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Spice Kitchen, The
Flavorful Recipes from Around the World
Michal Haines; photography byJacqui Blanchard

published 2009 • 7 ¾” x 9 ½” • 192 pages • full-color photos
ISBN 9781566567541 • hardback • $29.95

"In her quirky, globe-trotting book, The Spice Kitchen, Michal Haines displays a range of culinary endeavor that would dazzle the most jaded spice merchant on the Silk Road, leaping from Szechuan to Mexico to Istanbul with nary a segue. Caraway onion cheese scones follow Armenian street bread, which in turn follows Vietnamese baguettes. Born a daughter of many cultures, Haines seems every bit as happy working with cumin, sumac and coriander as she is with ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Spiced Spanish Squid, with its ground almonds, smoked paprika and allspice, reinvents the fried calamari you thought you knew, while the Spicy Chocolate Ginger Tart crosses new frontiers of chocolate with fennel, cloves, caraway and ginger."
—Weekend Edition, NPR (The 10 Best Summer Cookbooks Of 2009)

Click here to read/listen to this feature and view sample recipes.

More Reviews »

A cookbook that will undoubtedly inspire new directions in your culinary repertoire

Since the days of the Silk Road and the Spice Trail, adventurers have traversed uncharted territories purely to get their hands on spices—those highly prized, heaven-scented powders. These intriguing, fragrant delicacies have captured the minds and hearts of people for centuries.

The Spice Kitchen unlocks the best-kept secrets of culinary traditions from around the world. After 15 years running specialty food stores, talented chef Michal Haines has developed an impressive knowledge of, and genuine love affair with, these precious ingredients. From cumin-tinged curries to cardamom-laced soups; from ginger-drenched stir-fries to cinnamon-enriched desserts, she shares her passion for spices in this beautiful book.

Michal’s recipes, coupled with the stunning photography of Jacqui Blanchard, and the full A-Z guide to identifying, storing, and cooking with spices will help demystify the art of using them.

Michal Haines is a renowned New Zealand chef who has been running gourmet food stores for over 15 years. The knowledge she has accumulated, coupled with a fascination with ethnic cuisine, provided the inspiration for this book.

Jacqui Blanchard is an internationally celebrated food photographer. She most recently photographed A Cook’s Bible.


Media Reviews

"[R]ichly-layered... tour of global spices and seasonings"
—Publishers Weekly

"This marvelous book offers a user-friendly education on spices that will not only improve your culinary game show prospects but promises some very fine eating in the meantime... Michal Haines' "The Spice Kitchen" aims to make a spatula traveler out of any cook willing to dabble in the exotic. Drawing inspiration from Asia, the Middle East, India, North Africa and anywhere else that spices are used with vigor, the book presents unique yet authentic recipes designed to awaken the palate."
—The Associated Press

“If your like us—and we’re pretty sure you are—you have lots of little jars and packets and tins of random spices waiting patiently on your spice rack. These sit idle as time and again you reach for your favorite standbys. Well, Michal Haines’ "The Spice Kitchen" brings good news for those lonesome wallflowers. This beautifully illustrated guide to cooking with spices will give you plenty of reasons to reach into the back of your cupboards or to stock your shelves anew. Adventurous cooking veterans and budding foodies will appreciate Haines’ unfussy, easy-to-understand recipes.
The dishes range from simple to ornate, so whether you’re fixing a quick weeknight supper or preparing a Sunday feast, there’s a recipe to fit your mood. Check out one of the unusual Middle Eastern or Asian dishes like Armenian street bread (a spicy lamb-topped flatbread concoction flavored with cumin and sumac) or Siamese mussaman curry, an all-day affair involving chicken, coconut milk and long list of ingredients including galangal, ground mace and brown cardamom.
Readers will also find a new twist on familiar fare like recipes for midweek falafel and chicken mole negro or, sure to be popular with chileheads everywhere, “living dead stuffed chiles.” "The Spice Kitchen" offers interesting sweets as well, such as super-fast orange polenta cake laced with allspice, and the intriguing pink raisin jam, which calls for kokum, a tangy Indian flavoring completely new to us. Luckily for the reader, in addition to the beautiful pictures and unique recipes, "The Spice Kitchen" contains a detailed glossary in the back, explaining the history and origin of all the spices in the book.”
—Chile Pepper

"Haines, a New Zealand chef, is fascinated with the role spices play in different cuisines, and her first book offers international recipes inspired by her culinary travels, from Moorish Swimming Rabbit to Drunken Chicken Salad. Other titles, such as Monica Bhide’s "Modern Spice" and James Oseland’s "Cradle of Flavor", have focused on spices in specific culinary traditions; Haines’s wider-ranging book is recommended for larger collections."
—Library Journal

"If you prefer a world cruise to a visit to just one country, Interlink has also just published "The Spice Kitchen: Flavorful Recipes from Around the World" by New Zealander Michal Haines with photographs by Jacqui Blanchard.
Instead of the familiar chapter plan that moves from soup through meats and fish to desserts, Haines usefully divides her recipes by purpose. Her chapters have such titles as "Mid-Week Speed," "Luxury Sundays," and "Spiced Nights."
She culls many recipes from the spicy cuisines of the world, sometimes adapting them to modern tastes. There's an Andalusian Roasted Lamb, for example, and a Moroccan Chermoula-Baked Fish Salad. She also includes her own innovations, such as Arabian White Coffee Ice Cream, which derive from other traditions, in this case the Middle Eastern love of cardamom in coffee. Other such examples include Caraway Onion Cheese Scones and Ginger Ninja Bread.
Haines certainly has some hot dishes in this book, but the word "spice" in the title does not imply blazing mouthfuls; rather the emphasis is on using spices (and herbs) to make deeply flavorful dishes."
—Clair Hopley, Amherst Bulletin

"This is a tome for lovers of intense flavors and those who adore what Haines calls the "spice-plentiful" cuisine of the Middle East, North Africa, Mexico and Turkey (to name just a few). The glossary in the back is quite a handy encyclopedia, describing each spice used and how to store and cook with them."

“'The Spice Kitchen'... might be one of the most tempting cookbooks to be published this year.
The recipes sizzle with flavors that we think of as exotic, and indeed, spice expert Haines has included a glossary in The Spice Kitchen that is evocative reading all by itself.  She explains the difference between cassia and cinnamon, which are similar but the reddish cassia is more potent in flavor.  She describes the black limes originally from Southeast Asia, but also used in Middle Eastern cooking.  These limes have been boiled in salt water, then dried, and in the process develop a tangy flavor all their own.
Even a simple dish, such as North African Sunshine Chicken, a relatively fast meal to make, is loaded with spice, from the 18 cardamom seeds to the peppercorns, mace and cinnamon. At the end of the frying, orange blossom water is drizzled over the completed dish. No, not your everyday fried chicken recipe.
I might serve the Watermelon, Cumin Seed and Feta Salad as a first course. Pistachio seeds and arugula offer mild-and-sharp tastes to contrast with the more delicate watermelon.
From ‘mezze’ (small tastes) to desserts, and even drinks, Haines doesn’t miss a chance to extend her spice knowledge to recipe enthusiasts. If you know an adventurous cook, this book would make them a fine Christmas or birthday gift.”     

"[C]ooks are both fascinated and intimidated by the use of spices...That's where Michal Haines' new book, "The Spice Kitchen" come in...lively, entertaining, and, more to the point, meaningful...As such, it takes the reader on his or her own journey of discovery along the road to flavor...Indeed, the general information found in her introduction, along with the in-depth spice glossary at the back of the book, go a long way towards preparing the reader for that journey...her five-page spice glossary (followed by another two pages of related ingredients) is both comprehensive and clearly written...Jacqui Blanchard's photos...are, without question, drop-dead an introduction to the use of spices, it shines."

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