Now just another commonplace item in the supermarket aisle, spices have played a dramatic role in the history of the world. The insatiable hunt for pepper, cloves, cinnamon and other exotic flavours drove exploration and trade, piracy and colonization, created fortunes and toppled empires.
Fresh spices still hold some of their timeless magic in the kitchen as they transform food from mere ingredients into cuisine. Join Wes Allen as he guides you through several classic spice blends from around the world and introduces the art of creating your own spice mixes from scratch.
Ras el Hanout – Every Moroccan spice merchant had their own signature blend, the “Head of the Shop”, some of which could contain upwards of 50 ingredients. Essental to tagines and authentic couscous.
Curry Powder – few cuisines use as much or as many spices as Indian cooking, and the personal and regional variation on this quintessentially Indian blend are virtually infinite.
Chinese Five Spice – a distinctive traditional blend widely used in BBQ, stocks, braises and stir-fries throughout China and Asia.
Old Bay Seasoning – considered by many to be the only appropriate seasoning for a true New England crab boil, this versatile seasoning is great with a variety of seafood dishes.
Wes’ BBQ Grill Rub – Wes shares his personal recipe for the summer BBQ.
The workshop will include some light snacks featuring the spice blends: couscous with ras el hanout, curried red lentils (dal), stir-fried greens with 5 spice and sesame oil, shrimp with Old Bay aioli, and chicken or veg mini-kebabs with Wes’ Grill Rub.
Participants will get to make all 5 mixes and take home samples of each, as well as a full bottle of their own signature mix. Additional bottles of these spice blends will be available for sale at a discounted price of $5, as quantities permit. Recipes for the spice blends and the dishes will also be included.
Wes Allen hosts popup brunch and southern barbecue events in his backyard and has been a vendor at the Toronto Underground Market selling home made spice blends.