As a versatile British spice blend. Mixed Spice powder combines well with both savoury and sweet applications. It is also often referred to as ‘pudding spice’ given it best compliments with baked desserts. Allspice, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and coriander put together results in this intoxicating concoction. Whenever incorporated, it lends warmth and a depth of balanced spiced flavours to your culinary creations.
Mixed spice is particularly used in delicacies whipped up during Christmas and the holiday season. It is very akin to the aromas released from the pumpkin spice and gingerbread spice blends commonly used elsewhere. To give this intoxicating mix an edge, sometimes star anise and cardamom are added. Cinnamon is generally the most prominent element in an authentic version of this aromatic mixture. However, you can play around with the ratio of each spice to suit your taste buds.
Listed here are five creative ways to incorporate mixed spice and pleasantly surprise your guests:
Spice Your Butter
Soften some butter and mix in the right amount of a combination of herbs and mixed spice to bring it to taste. A sprinkle of basil, thyme, oregano or hot paprika (for those who like a spicier kick) along with the spice blend when incorporated into the butter, takes it from the ordinary to the exotic. This buttery treat keeps well even when frozen. Just ensure you thaw it adequately before generously smearing it on hot bread for an extra indulgence.
Transform Your Homemade Bread
If you are the type who prefers to bake your own bread rather than rely on the readymade ones freely available, vary your dough. For an interesting twist, add a sprinkle of mixed herbs and mixed spice to your regular dough. Once you slice into the warm loaf of freshly baked bread, you will notice varying intriguing specks dotting the inside. Biting into it gives you an appealing taste of freshness from the herbs. Even the warmth of aromatic spices with each mouthful is simply delightful.
Liven Up Your Staple Rice
Season your everyday white rice with a teaspoon of mixed spice and another of mild herbs like thyme and tarragon. This flavourful rice can even be relished by itself with other accompaniments and does not necessarily require a gravy to complete it. Give it a try and surprise your diners with this novel take on staple rice. For sure, they will be left guessing the secret ingredients incorporated.
Make Way for a Zesty Salad
Meals are incomplete nowadays in the absence of at least one healthy component. Including fresh and vibrant salads in our daily diet compensates to some extent for our other calorie loaded indulgences. Most elements that constitute a salad can be eaten in their rawest form. Adding a dressing is the perfect way to liven up a plain salad.
Always add the salad dressing when you are ready to dig in to retain the freshness of the dish. Mixing the dressing in advance makes the overall salad lose its vibrant charm. For a zesty salad dressing, mix olive oil, white or red wine vinegar with a spoonful of mixed spice and some freshly cracked black pepper. This gives the salad a welcome zing, making it the star of the meal.
Kick it up a Notch with Spiced up Popcorn
We can all vouch for popcorn being our favourite go to snack, be it adults or children. It is so convenient today to pop the corn using a microwave which exists in every household practically. A small amount of pre-packeted corn gets transformed into a bowl full of comfort food within a matter of a few minutes.
Surprise your family and friends the next time round by adding a deliciously unique kick to plain popcorn. Toss them in some mixed spice which immediately releases some inviting aromas, tempting all to dig in. As you keep popping the small bites of goodness into your mouth, you will get hints of the wonderful spices blended to form this heavenly concoction.
To reproduce traditional British cuisine, it is beneficial to have a ready stock of mixed spice in your kitchen cabinet. For the more enterprising chefs, make your own freshly ground batch. Ideally roast the whole spices slightly before grinding them into a fine powder. Roasting helps to release their natural oils and extract their maximum goodness. The finished blend stores well when kept in an airtight container.
From puddings, breads, cakes, pies, cookies, buns to cupcakes, fruit salads, pancakes and gingerbread, there are endless ways of infusing mixed spice into your repertoire of deliciousness. Alternately, you can even use it to season your roast chicken and turkey stuffing.
Let your imagination run riot, be adventurous and step away from the norm. You may just surprise yourself with the wonders you can create with this magical culinary weapon.