A new food start up based in Surrey selling a range of beautifully balanced spice mixes.
I met Sarah Lazell on twitter! It’s been a brilliant place to meet and connect with other Surrey based food lovers. Sarah sent me some samples
to try and then a few weeks later we decided to meet in a lovely independent teashop, in Reigate. Meeting people behind the brands is a really important element of my reviews, plus of course there is always food and cooking as a shared interest.
After taking a degree in Advertising Sarah enjoyed a busy working life before her son was born. In time that daily commute into London suddenly lost its appeal and Sarah decided to realise her dream of starting her own business. Combining spices had always been a hobby so it soon became the focus of her new adventure and she had plenty of encouragement from her friends who already loved her mixes. Sarah grew up in a family who were creative with food and it seemed natural to carry this in to her own home. Loving the ability spices have to enhance natural flavours in food she started to create her own signature combinations. Spices we agreed can totally lift a meal without compromising the healthfulness of a dish in a way that other ingredients can’t match.
Happy to start small with a young family she spent time researching and blending her mixes until she was 100% happy with them. Friends and family became testers and their valuable feedback used to tweak the recipes. For example combining three different types of pepper in her awesome pepper mix demonstrates admirably that pepper is not just pepper and each different variety adds new flavour compounds. This has a direct impact of the way this blend can work with different foods.
Launching last June as ‘Little Spice’ Sarah has six spice mixes in her range and will add seasonal products too! I have been trying out these mixes for the last couple of weeks and love the results.
I have added ‘just one more thing’ a chili mix to stuffing for roast chicken and sprinkled it on cottage cheese and labneh (strained yogurt). The addition of smoked paprika, chipotle and cinnamon has just the right attitude and punch. Just as Sarah intended it adds a flavour boost and kick to get your taste buds twitching (in a good way). I used English Country Garden mixed with polenta to coat some chicken fillets, pan fried and cut into strips they topped a coleslaw seasoned with Glitterati (a mix of pink salt, white pepper and pink peppercorns) and some toasted pumpkin seeds: huge success.
Spirit of Herbs went on a joint of pork and its fennel and lemon peel notes mixed with rosemary, thyme and garlic balanced the fattiness of the meat and I have never seen crackling disappear so fast. Awesome pepper is a combination of pink, long and black pepper ground to a slightly crunchy finish, which adds texture too and gives a much more complex taste sensation on the palate, this I teamed with fresh vine ripened tomatoes
I have to say when I first looked at these products on the Little Spice website I was skeptical. However I know never to dismiss any food product until you have sampled. That was a good call as I have been surprised at how good these blends are. Well priced too, at just £3 as if you had to go and buy all the spices individually it would be inhibitive. A perfect size for stocking fillers, hampers, inspiring lazy cooks or just for adding an extra pizzazz to family favourites. You can buy these online, or at events (see website for details).
Surrey Food and Drink Network
Sarah runs a closed Facebook page for small food producers or those who are thinking of starting up to support each other and share information. If you would like to join please contact Sarah via her website.
Find my recipe for Spiced Chicken Traybake using Sarah’s spices here