Thousand and one spices
July 31st, 2006

“Anybody seen the rose petals?”, “Mace, where again?”, “Didn’t you just take the saffron?”, “Can you pass me the ground lime please?” and so on. Almost two dozen people, a lot of quick hands, a giant jumble, everyone looking out for their spices…

Spice Night

Another hot night, it seemed like we weren’t getting a break any time soon. At this point I think everyone was and is kneeling for a little change in weather – phew. A few weeks back Sebastian asked us if we wanted to join him and small group of food writers from the Food Editors Club Germany, PR agents and foodies in general for a spicy event.

We were pondering over our response, debating back and forth, pros, cons – no, seriously, I think by the time Sebastian had released the send button, he already had our reply in his inbox. I was beaming from ear to ear, having a personal preference for Asian food in general and preparing curries quite often, an event about spices was so right up my alley!

KinderKüche

So here we were, round about 20 people on a muggy night in a room a little larger than our kitchen – cozy! Speaking of the location, the event was actually held at KinderKüche a wonderful place for children to take the first steps into the culinary world.

KinderKüche

Some of the participants we already knew either from visiting their blogs, past events or otherwise, the majority however we hadn’t seen before. The easy thing about meeting other foodies is that right off the bat there is a common interest that connects. What a great start into the night, a little socializing here and there, the one or other chilled drink and an ever so inviting scent of spices in the air.

Spices, spices, spices

The event was split into two parts, one in which Bettina Matthaei gave a brief introduction to all the various spices on the table, shared a bit about their backgrounds and how they would be used and processed by her. She highlighted the importance of the quality of the raw material and the prompt finishing. Bettina not only runs a spice shop, Bettina is also the author of various cookbooks. She’s a great example of someone who made her passion her profession. And following her vocation, she gets to travel around the world, recently returning from a trip to La Réunion and Madagascar researching vanilla and more.

Spice Night

The rich flavor and aroma of the spices (ground rose petals, cardamom, cumin, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric to name a few) sitting right there in front of us was proof enough. This first part was concluded by a practical exercise where we used both, given and tested recipes for mixtures as well as our common sense and creativity to come up with our own concoctions. Out of the many provided blends such as couscous mix, arabian coffee spice, lime curry, Levantine pepper mix, my personal favorite was hot vanilla, consisting of Bourbon vanilla, black pepper and cardamom.

The second part of the evening was all about putting theory into practice. The various spice blends found their way into a multi course dinner (some dishes where served together):

leaf salad & fruity vinaigrette (persian rose spice blend)

baguette with curry-butter (lime curry)

hot tomato soup (hot cinnamon)

arabic meat balls (baharat blend)

couscous (ras el hanout)

carrot sticks (orange-chili-salt)

apricot sauce (hawayij)

marianated melon cuts (hot vanilla)

espresso (arabian coffee spice)

Hot Vanilla

A truly delicious night, allowing us to take home new impressions and ideas, which for sure will -in turn- find their way into our (not only) Asian cuisine. Guess what we’ll have on the table tonight: Lime Curry, of course!

Oliver

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