Category: Big 5 Pepper Steak Rub

Grapefruit, Thyme and Pepper Cocktail aka the Mexican Standoff (Spice Peddler)

Ay Carumba this was good!!!

Spice Peddler Grapefruit, Thyme and Pepper Cocktail

Yeah, not for me the humblebrag…This was awesome!

I was really worried that it would be an epic fail…It was the garlic in the spice rub that threw me, how would that work in a cocktail? However, in the end the strong flavour in the simple syrup was the thyme with the pepper and spices providing more of a background notes and warmth.  (Yes, I’ve been reading wine labels again!)

I based this on a recipe from Martha Stewart which you can find here.

I also used tequila not vodka.  Just because I had some that has sat on my drinks trolley for about 10 years.  Seriously.  I think it was given to me as a housewarming present for the last house I moved into.

The all important drinks trolley

I really, really wanted to use the Spice Peddler Big 5 mix in a cocktail but I  thought it would be better to infuse the mix into the simple syrup.  So, I mixed a teaspoon of the pepper mix into the sugar and water, and then I threw the thyme in as well to make a thyme and pepper simple syrup.  Dammit, I should have thrown the grapefruit rind in as well…ah well, next time! Maybe some chilli too…


Grapefruit, Thyme and Pepper Cocktail

Then I kind of completely forgot about it as we were trying to hang some pictures in the new house and either the beloved or I have a skewed view of reality because it took us over 30 minutes and the use of  spirit level before we could agree that a painting was straight….and this was before we started on the cocktails.

Thyme and Black Pepper Simple Syrup
Thyme and Black Pepper Simple Syrup

So what I ended up with was the thick black syrup you can see in the photo above.  What you can’t get from the photo is that this mix of thyme, sugar and pepper smelled ridiculously like marijuana.

Or so I was told.

By the complete stranger who just  happened to knock on the door at that exact moment.  Then disappeared equally as quickly.  Didn’t catch his name, Officer.  So sorry.

Which in turn reminded me of something that never happened and is a total figment of my overactive imagination.

So imagine if hypothetically you turned up unannounced at your parent’s house.  And the imagine that said house smelled overwhelmingly of….erm…thyme and pepper infused simple syrup.  And imagine they were being a little silly and giggly.

Move over Quentin Tarantino, I think I just bested you in the Mexican Standoff stakes…

The  problem with accusing your parents of  “imbibing the thyme and pepper simple syrup”  is that then then they know that you are also familiar with “thyme and pepper simple syrup”.

So, what do you do?

Borrow the drill you came to get and GTFO of Dodge is what.

Cos, you know  possibly they were also just  making cocktails.

I mean, if that had ever happened.

Which it didn’t.

Grapefruit, Thyme and Pepper Cocktail3
Grapefruit, Thyme and Pepper Cocktail3

Wow, this post is making my head spin.  What will not make your head spin, or spin only in the right way is this cocktail.  Which is super. – tangy from the grapefruit ,zingy from the pepper, aromatic and resiny from the thyme….

Drink it, enjoy, have a fabulous, fantastic Christmas everyone!

Special thanks to Mercy and the team at The Spice Peddlers for their trust and belief in me.

And major thanks to everyone for reading and your kind words over the year.

Without you, this would just be fun.

With you,  it’s super awesome.


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Friday Night – Pepperoni Pizza with Mozzarella and Mint (Spice Peddlers)

Hands up who loves a pizza on a Friday night?

Just as I suspected. Everyone

(If you didn’t put your hands up, you’re dead to me)

Chef Boy-ar-dee Pizza
Chef Boy-ar-dee Pizza

And what’s better than a pepperoni pizza?  Nothing!Except maybe this:

Vintage Pizza Party 3
Vintage Pizza Party 3

And what’s better than this recipe for Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Mint  Pizza?  Absolutely nothing! Although The Gaylords come a very close second.

I adapted this recipe from My Table: Food for Entertaining by Pete Evans, mainly just to make it a bit quicker.  I’m far too lazy to make pizza dough on a Friday night so my base of choice is pita bread and I use a bought tomato paste mixed with some garlic and herbs for the base. If you want to be entirely DIY, Pete’s recipe is here.

Pepperoni Pizza with Bocconcini, Olives and Mint
Pepperoni Pizza with Bocconcini, Olives and Mint

My quick version is here:

"Pepper"oni, Mozzarella & Mint Pizza

This is so good – the combination of the pepper mix and the mint just lift this out of normal pizza realm into a taste sensation that wil get your tastebuds dancing just like the hipster groovers in the photo below.

Vintage Pizza Party Chef Boy-Ar-Dee
Vintage Pizza Party Chef Boy-Ar-Dee

And if that plain old thing got them going,  I guess my version would have had them doing a bit of this…

Or maybe some of this:


Just not this…

Yep, this is Friday night perfection on a plate!

Pepperoni Pizza with Mozzarella and Mint
Pepperoni Pizza with Mozzarella and Mint

Yay, it’s Christmas!  I’ll celebrate with a very special cocktail next time round.

Have a great week!

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Rolling, Rolling Rolling…Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Daring Kitchen & Spice Peddler recipe)

I’ve been doing some wicked multitasking over the last few weeks – moving house has taken up just about all the time, energy, patience  and sanity I had left…which, particularly in the case of the last two was not a huge amount to begin with.

So, how to get through the move, life in general,  and a couple of cooking challenges for the month? Multitasking is how.  November’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge had us on a roll! Olga from challenged us to make stuffed cabbage rolls using her Ukrainian heritage to inspire us. Filled with meat, fish or vegetables, flexibility and creativity were the name of the game to get us rolling!

The Spice Peddlers this month sent their Big 5 Pepper Steak Rub which consists of black, green, white, pink, Szechuan and Tasmanian pepper plus cardamom, garlic salt, nutmeg and cloves.  This is a delicious blend which should by no means be limited to Pepper Steaks…although, having said that, it would be pretty great used like that.

Cabbage Rolls 2

So, the basic recipe for the cabbage rolls can be found here along with a vegetarian and a fish version which I am just itching to try!

I made some changes to the original recipe.  I’m not a huge fan of pork so I used lamb mince as my meat of choice.  I also added a teaspoon of the Big 5 Pepper Steak rub into the lamb mixture.

DSC00278When I made my rolls, I had a quite a bit of the meat mix left so I made up some meatballs and lightly fried them up before adding them to the pan with the rolls.  As I was frying them up, I also sprinkled more of the Pepper Mix into the pan so the meatballs picked up the pepper mix and got a kind of crunchy peppery coating on them.  Delish!!!


Then into the oven with tomato sauce, another light sprinkle of the Pepper Mix and some salt to finish and a lovely hearty meal was had by all.

Perfect timing too because, whilst Melbourne’s weather cannot compare with the Ukraine, it has been an unusually cold summer and the cabbage rolls and a glass of red were the perfect accompaniment to a chilly night where we had to put the fire on!  The warming spices in the Big 5 Pepper Rub were a perfect blend for this hearty and warming dish.

Stufffed Cabbage Rolls
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This wasn’t the quickest of things to make as it has many moving parts – pre-cooking the cabbage, and the rice, making the filling and the tomato sauce, then the baking all takes time.  However, no single  part is difficult and it is delicious and was as good, if not better when re-heated for lunch the following day

Also, I used half the quantity in the given recipe and, as you can see, it made a huge amount….

Meantime, i was inspired by this recipe’s Ukrainian heritage to have a look at some of the great old posters produced in the Eastern bloc…

I think this is the one that insprisred the Franz Ferdinand cd cover:

1920’s Communist Poster
Franz Ferdinand

These are some awesome Polish movie posters:

Polish Movie Posters

And this is apparently an anti-drinking message…yep, I’ve had mornings where my head felt like that too…

Last month’s Bloody Mary was kind of a hit so I’m going to be spending the new few days thinking about how I can incorporate the Big 5 Pepper Steak Rub into a cocktail…stay tuned!

Have a great week!

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