We would not know it today, but the colder weather is coming upon us. Today it is supposed to be around 81°. Regardless of how it feels outside, it is time to start thinking about things that need to get done inside. From here on in, we start focusing on cold weather preparations. This includes stocking the pantry with things needed to produce winter weather foods.
One of those things happens to be mixed spice. Mixed spice is used in Christmas puddings, gingerbread, mince pies, and many other holiday preparations. This is why it is also known as pudding spice. It is however commonly used before the “holiday” season even starts in a baked loaf called Barmbrack. Barmbrack is a fruit bread most often associated with Halloween. I will go more into the history and description of that, when we present the recipe in the next few days.
Mixed Spice, however, is very similar to Pumpkin Pie Spice in the US. Of course it can be purchased already mixed, but why, when it is so simple to make it yourself? This is a base recipe, but you can alter it to your own preferences. My grandmother’s gingerbread uses black pepper. This is an element that you may want to customise yourself. The heady aromas that fill the kitchen from grinding the spices yourself, are enough to get you in a chilled state of mind. For many this time of year invokes a sense of depression or sadness. For those like me, it means cozy days are ahead. It means hearty, earthy flavours are coming in the foods of the coming months.
When the chill hits the air in the weekend ahead, hit up your favourite Indian market (the best place to buy spices in bulk at a good price). Our nearby one is Indian Bazaar II Pick up a one touch coffee grinder, if you do not have one. Have at it. It will be like having a fall incense in your home. Experiment and spice it up!
***You will notice that the recipe here and all of the ones to follow are in METRIC! This is for a specific reason. Metric is far easier than standard ever could be. I have head all of the grumbling before, “I don’t understand metric”, “It’s too complicated”, “I only have teaspoons and measuring cups”. My advice, just buy a scale and be done with it. Metric makes it so much easier to scale recipes up or down. All metric is, is a number and a unit (i.e. grams, kilograms, etc…) Once you hit a 1000 of the unit the measure meant changes over to the next one. So after 999 grams, you cross over to 1 kg. It is one of those things that should have been taught more in the school system. Besides who really wants to figure out what 7 times ⅔ of cup is when you need to increase a recipe in standards.
If metric is not for you, my apologies. These are Irish/British based recipes where metric is commonly used. If need be you can find may online converters: Instant Cooking Units Converter. Your best bet is to just splurge and buy a digital scale and join along in the adventure of it all. It is like learning a new language or skill. Once you get used to it, it is really easy!
- 20 grams Allspice
- 5 pieces Cinnamon Stick, 2"
- 18 grams Cloves
- 24 grams Nutmeg, ground
- 18 grams Ginger, ground
- 20 grams Cardamom, ground finely
- 12 grams Coriander, ground finely
- Grind the Allspice, cinnamon, and cloves to a fine powder and then mix well with the ground nutmeg and ginger.
- Add the finely ground cardamom and coriander seeds.
- Sift through a strainer and store in a dry glass jar.