Brits Spice Up Home Cooking

Posted on: 31 March 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

There are new reasons to season as spices are making a healthy comeback to home cooking. Try our two fabulously tasty, healthy and herby recipes.

Tales of economic woe might mean we are holding back on expense by dining out less but saving money doesn't mean we have to save on quality and flavour. In fact, whilst we are eating out less as a nation, new research shows that we are also becoming more adventurous in the kitchen.

A survey by Schwartz has revealed that nearly half of us are experimenting with new flavours in food and a quarter of us are using more herbs and spices than we did a year ago.

Our favourites are basil, oregano, cinnamon, paprika, crushed chillies, ginger, curry and thyme.  Crucially, herbs and spices are also seen as a cheap way to add flavour to food.

Not only do they taste great, many naturally contain antioxidants. For example, one teaspoon of oregano contains a similar amount of antioxidants to a cup (80g) of red grapes or 80g broccoli, with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon equivalent to 80g of blueberries.

So why not try these healthy, delicious, herby and spicy recipes?

Watercress soupWatercress, Potato & Ginger Soup

Serves: 4

Preparation & Cooking Time: 30 minutes




  • 2 tbs olive oil;
  • 1 onion, finely chopped;
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped;
  • 200g new potatoes, par boiled for 15 minutes until soft;
  • 100g watercress, stalks and leaves separated;
  • 1 1/2 tsp  Schwartz Ginger Ground, Ground;
  • 600ml milk;
  • 1 1/2 tbs Schwartz Parsley Flat Leaf;
  • Schwartz Sea Salt and Pepper to season 


  1. Heat 1 tbs of the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and gently fry until softened, but do not colour.  Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. 
  2. Chop the potatoes roughly and add to the pan with potatoes, watercress stalks, ginger and milk and boil for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Season with Salt and Pepper, add the watercress leaves and half of the Parsley stir.  Pour into a blender and blend until smooth then divide between 4 bowls.
  4. Combine the remaining olive oil with the remaining Parsley and drizzle over the soup to serve.

Steak With Red Wine & Shallots

Serves: 4

Preparation & Cooking Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 sirloin steaks;
  • 1 tbs olive oil; 8 shallots, peeled and quartered;
  • 4 tbs balsamic vinegar;
  • 175ml red wine;
  • 175ml beef stock;
  • 1 1/2 tbs Schwartz Paprika;
  • 1 tsp Schwartz Thyme;
  • 1 tsp caster sugar;
  • Schwartz Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season.


  1. Season the steaks with Salt and Pepper, heat a little oil in a hot pan and fry the steaks for 3 minutes on each side.  Set aside.
  2. Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the shallots until they begin to brown.
  3. Add the vinegar, let it bubble for a minute then add the red wine, beef stock, Paprika, Thyme and sugar. Allow the pan to simmer for a few minutes until thickened slightly, then serve with the steaks. Great with green beans and chips.

For more healthy and inspiring recipe ideas, visit


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