I missed my Mum and Dad an awful lot when I was on holiday. Looks like they missed me too; I came home to a present from them – a beautiful little box of sample-sized herbs, salts and spices from Steenbergs.
Steenbergs is a Fair Trade and organic supplier of herbs, spices and teas. Their products are available by mail order and in shops in the UK and overseas, and if you’ve an opportunity to try one of their herb or spice sets, I’d recommend you give them a whirl. The little glass jars are full of an eclectic mix of spices from the familiar to the downright exotic, and the company also mixes its own blends, a couple of which were in my little box.
This set includes a nutmeg; an American barbecue mix; three colours of peppercorn (I have been a big fan of pink peppers since my brother bought me a jar to accompany the foie gras he gave us for Christmas); Steenbergs’ ‘perfect salt’; Turkish rosemary (I’m not so sure about this; I find dried rosemary a bit spiky to be useful normally. I’ll have to cook with it and report back); French rose petals; a pink, volcanic Hawaiian salt which I’ll use on more foie gras; and star anise. After a few hours of unscrewing lids and sniffing, screwing them back on, unscrewing them again to have another sniff, screwing them on etc. etc., I decided to give the ‘perfect salt’ a spin.
Perfect salt is a herb mix with cracked black pepper in sea salt. Everything (as is the norm with Steenbergs) is organic, and this salt is perfectly balanced. I slathered it all over a duck and put it in an oven for an hour and a half with no other seasoning (not even my traditional lemon) – savoury and delicious. Try it on a roast chicken, on baked vegetables and as a seasoning on finished foods. These blends are simple, natural and well thought-out; the smoke flavour in the barbecue mix comes from Spanish smoked paprika, rather than from smoke flavourings.
What is it about the sort of natural, pared-down design that Steenbergs use in their products that makes me so downright hungry?