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If you follow me on Twitter you probably already know which spices I am going to write about.

They are gathered from the best farms around the world and purchased at a fair price from the farmer. And, if this wasn’t enough to be fully conquered, they are brilliantly combined by the talented chef, Olivier Roellinger.

The Parisian store, that I was lucky to visit this past December, gathers numerous condiments, oils, vinegars, pure and mixed spices, cookbooks and tools. They are little jars of exceptional scents, subtleties and promises, they also reflect a lifetime of passion, travels, encounters and culinary excellence. Roellinger’s adventure as a spice maker follows a natural path for a chef who grew up and worked in the land of privateers and advanturers.

His cuisine is rooted in his native Brittany, but, since part of the world’s spice trade once passed through Brittany’s ports, he felt the need to travel extensively, often by boat, to uncover new spices and flavor combinations. His food is an interplay of familiar and exotic.

The boutiques that opened over a year ago are a tribute to the men and women who have contributed to his success. Those are the farmers, men and women who pick the spices.

For more information visit : http://www.epices-roellinger.com/

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Curry and the art of spicing

Curry powders found in grocery stores are as diverse in flavor as are the origins given to the word “curry”. While in Britain, “curry” means almost any Indian dish, most people from the Indian sub-continent would say it is not a word they use. Some believe that the word holds its origin in the Tamil word kari, others believe that it derives from the French word “cuire” which means “to cook”. No matter what the history of the word is, for the curious and adventurous cook, curry is a great opportunity to be creative and thoughtful. Coriander, turmeric, cumin, mustard seed, red pepper, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, garlic, fennel seeds, caraway etc. are just a few examples of the spices you can use to make your own concoction.

When mixing spices, one rule to keep in mind is to start with equal amounts of flavor, not volume. Some spices are stronger because they naturally release a stronger scent, others simply have a longer shelve life. Once the spice’s strength and proportions are determined, then you can start thinking of both your personal preferences and the other (main) ingredients of the recipe that you are preparing.

At Baumé Restaurant, we make our own custom curry powders that we weave subtly into dishes inspired from Asian Cuisine. For example, in the “New Caledonia Prawn, Peanut and Thai Curry”- my personal interpretation of Pad Thai – I use two different types of curry sauces, one red and warm, the other green and frozen mixed with lime pulp to accentuate its flavor.  Each curry complements one part of the recipe, and they work really well together, without overpowering the main ingredients.

For those of you who would like some guidance to start practicing, I would like to share two curry recipes :

Red Curry Powder:

1 part Garam Masala

1 part Red Chili Powder

½ part Paprika

Use dry as a seasoning for meats and vegetables, or mix with lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and water to make a sauce

Green Curry Paste:

Ingredients :

1 cup shallots (loosely-chopped)

10 cloves of garlic

1 cup ginger (loosely-chopped)

1 cup  lemongrass (loosely-chopped)

½ cup jalapeños (loosely-chopped)

½ cup grapeseed Oil

6 Kaffir lime leaves

1 cup yogurt

2 Tbs coriander

1 Tbs cumin

1 Tbs white Pepper

2 bunches cilantro, (loosely-chopped)

1 Tbs shrimp Paste

3 ea lime Juice

Sugar, Salt To Taste

Steps :

Cook the shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and jalapenos in the oil over low heat until they are well broken down

Add the lime leaves and the yogurt and remove from the heat

Separately, toast the cumin, coriander, and white pepper until fragrant

Add to curry along with cilantro and stir

Allow mixture to cool

Blend in mixer until smooth

Pass through a sieve to remove fibrous material

Season to taste with lime juice, sugar and salt

This curry past may be used as a marinade for meats, vegetables, tofu, etc. It can be thinned with water to use as a sauce.

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