Archive for the ‘ Spices ’ Category

NEW! Organic Spices and Herbs

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Introducing an exclusive line to Love Love Food: Organic Herbs and Spices.

Oragnic Spices from Love Love Food

These new products are all certified organic and are sold in glass jars. The first products in this line are:

Organic Cumin
Rich in aroma and flavour, cumin compliments a wide variety of savory foods arch as: cheese, vegetables, sausages and chili.

Organic Basil
Basil is a member of the mint family. Use in any Italian dish, especially combined with oregano, or to flavour meats, vegetables, fish or soups.

Organic Thyme
A delicious looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is a wonderful addition to beans, eggs and vegetable dishes.

Organic Saigon Cinnamon
A richer aroma and deeper flavour than standard cinnamon. An excellent choice for baking and special coffees.

Organic Rosemary
With a pine-like fragrance, a little bit of rosemary goes a long way to flavour chicken, lamb, pork, salmon and tuna dishes. Work well in many types of soups and sauces.

Organic Oregano
Oregano is delicious in sauces, salad-dressings
and in soup.

Organic Crushed Red Peppers
Crushed red peppers adds a hot and spicy taste that is wonderful accent to stir fry, pizza and pasta dishes.


Vanilla: creamy, smooth & floral

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Vanilla has been adding flavour to baked goods and dishes for a very long time… but where does it come from you may ask?

Vanilla pod, Love Love Food

It all starts with the bean

Did you know: vanilla comes from a plant? More specifically, an orchid? The name “Vanilla” comes for the Spanish word: “vainilla” which literally means little pod. Vanilla beans are also known as pods or “black-flowers”: after the mature bean, which shrinks and turns black (shortly after it is picked from the plant).

Vanilla originally came from Mexico. A little history lesson: it all started with the Totonaco Indians of Mexico, who were the first keepers of the secrets of vanilla. According to Totonaco mythology, the tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the tropical orchid grew. A little morbid, but great story.

Vanilla plants grow in five main areas of the world. Each region creates vanilla beans with unique characteristics. Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa, is the largest producer of vanilla beans in the world and this vanilla is known as Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. It’s called this because the beans grow on the Bourbon Islands – Madagascar, Comoro, Seychelle and Reunion. Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans are considered to be the highest quality pure vanilla available, described as having a creamy, sweet, smooth, mellow flavour. Indonesia is the second largest producer of vanilla beans, with a vanilla that is woody. Madagascar and Indonesia produce 90 percent of the world’s vanilla bean crop. Mexico, where the vanilla orchid originated, now produces only a small percentage of the harvest. Mexican vanilla beans are described as creamy, sweet, smooth and spicy. Tahitian vanilla beans, which are grown from a different genus of vanilla orchid, is flowery and fruity and smooth. Last but not least is vanilla from India, now cultivating nearly 24,000 hectors of vanilla plants: they are cultivated in the southern states of India, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, this is mostly because growing the vanilla seed pods is very labour-intensive. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavour. As a result, vanilla is present in baking, perfumes and many forms of aromatherapy.

There are many different shapes and forms of vanilla.

Vanilla Bean: The fruit of the vanilla orchid. Look for a dark, almost black bean with good moisture level. If you can tie it in a knot, it’s fresh.

Vanilla Extract: A flavoring prepared from vanilla beans macerated in alcohol and water.

Vanilla Paste: Pure vanilla extracts and bean seeds in simple syrup with a natural thickener. It can be used interchangeably with vanilla extract in any product where the presence of the seeds is desirable without the problem of splitting and scraping the vanilla bean.

Vanilla Powder: Made from pure vanilla extract that has been dried, or from dried beans that have been pulverized.

Vanilla Sugar: Sugar flavored by vanilla beans and used as an ingredient or decoration. To make vanilla sugar, fill a large jar with sugar, break a vanilla bean into three pieces, press them into the sugar and leave for several weeks.


Paprika, the multi-purpose spice

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When I was a kid, Paprika was only use on top of shepherd pie, yes basic and for colour only. As I got older I came to realized that there are more uses for it than making a basic dish pop!

Pimenton Dulce Ahumado paprikaHOTlovefood

Paprika originally came from Hungary (note: it was brought to Hungary in the 17th century by the Turks). The Turks got it from the Spanish who got it from the South and Central American Indians in the 15th century.

Paprika is produced from ground red bell pepper or chili peppers. Until the early 20’s, this spice was only available as “hot”, this changed when a when a Szeged breeder found one plant that produced sweet fruit, it was then grafted onto other plants and voila: sweet Paprika! Today, paprika ranges from mild to hot, and flavours also vary from country to country, but almost all the plants grown produce the sweet variety.

One of best Paprika comes from Spain, with it great climate and centuries of cultivating they’ve become the “Paprika Aficionados’” of the world.

Paprika is principally used to season and color rice, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices. In North America, paprika is frequently sprinkled on dishes as garnish, but did you know the flavor is more effectively produced by heating it gently in oil? Next time you make a chili or meatloaf add a tablespoon to your recipe, you will be surprised at the depth of flavour it creates.

Smoked Spanish Paprika is available in two different versions; mild (Pimenton Dulce Ahumado) and very spicy (Pimentón Picante Ahumado.) Love Love Food now carries both varieties: mild and very spicy). Our Spanish paprika comes from Viriato, a region for which I find produces some of the best spices.

Did you know? Peppers for El Avion smoked paprikas are harvested by hand in September and smoke-dried over slow-burning oakwood for about two weeks. The smoked peppers are then sent to a mill where the stalks and the unwanted part of the core is removed, and then ground by electronically operated stone wheels, with care taken not to overheat the powder and taint the pure flavour and colour.

Love & Paprika


What is Kosher Salt?

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Back in the day when I was a Foodie newbie, I would only salt my food (cooking and ready to eat) with table salt. I found that many times my food was over salted… why? Well it’s all about learning to salt properly (with table salt or Kosher salt). Ready to eat foods are best seasoned with the table variety (but go easy on the shaker). As for the Kosher salt, this works amazingly with meat preparations and pre-cooking seasoning. Here is a little bio on Kosher salt, what it is, where and when to use it and such.

Kosher salt is best in cooking, at Love Love Food

What is Kosher salt?
This salt is a coarse-grained that chefs (and foodies) like because it’s easier to handle than ordinary table salt, and it adheres to food products better, too. And since salt is one of the most important in your seasoning arsenal of cooking, Kosher salt is definitely your best friend.

Taste difference of Kosher Salt VS Table Salt?
In table salt (which contains Iodine) you can taste a slightly metallic flavor to it, but Kosher salt is free of additives, so it has a cleaner, lighter taste.

Kosher Salt Equivalences:
In most cases, if you’re substituting table salt in a recipe that calls for Kosher salt, you should use half the amount of table salt as the recipe calls for. For instance, if a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, use 1 tablespoon of table salt instead. If you’re converting the other way, use double the amount of Kosher salt as table salt.

Kosher Salt Consistency:
While Kosher salt is much more coarse than table salt overall, there is a bit of variation in crystal size among these salts. After using a one brand for a while, you will probably start to develop a feel for how much salt you’re using. Note: if you switch brands, you might need to re-examine the quantities used as there are different levels of “saltiness” from one to another.

Kosher Salt in Baking:
Keep in mind, that because Kosher salt doesn’t always dissolve as easily as table salt, Kosher salt isn’t always the best choice for baking. I find that if you reduce the amount required by a little (by about ¼) it resolves this problem.

Using Kosher Salt:
When I boil water for vegetables, pasta or potatoes, I always salt the water generously. Not only does it add flavor to the food, but it makes the water boil hotter (bet you did not know that),your food will cook faster.