find I quite like (in small doses!) so I might keep an eye out for more recipes. I've got chinese five spice, cumin, nutmeg, etc there but don't tend to use them regularly, more sporadically for specific recipes. Hope you find a few you love and enjoy using!
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