Buy herbs and spices online - they are essential for making authentic world dishes or simply elevating your everyday meals. Add dried herbs and spices to sauces and stews and let their flavours infuse through a dish, or sprinkle over finished dishes for more intense flavour.
How to choose herbs & spices?
First check through all the spices in your storecupboard, and throw away anything that is out of date. Yes, they are probably still be ok to eat, but the flavour will much weaker, so that when a recipe suggests 1tsp, you'll probably need to be adding 1-2tbsp to get the same taste.
Fresh herbs are not always best. Some dried herbs really come into their own and add another dimension of flavour - sometimes even used alongside the fresh herbs. Try dried mint in salad dressings, Turkish-inspired tomato sauces, or even sprinkled over yoghurt-y pasta. Dried oregano is a classic in both Mexican and Italian sauces.
How to cook with herbs & spices?
Toast whole spices to release their aromas and essential oils, then crush and add to curry pastes or stir fry sauces. Freshly ground spices have heaps more flavour - so if you have a spice grinder and you're able to take more time over cooking, it's certainly worth grinding your own.
Whole spices are often added at the start of cooking a curry, and ground spices are usually added later in cooking. People tend to be divided on how they feel finding a whole clove or cinnamon stick in their meal - for the less eagle-eyed guests, you can pick them out before serving.
Use ground spices in rubs and marinades mixed with a little fine salt or sugar, or sprinkle your favourite spice over potatoes and vegetables to bring everyday dishes to life.
Dried herbs are usually best when they have been rehydrated. Either add to a sauce or stew during cooking, or even fry in a little butter before drizzling over your dish - this is particularly great for aleppo pepper, rich red paprika or dried mint.