Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Spice Jars

 Its only right to end the January Kitchenalia blog posts with spice jars.

I saved up for these stackable Tower Spice Jars when I got my first job after graduating.  I have had many other jobs before.  Jobs before going to University, jobs during University, but none of them fairly paid until I acquired my University degree.   Ah those were the days, when I had some disposable income, now the University degree seems ...well not worth being considered as employers want additional qualifications.  

Back to these stackable acrylic spice Jar Tower. They came in six. I purchased 8 sets all together. The spice containers hold up 100g. They came with labels that were pretty useless as you can't see to read them properly. Click on image and you'll see what I mean, so in some cases I've hand written the labels myself.    Oh I should point out that you can't get a teaspoon into them, but that okay as they come with sprinkler lids. 
As well as these everyday spice jars, I do also have larger glass jars, kilner jars such as these that hold masses of spices. and stay out of direct sunlight.  The ones above grace my kitchen.  You may recognise from seeing them in my video of my tiny kitchen early this month. 

I dry some of my own hardy herbs: sage, tarragon and thyme.  The one that does not work so well is rosemary. I do prefer to use fresh rosemary, but sometimes I bring it up for Rosemary and Chilli Popcorn and it dries naturally in the warmth of the kitchen, so I reserve it in one of these jars - but when I come to use it - its disappointing - dry and flavourless like twig.  Sadly I won't be taking my rosemary herb plant with me, or any other herb plant with me when we move to Wales.  I am a little disappointed about that, especially having watch them grow and thrive.  The only plant that D will bring back on his return will be the Blueberry plant that has begun to flourish in the past two years.  There is no way I am leaving that.

Talking of spices, I've made a 'Garam Masala Infused Black Bean and Roasted Butternut Squash' for tonight.  This is an attempt to use up ingredients in the cupboards.  No photograph to share, but here is the recipe.  Its a bit like a Vegetarian Chilli but with South Asian spices. And don't laugh, upon serving it I decided it needed a little green, well having no fresh coriander or parsley in the fridge, I decided to finely mince up some lettuce leaves.  I think it did the visual trick if nothing else.

Garam Masala Infused Black Beans and Roasted Butternut Squash
Serves 4 -6 with plain Basmati rice
200g dried black beans, soaked and drained
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite size cubes
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 pint water or vegetable stock
1 x 400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place the beans in plenty of water to cover in a saucepan and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes to1 hour until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the squash on a baking tray with a teaspoon of olive oil and roast in oven at gas mark 6 for 20 – 25 minutes until tender. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 10minutes or until tender. Add the spices and allow to infuse with the onions, then stir in the tomato paste along with the water or stock if using and season to taste.  Simmer gently for about 20 minutes on medium low heat for the flavours to infuse, then stir in the black beans, chickpeas and squash and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally


  1. Great little spice jars! I always forget what spices I have. The other day I was sorting out a few cupboards in the kitchen, and must have had 3 or 4 jars of about 5 different spices!! I really need to plan better to use them.

    1. James - so good to hear from you.
      Yeah you should check the sell by date on those jars too, bet some of them are due for the bin :)

  2. Oooh Shaheen, our spice collection has grown organically. It's about 5 different systems pushed together with lots of overflow bags with clips on. Happy flitting.

  3. This recipe sounds incredible! Love the spices. And those jars- what a great way to organize them! I think I need some!

  4. Can you believe January has gone! I know what you mean about rosemary I so prefer it fresh. Shame about not being able to take your herbs as well as the blueberry bush but it sounds like produce will be plentiful in Wales.

    1. Thanks Magnolia. Yeah I am a bit disappointed about leaving the thriving herbs behind :( but hopefully I will be able to grow grow grow well in Wales.

  5. Hi Shaheen you have been tagged.

    1. Thank you so much Magnolia. I was tagged by The Cookie Jar for the same event. I would love to participate, but don't think I will be able to - I hope you will forgive me, maybe next time :)

    2. How popular are you! No problems. Waiting to see what you cook up in your new kitchen.

  6. Shaheen - I have really enjoyed this look through your kitchen cupboards. I can't wait to see pictures of the new kitchen. Xxxx

    1. Thanks Fran.
      The new kitchen. Its bigger than this one for sure, so some things can def be displayed and showed off!!!

  7. What a shame you can't bring your herbs to your new home.

    Luckily for me the one thing that survived the polytunnel being damaged by the high winds was my little over-wintering herb bed, so mine are definitely coming, at the moment they are in temporary residence by the window in the shed....reminds me must water them today.

    I do have rather too many Rosemary plants, but I love them soooo much I buy one whenever I see them at Farmers Markets or car boots, just so I walk round smelling them....I know...so sad!!

    Good Luck with your move. Our computer goes this weekend, the first thing we are setting up is the office, so I'll be Blogging from the new house, hopefully, next week.

    Sue xx

    1. Hi Sue,
      Yeah I know :(

      Nothing sad with smelling fresh herbs. I loved my smelling my lemon verbena until I neglected it and it died out in the cold.

      Moving officially next week - internet connection being cut off this weekend. Don't know when I will be back blogging, but I know you'll be blogging before me. Take care with your home move x

  8. These are lovely Shaheen. I need to update my spice jar collection (or lack thereof!).

  9. Lovely recipe for butternut squash.I'm lost many a times on how to use squash and this looks like a good one to try!Good luck with your move and thanks for visiting my blog :)

  10. I love spices........I hate spices!!!! Their perfumes intice me to bring them home and then the evil spice closet buries them somewhere in the back..........never to be seen again.I have tried so many ways to store them and have not found a suitable solution yet. The recipe looks great I know I have garam marsala.......... somewhere in there

  11. Cool to know you have so many spices stacked up. Here in India we generally have one big circular spice box with several smaller circular cups each carrying a different spice.

    Let me see if I can send you the image of the one in our house.

    1. Hi Sri,
      Shhhh - don't tell anyone, but Guess what I have three of those cicular spice jars. Two made out of wood and one out of brass metal I think. The wooden ones are for display, because they are just sooo pretty and the brass metal one I tend to take them when visiting friends who lack spices in their home and I am expected to cook - even though I am the guest. Ah I don't mind now and again.
      I'd still love to see yours.

    2. I have mailed the images of mine to you. you can see it any old time you want.

      Its wonderful that you have a circular spice box too - the way spices were meant to be kept.

    3. Thanks Sri,
      I've received them. Thank you for sharing. Its very different from what i imagined. I will have to share with you mine in the near future too. Take care.

  12. love that pic of your spice jars - spices are so gorgeous! but storing them is one of those time old puzzles - I have a motley assortment of jars that could improve but it works enough at the moment


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