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For Christmas my mother-in-law invited me to a Spice Course in February. It would be at the Ivy, a mother and daughter run business that provide culinary classes and cater for events. It is out in the country surrounded by other vast estates, where each has their own stables and “grounds”. Rather affluent, for sure.

Last Wednesday evening was the Spice Course. My mother-in-law, two of her friends and I were all in attendance. We all assumed that it would be the daughter who ran the course, she is the one who normally does, but it was a guest “lecturer” this time. His name was Arun Kapul and he runs a spice blending business called Green Saffron. He is also the author of the cookbook Fresh Spice, or as it’s called in the US Wild Spice. We didn’t know any of this going into the course, which is funny, because both my mother-in-law and I had independently seen his cookbook and contemplated buying it!

He is a half Indian half English man who has built up a business creating spice blends to sell to companies such as Lindt (his spice blend is what makes the Lindt Chili as well as Green and Black chocolates SO tasty!) as well as to individuals. He goes to farmers markets, fairs and also demonstrations such as the one we were at that night.

The first par of the evening was spent learning about the origins of certain spices, how they grow, where the grow and how best to store them. I had known that mace and nutmeg were related somehow, but I didn’t know that Mace was the pink outer skin that surrounds the nutmeg. I especially didn’t know that it was supposed to be pink! It was fascinating and I think my mother-in-laws friends thought I was a bit mad with all the notes I was taking!

Then he got down to business and prepared two dishes from his cookbook. One was a Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash and Winter Greens Salad with a mild Dijon dressing. For the main he prepared an Herb Crusted Roast Salmon with Cardamom Sauce. All of it looked and smelled divine! Didn’t seem too hard to make, but he’s also a professional and probably made it look a lot easier than it actually is!

After he finished showing us how to prepare the food and delighting us with stories about spices and people, we got a small taster of the two dishes. Oh. My. Gosh. SO tasty! I could have eaten the entire platter of the salad and at least another one and a half bits of salmon. The flavors blended sublimely and I would recommend checking him out online and maybe trying a recipe or two of his!

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