I think most people have, at stage in their life or another, taken possession of a pre-filled spice rack, or spice carousel. They always seem such a cracking idea when you have limited space; or perhaps it was a gift; or perhaps you once had a really useful one and keep imagining that the one you get today will be its equal.
I bought a cabinet of Barts Spices from Lakeland, somewhere back in the 1980s, around the time I got my first flat. It was fabulous, with, I think, 70 herbs and spices as well as space for extra stuff. I hung it proudly on the wall in three, perhaps four kitchens. Friends enthused over it, and one friend eventually gave it a new home when I had no suitable wall space in flat number five or six. Of course, by then, none of the original contents was left. Some of the jars had been refilled time and again; others had been relabelled to reflect new enthusiasms. I am not sure that to this day Barts does a small jar of Kalanji seeds, but I used to have one. If I ever find a picture of the old cabinet, I’ll add it here. [Sadly, neither Barts nor Lakeland have stocked anything similar since then.]
So, in our then-new flat, all the spices and herbs had to go on a shelf in one of the kitchen cabinets. Even with careful stacking, they took up an entire shelf, and had horrid tendency to fall out when you weren’t expecting it – or if you tried to reach the big jar of peppercorns right at the back. So I decided get a spice rack by the cooker for what I used every day.
Oh, how we laughed! First, it costs about 90 per cent of the price of a pre-filled rack to buy an empty one, and then most jars don’t come with small shaker/big shaker tops, and so on, and so on. I think my dear OH and I must have looked at about 20 before we finally settled on one – pre-filled, of course. And it was fine. And we did use most of the stuff most days, and the stack in the cupboard must have shrunk by, oh, two or three jars. I’m sure it did.
I think that particular carousel is on its way from the UK to Oman in a container, or it may be in the loft; whatever, the herbs and spices either have been binned, or will need to be when I next see it.
So, there we were in Dubai with a jar of Basil, one of Garam Masala and one of Curry Powder and no big shelf to fill with extra jars. So, after only three or four trips to look at what was available, a second carousel was purchased. It’s quite nice, I think, and doesn’t take up that much space on the kitchen work surface. (This was a bigger problem in Dubai that it is here in Muscat, but I still want to reduce clutter as much as possible.)
It’s quite cute and doesn’t take up too much space
But the sharp-eyed among you will have noticed the little shelves at the back. The project is, if not broken, then a bit bent already. I have spices and herbs not represented in the little carousel that I use, often.
So this is the plan. To tidy the kitchen, expand the menu options and give you lovely people something to read, if you would like to. I am going to find recipes to use all the herbs in the rack(s) – if the other one appears in the packing – that I haven’t used so far and share my thoughts on them with you. If the recipes are good, the herbs or spices will get replaced. If not, they go to make way for things I do use.
Here’s hoping this turns out to be fun.