A guide to spices – part 2

This is the second part of our guide to the range of spices you can use in your cooking!

Our chef Josh continues to share his thoughts on the range of spices you can use to help improve your cooking – enjoy!


Most commonly associated with Caribbean cooking, allspice is made from the grinding of dried pimento berries into a powder. The central ingredient of a jerk marinate, allspice provides a unique flavour both deep and warm but also aromatic and slightly floral. It partners beautifully with thyme, chicken, red meat, chilli.

Use in: jerk chicken, stews and broths.

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds are often used at the start of a curry, left to fry until they pop!

Use in: North Indian and Pakistani curries.


Nutmeg has a sweet aromatic flavour and can be used in both savoury dishes and sweets. It is a useful spice to use if a spicy dish lacks any particular identity or flavour. Nutmeg usually comes in the form of a large seed which can be grated or as a powder – note that nutmeg is technically a seed, not a nut.

Use in: curries, breads, desserts, soups.


Popular in the West as well as the East, cinnamon provides a delicious sweet aroma which parters equally as well with sugar as it does spice. Made from the shaved bark of the cinnamon tree, it comes as either tubes of dried bark or as a powder ground from these rolls. The tubes work well when added to a stock or stew whilst cooking away for a background flavour while the powder gives a more intense flavour. Try it in everything from pastries to stir fries!

Use in: pastries, stir-frys, curries, desserts.

Star anise

Star anise usually comes in the form of a star shaped dried fruit more similar to a pod of seeds. It has an aromatic, sweet, smell which has made it a popular ingredient in both Chinese and South East Asian cuisine. You can either put a few stars into a sauce or the ground form to mix with other spices.

Use in: Chinese and South East Asian cooking.


Noted for its medicinal qualities, turmeric is good for coughs, colds, and joints but also adds colour and flavour to dishes. Often used to add a yellow hue to rice dishes, turmeric is not only a spice but also a natural die – so be careful when using  it not to stain your clothes!

Use in: Indian cooking, rice dishes, teas and herbal remedies.

Black pepper 

Black pepper is a spice native to South India and South East Asia. Freshly cracked it provides a lively heat which can cut through a plain dish whilst when cooked whole in a stew or stock in gives a softer, rounder flavour.

Use in: just about any savoury dish! 


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