Wednesday, 20 May 2015


spiced! is a new company specialising in natural, vegan, and gluten-free spice pastes. Follow @spiceduk on Twitter for regular updates and visit spiced! founder Tom's blog for more info on the spice pastes and other cool vegan lifestyle topics. 

I was sent three lovely blends to try:
- North African
- Caribbean
- South Indian

Now, I love me some North African flavours and so I knew which one I'd want to tuck into first. Instead of a regular curry or an attempt at a tagine, I decided to make something a little different: this rich, intensely flavoured bean spread. It's a simple recipe that's perfect in sandwiches, on toast, flat bread and even crackers. While I look forward to using the other spice pastes in future recipes, this review will focus on the North African blend.

So, what does it contain? One pot is filled with harissa, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, onion, water, dried ginger and dried garlic.

As it's raw, it's important to cook off the spices in order to properly release the flavours. 
I have to say that the earthy, smoky tones after frying off the spices livened up this recipe to no end and I just know that this is something I'll be making again. The taste is bold - just how I like my food - and its the ideal thing to have on hand when those savoury food cravings kick in.

Let's talk about the packaging. The pots are nifty and easy to store in stacks (which helps me save space in my fridge!) It is also clearly labelled, with all the spice ingredients listed, information on proper storage method and date of production/expiration. There's a transparency to this minimalist format that I really like - what you see is what you get; no hidden nasties!

I'd encourage you to give the spice paste a try. The great thing about it is that you can be as inventive as you like. You can give this butter bean spread recipe a go, or add it to your curries, soups and tagines. Options, options and more options!

I'll be trying the Caribbean blend next, so keep an eye out for that. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp spiced! North African paste
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tin butter beans (drained)
- dash of lemon juice
- salt/pepper to taste
- Fresh mint (optional)

Fry the chopped onion in coconut oil (medium-high heat), then add the spice paste and tomato purée. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes to release all the spice flavours.

Add the butter beans, lemon juice and seasoning (to taste).

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mash until you reach a spreadable consistency. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary (particularly if the butter beans are unsalted).

Spread on toast, crackers or flat bread and finish off with some chopped fresh herbs such as mint, if you have any lying around.

Keeps for 3 days in the fridge.

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