Search This Blog

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Lessons Learnt from a Recall

Last week, one of our prized products, Asafoetida - gluten and grain free was recalled due to presence of gluten in the product (if you bought this product, please contact us). This is the first time we have ever encountered such an incident (or any negative comments) on any of our products and needless to say it has been tough to deal with emotionally and practically.

I have spent years building up my company's reputation and innovating products for the Canadian market never before done so the revelation that the award winning Asafoetida was compromised was very disappointing to me on many levels. For those that know me know I am a perfectionist and so to share this so openly is also quite hard for me to do but it is important that we give as much transparency as we can especially when we are supported by customers who have praised us for the speed at which we are working on the recall and those who continue to state their loyalty to our brand.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and if nothing else, this unfortunate incident has served as a reminder that the smaller the business the more you have to protect so one has to manage all risks. 

In working through the requirements to deal with this recall, I have been asked some questions which I want to take a moment to answer here as to how we are moving forward.

Why is this product being labelled as gluten free if it is not?

Asafoetida is inherently NOT gluten free which is why we worked with our farmer direct suppliers to formulate one that is gluten free. Our labels were CFIA approved and we had documentation at the time of purchase that showed the product was gluten free. However, what has transpired is something we are taking very seriously as we need to know where and how this contamination has occurred and as such we are carrying out further independent testing and investigating further with all concerned parties whose integrity we rely upon in turn. 

We employ many measures to manage this operational risk but will be looking to implement new measures too.

How are you ensuring you reach as many customers as possible who bought the asafoetida?

Our small batch production promise means that we minimize the number of units we offer for sale of any one batch of product. This enables us to trace back to every online customer that bought this product and the retail stores we wholesaled it to. The benefits of this also mean:

  • In the event of a recall, it is slightly easier for us to deal with all the requirements and implications
  • As a small business the economic impact of a recall would be mitigated to some extent; and
  • We are controlling the reach of affected consumers with each batch.

Will you be bringing another batch of this gluten free asafoetida?

Right now our main focus is dealing with this recall as expeditiously as we can. That said, we remain committed to delivering the freshest and highest quality products to our discerning customers and so we will be bringing a new batch of asafoetida (either in the same formulation or a revised one if necessary) to the market but only once we are fully satisfied that it is indeed free from gluten and meets all of our other requirements.

On behalf of Spice Sanctuary, please accept our sincerest apologies if you were affected by this recall. Your custom is important to us and we certainly hope to serve you again.

Friday, 12 June 2015

This Summer's Top 3 Cooling Drinks

Summer certainly seems to have come early this year (not that I am complaining!) but this does mean we will be on the hunt for ways to stay cool and keep our body temperature regulated both during the day and at night.

In India where temperatures soar during the summer months, yogurt is often used to make drinks known as lassi's to help people stay cool. Yogurt is naturally cooling on both the digestive system and body generally and when added to water, it becomes a great hydrating drink to quench that thirst!

A Traditional Lassi is usually savory, seasoned with cumin, salt or cilantro or all of these things. I have put a more middle eastern twist on this first recipe with sumac, another spice known for its cooling properties.

Serves 2

1/2 cup greek yogurt (full fat please!)
100 ml cold water
1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary cumin ground
1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary sumac

Mix all ingredients in a blender and drink cold!

My second version of lassi is using watermelon, another cooling ingredient in itself and buttermilk. Buttermilk is essentially a fermented milk drink with acidity in its taste which actually benefits the gut as it acts like a probiotic. For a little exoticness, I've added rose water into the mix to further boost the cooling nature of this delicious drink! And for spice, I chose fennel seeds and fresh mint. Both of these work on the digestive systems, dispersing the heat away from there and also cooling the body down too. So much of our body heat and internal heat resides in our gut and it is important to cool this area down as much as any other.

Watermelon Mint & Rose Lassi

Serves 2

1 cup watermelon chunks
2   fresh mint leaves
1/2 tsp Rose water
200ml Buttermilk (or you could also use kefir as an alternative probiotic)

Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy cold over ice.

Last but not least, since the base of lassi is always dairy based, I would be remiss if I didn't create a recipe suitable for those with lactose intolerances. 

This Peach and Pistachio Lassi is quite rich and decadent and so easy to make.

Serves 1

100-125 ml cold Pistachio milk (made from pistachios and water, blended and strained - no need to soak)
1 Peach, cut into chunks with skin on
drizzle maple syrup to taste

Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy immediately!

There you have it, 3 easy ways to help you sip on something cool this summer and guaranteed to be patio pleasers too!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Anti-Inflammatory Banana Bread

Ahhh Spring is in the air (or at least it should be!) and it's time to get rid of those cobwebs and surplus things around the house with some spring cleaning. But have you ever thought our bodies may also need a spring cleaning to stretch out those joints and muscles and aches and pains that have been harbouring within through the winter?

Whether you've had a cold or joint pains, inflammation is so common and lately I have become a bit of an obsessive about boosting my immunity and reducing inflammation. The one spice that speaks (or shouts, depending on how many clinical studies you have read) is Turmeric! I have been using it a lot (well more than usual for a Spice Queen!) in Golden Milk and more recently in the sweeter things in life.

We all know that sugar is an inflammatory food but, like anyone, I get cravings for that something sweet or  even cake, so I decided that I needed to face my baking demons (I am not a baker at all) to create something that would satisfy the craving but also use ingredients that help against inflammation.

Bananas, Nuts, Spices including True or Ceylon Cinnamon, Gluten Free flour and no refined sugars and voila, here's a banana bread that is both guilt free and tasty!

Gluten Free; Dairy Free; Vegan ; Sugar Free

2 cups Almond Milk (unsweetened)
2 frozen or really ripe bananas
3 Tbsp Apple Sauce (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda (aluminium free)
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1/2 tsp Spice Sanctuary Cardamom Ground
1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary True Cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped walnut pieces
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 Tsp Spice Sanctuary Turmeric
6 twists of Spice Sanctuary Peppermill Pizzazz Spice Blend (or 1/4 tsp if manually grinding)

How to Make:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and grease a loaf pan with some melted coconut oil or line with parchment paper.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas and add in the wet ingredients: almond milk, apple sauce and vanilla extract and mix well.
3. In another bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients except for the coconut oil, turmeric and peppermill pizzazz.
4. Slowly combine the dry ingredients in with the wet until you get a fairly thick batter.
5. Melt the coconut oil and add in the turmeric and peppermill mix into the oil and combine well so that the anti-inflammatory properties get to work.
6. Now, add in the turmeric mixture into the batter and fold in really well.
7. Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
8. Allow the bread to cool before turning out. If you're feeling adventurous, you can ice the bread with my chocolate dipper sauce.

How to Enjoy:

You can cut into slices or squares and enjoy this guilt free with a cup of Golden Milk for a real turmeric boost or with any herbal tea!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Cinnamon Sweetheart Pancakes

One week away from Valentine's Day and I was invited back to Global Calgary to talk cinnamon and showcase a healthy pancake recipe perfect for sharing with your sweetheart!

There are a multitude of reasons why we should be incorporating more cinnamon into our diets but very few people know the differences between different types of cinnamon and which one is actually better for you. True Cinnamon is our bestselling spice and always receives stellar reviews from customers. To find out why you need it, click here to watch the segment and read more here.

It's time to share that recipe so that you can plan an extra sweet and healthy Valentine's Day breakfast for your sweetheart!

Cinnamon Sweetheart Pancakes
(gluten free)
(makes 12)

1 cup    Brown rice flour
1/2 cup Urad dal flour (found in most Indian grocery stores or ethnic sections in supermarkets)
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda (aluminium free)
1 Tsp    Spice Sanctuary Coorg Bold Cardamom Ground  (a known aphrodisiac)
10        Strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
400 ml Water
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder (undutched preferably)
1 Tsp   Spice Sanctuary True Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Spice Sanctuary Sweet Delight Spice Blend (optional)
Coconut oil
Maple Syrup

How to Make:
1. Combine the flours, baking soda and cardamom in a bowl and mix well.
2. In a pan, reduce the strawberries down in about 100ml water on a medium heat until the berries soften and it is almost a puree consistency. 
3. Add the reduced strawberries into the dry mixture and add the remaining water and whisk into a smooth fairly thick batter. If you need to add more water, do so.
4. Lightly grease the inside of your heart moulds, if using, and heat a little coconut oil in a non stick frying pan on a medium heat. Ladle enough batter to fill up the mould or one ladle to make a round pancake. 
5. As soon as the outer edges start browning and you see holes perforating through, gently flip pancakes over. If you are using a mold, gently prize the edges away from the mold, lift the mold away before flipping the pancake.
6. Cook the pancake for another minute or so. Repeat until all the batter is used up. The batter will also keep in the fridge for a few days.

How to Enjoy:
When you are ready to serve, mix together the cocoa powder and remaining spices, using a sieve, sift the mixture generously over the pancakes and drizzle with some maple syrup.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Spice Detox with Golden Milk Tea

2015 is here and it's going to be a great year so why not start the year as you mean to go on or at least try!! Ever since coming back from Vietnam (more on that trip later!) I have been feeling a little sluggish and was inspired to create a Spice Queen version of a drink my Mum used to give me as a child to get me over my winter ailments and blues.

Golden Milk is a traditional Ayurvedic drink made with turmeric and milk and then different variations of spices after that, used both for cleansing and improving immunity against colds and flu.

The colouring agent, curcumin, in turmeric, the key spice in this recipe, helps increase bile production which the liver needs to eliminate toxins from our bodies. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and so works the digestive system too which is equally important in detoxing. It is important that the better the curcumin content the more effective using turmeric for this purpose will be.

The response I received from viewers when I demonstrated this recipe on TV recently was amazing so here is the recipe that will get you addicted to this beautiful golden healthy drink!

Ingredients (Serves 1):
1 Cup Almond or Organic Milk
1 tsp  Spice Sanctuary Turmeric ( known as a liver cleanser)
1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary Coorg Bold Cardamom Ground (a good diuretic and good for digestion)
1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary Ginger Powder (known to help blood flow and digestion)
pinch   Spice Sanctuary Saffron (known to help cleanse the liver)
1 tsp   Organic Coconut Oil
Honey to taste
How to Make:
1. Pour the milk and spices into a blender. Blend together for a minute or half that time if you have a high speed blender.
2. Next, transfer to a saucepan, add the coconut oil and honey and bring the milk to a boil on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
How to Enjoy:
1. Drink this golden deliciousness immediately and preferably first thing in the morning and at least an hour before bedtime. If the spices leave a residue on the bottom of your cup, give it a stir as you're drinking.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Chai Spiced Party Punch

The theme for this past weekend's TV segment on Global Calgary was a Chai Spiced Party Punch. Originating from India, Punch derived its name from the Hindi word "panch" meaning five. Traditionally this drink was made up of sugar, water, lemon, spices and other fruit juices. When it was subsequently transported to England and other western countries, it started taking on many other forms.

To stay true to this versatile and easy to make party drink, I wanted to create a recipe using five healthy and delicious ingredients, one of them obviously being spices!

Watch the video here to catch more of my personal tips on when to use whole versus ground spices and how to get more out of using your spices with one simple storing tip!

Chai is also traditionally Indian and means "tea" but in modern times we relate it to more of a spiced tea made up of warming and digestion enhancing spices. The below versions allow for both a caffeine free version and not.

Chai Spiced Party Punch

Serves 2-4


2 cups of no added sugar Apple Juice
1 cup of no added sugar Pineapple Juice
5 Spice Sanctuary Coorg Cardamom Pods, slightly cracked open
6 Spice Sanctuary Cloves
1 Tbsp  Unrefined organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Tsp Spice Sanctuary Ginger Powder
1/4 Tsp Spice Sanctuary Nutmeg Ground
1/2 Tsp Spice Sanctuary True Cinnamon 
1/4 Tsp Spice Sanctuary Coorg Cardamom Ground Seeds
1 cup  Coconut Water or brewed black tea
1-2 measures of Rum or Brandy (optional)
Lemon and Orange Wedges to garnish

How to Make:

1. Pour the apple and pineapple juices into a pan and add in the whole spices and a few twists of a good black pepper. Bring to a boil.
2. Next, add in the apple cider vinegar and remaining spices and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes to fully allow the spices to both infuse and impart into the juices.

How to Enjoy:

1. If serving cold, let the spiced juice cool completely before, straining into a punch bowl and then adding in some cold and naturally sweetened coconut water and (alcohol) adding the citrus slices to garnish. The longer you leave the spices in the juice, the better!
2. If serving hot, turn off the heat and add in a cup of brewed black tea, before straining, adding in the alcohol and transferring into a crock pot, adding the citrus slices and keeping it warm.

The name says party but really you can enjoy this anytime!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Delicious Appetizers With A Twist of Spice!

With the Holiday Season well underway, there is always so much to do and prepare for that it becomes more stressful than enjoyable when entertaining. The key to any dish is pairing ingredients that go really well together and then adding flavouring that also pairs with those ingredients too which is where I come in! So why not keep it simple yet delicious this year and take a little inspiration from my three appetizer ideas with a twist of spice!

You can watch the TV segment featuring these gorgeous creations here:

Gluten Free Friendly

Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Try these and let me know which one was the show of your party!