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CULINARY OBSESSIONS

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Like most cooks I tend to become incredibly obsessive about certain ingredients and at times, I must admit that I have a tendency to overuse them and throw into almost every recipe that I’m creating. Over the last couple of years I’ve fallen totally in love with Ras el Hanout, a prized Moroccan spice mixture that can contain up to 100 different spices and is traditionally used to flavour couscous, rice, meat and vegetable dishes; like garam masala, the mixture of spices in ras el hanout depends on the maker and the spices available, but may include cardamom, cayenne, aniseed, nutmeg, mace, ginger, galangal or even dried ground rosebuds.

The spice of life

I recently returned from a fantastic trip to India and was lucky enough to spend a few days on a spice plantation. As a chef, it was incredibly inspiring to see exactly where all the spices that we use everyday actually from and how they are produced.
Spices were among the first of many foods brought back to Europe from the east by Marco polo and encouraged the early voyages of Columbus and Vasco Da Gama, who succeeded in rounding the Cape of Good Hope and crossing the Indian Ocean to calicot on the coast of India.