By Lynnie Stein / March 5, 2021

Spice up your pantry

Spice & all smelly things nice!

These recipes are simple to make yet hold so many uses, teaming perfectly with fermented food

especially milk kefir.

Golden paste, Dukkah and Harissa is something every kitchen should hold. Spice up your pantry with pumpkin pie spice and Herbs de Provence has double duty of making the home smell wonderful too!

Aroma, tastes, plants and food are the anchors of memory.

Pumpkin pie spice

The only requirement is 5 minutes and 5 spices to create your own batch of Pumpkin Pie Spice.

It is a heavenly blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and optional cloves– an addictive combination.

It is super easy to make.

In a small bowl, whisk together or stir to combine; 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon allspice, and ½ teaspoon cloves. Store in a small glass jar – up to one year.

Kick up spice to; kefir cream, cheese, ice cream, bircher, pancakes, waffles, and Anzacs.

We love using it in just about everything to create a mouthwatering explosion of scent, including pumpkin!  

Soft roast pumpkin with a good sprinkle of dried lavender and spread onto a warm Swedish flat bread.

To finish, drizzle with tahini kefir, sprinkle over some pie spice or dukkah and scatter with fresh picked herbs.

Do you dook-a? Dukkah is an earthy Middle Eastern spice mix, originating in Egypt and typically containing toasted hazelnuts, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and sesame seeds.

Be flexible and have fun as any sort of nut, seed and spice can go in it. Here is a variation tested from our kitchen.

4 tablespoons pistachio nuts

4 tablespoons macadamia nuts

4 tablespoons almonds

7 tablespoons sesame seeds

5 tablespoons coriander seeds

3 tablespoons cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Dash of salt, ground turmeric, cinnamon and chia seeds

½ teaspoon finely cut lemon / finger lime rind

Optional crushed saffron and marigold petals

Grind nuts into a powder.

Pound spices and sesame seeds until finely crushed (alternatively, use a coffee or spice grinder).

Some peeps like to leave sesame seeds whole.

Add the crushed spices and seeds, pepper and salt to the nut mixture and mix well.

Taste and adjust if necessary, to your palate.

Store refrigerated in a glass jar.

Variations: If taste buds want a ‘fired up’ version add Chilli flakes or ground organic wasabi peas.

1 tablespoon of ground coriander and 2 tablespoons ground cardamom will give an Indian spicy flavour.

Smoked paprika/ fennel seeds can also be added.

Finely crushed Apricot kernels (raw and ground) or the kernels of quandong and seeds of noni fruits (cheese fruit) are also highly flavoured. Roasted, they can be used to impart an aromatic nutty taste.

Sprinkle Dukkah over your favourite dips before serving.

Lightly dip sourdough into cold pressed olive oil then into dukkah and serve as a party snack with 2-3 kefir raitas.

Sprinkle over your next ‘kraut, quinoa and kale salad with pomegranate or jazz up boiled, fried or poached eggs, don’t forget after rolling balls of kefir cheese in olive oil, coat with dukkah!

Ice cream and dukkah is a killer combination.

Vanilla kefir ice cream topped with Quandong and apple with a dusting of sweet native fruit, macadamia, spices and finger lime dukkah.

Sprinkle some dukkah on the bottom of a bowl, add a scoop of kefir ice cream and finish with a little dukkah on top.

Mix with liquid kefir add some finely cut fresh herbs or a little high-quality vegetable seasoning to taste and make into a sauce or dressing.

Golden paste

Who does not love a dash of gold in their day? 

1/2 cup organic turmeric powder

1 cup water, PLUS 1 cup water in reserve, if required

5 tablespoons virgin coconut oil / cold pressed olive oil

1.5 teaspoons freshly ground organic black pepper (7.5 mls/3gms)

Black pepper is thought to improve the bioavailability of turmeric, making smaller doses more effective.

In a stainless-steel saucepan, cook the water, turmeric, and black pepper until it forms a thick paste, stirring and cooking for about 7 to 10 minutes, and you may need to add additional water along the way.

Remove from heat and add oil.

Stir well (a whisk is ideal) to incorporate the oil and allow to cool.

Transfer the Golden Paste into a glass jar with a lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Freeze a portion if you think you have too much to use within two weeks.

Take small quantities 2-3 times a day. 1/4 teaspoon is usually the recommended dose. Blend golden paste into golden milk and a kefir smoothie, or swirl into kefir soft cheese or coconut yoghurt and serve with Manuka honey and ginger granola or add to your dinner plate as a condiment.

•Can be used with everything from meat to vegetables, salads, grains, scrambled eggs, onion and parsley sauce   … the list is truly endless.

•Turmeric tends to stain anything it meets, so be careful.

Harissa (ha-riss-ah) is a spicy and aromatic paste, widely used staple in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Harissa recipes vary between countries and regions, but a standard version includes a blend of hot Chilli (often smoked), garlic, olive oil and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. Tomatoes and rose petals are also common ingredients.

Here is a starting point:

10 red Chilli, half, seeds removed and cut into six

3 garlic cloves

½ lemon / finger lime / lemon aspen juice

2 dessertspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, pan roasted and then ground

3 dessertspoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

Blend Chilli, garlic, juice and vinegar together to a thick paste. Then fold in the cumin, oil and salt.

Store refrigerated in a glass jar.

•Add to a kefir marinade for meat and fish or use as a rub and then add a dash of harissa to a bowl of kefir and use as a sauce. Serve with preserved finger lime and herb salad and 2-3 kefir raitas.

•Use in traditional Tunisian and Moroccan dishes or go wild and blend it with kefir into hummus, or any dip that floats your boat, add to salad dressings and sauces or tossed with roasted heirloom carrots. Add a couple of teaspoonfuls with kefir to a classic basil and tomato sauce, to spice up a bowl of pasta, as a dip for bread.

Eggplant steaks Brush thick slices of eggplant with harissa. Grill until tender and golden. Serve with quinoa salad and a dollop of kefir cheese.


The spice sumac is a burgundy red powder with a somewhat lemony flavour. Sumac is an antioxidant, known to soothe stomach upset.

For a delicious marinade, dressing or condiment, mix Sumac with kefir and other herbs and spices such as chili, coriander, cumin, paprika and parsley. Use as a flavouring for kefir green cheese. Sprinkle sumac on glorious kefir dips and just about anything else that needs a little kick and colour.

Along with sesame seeds and dried thyme, it is one of the main ingredients in the spice mix za’atar. Sprinkle on kefir bread and grain salads, or use on chicken dishes, and vegetables, or mixed with oil to make a paste and spread on bread before baking or in a warm kefir Swiss flatbread smeared with a layer of za’atar paste.

Here is a starting point for za’atar

1⁄3 cup dried thyme, 3 Tablespoons sumac, 1 ½ teaspoons sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients. It makes about ½ cup. Variation: can also include cumin or oregano.

In a bowl, combine three tablespoons kefir, two tablespoons chopped tomato and one tablespoon each chopped shallots and red onion. Mix in one to two tablespoons za’atar, and season to taste. Spoon this mixture into warm kefir Swedish flat bread and serve immediately.


1 cup raw (un-toasted) sesame seeds

2 cups of clean water, to soak

Soak the sesame seeds at room temperature for 4 hours in enough water to cover plus about an inch more because they will swell as they absorb the water.

Drain and throw away the soak water.

Rinse under running water and allow to sprout for another 4 hours.

Put the sesame seeds into a high-powered blender and blend until creamy.

Use a spatula to scrap the seeds down from the sides as required until all the whole seeds have blended.

Add water as required, a tablespoon at a time to keep the mixture moving.

It will keep for about 3 days stored refrigerated in a sealed glass jar.

 •A spoonful of tahini with Manuka / raw honey and filtered water blended makes lovely milk. About 1 tablespoon tahini per cup of water to make the quickest, easiest seed milk possible. No need to strain the pulp out.

•Add herbs and seasoning seeds + spices to make seed cheeses. Add a touch of kefir to get the process going.

•Add a spoonful to fermented salsa to make a delicious creamy zucchini pasta sauce and top with kefir cheese.

•Add to tasty treats like bars (salted caramel slice) and yum balls.

•It can form the base with beautiful kefir dips.

Herbes Salées (salt herb preserves) Cries for variations and substitutions. Indeed, this condiment is born of a need to preserve fresh herbs from the garden during the long winter months. They were made with what was available from the garden.

Gather your herbs from the garden (dill, parsley, chives, oregano, sage, sorrel, celery and leaves + shallots). Additions of nettles, or mustard garlic or anything you desire to embrace from the world of weeds.

Mix gathered herbs in a giant bowl, roughly chop, adding salt as you go. Layer the herbs and give the entire mix a good toss to increase the amount of salt contact with each individual piece of herb before placing in a jar. 

Fill glass jars (choose several small pots rather than one large … it will keep for so long and makes a good gift).

Place a final layer of salt on top of the final mixture. Press the mixture down well with the back of a spoon

Gently shake each day.

After 12-14 days, drain any excess liquid. Store the herbs refrigerated. When we jar the mixture, it will likely take far less room than started – 4-liter Fido glass jar will be less than 1 liter when completed. Allow the flavours to blend by waiting two weeks (a month is even better) before using salted herbs.

Use in everything where you would use salt. It is perfect in kefir soup, marinade, sauce, cheese or in a simmered dish, and not bad … whatever you want, really.

Can also add vegetables to the mixture, if desired, great to use the left-over stems of red silver beet and mustard greens, but you can also add small diced carrots, leeks and or spinach).

Herbs de Provence the fragrance is amazing!

Grind 3 tablespoons dried rosemary and 1 tablespoon fennel seed in a spice / coffee grinder; transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir 2 tablespoon dried savory, 3 tablespoons dried thyme, 2 tablespoons dried basil, 3 teaspoons of dried marjoram, parsley, oregano and tarragon,1 tablespoon dried lavender flower, and 1 teaspoon bay with the rosemary and fennel. It can be stored in an air-tight container.

Kefir mayonnaise Herbs de Provence sauce

This sauce goes well with everything Savoury – pour over sliced boiled eggs or sliced cooked chicken.

½ small onion (finely chopped)

1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)

1 lemon (Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze one half and cut a slice from the other)

30 ml oil

10 ml Harissa

5 ml Herbs de Provence

150 ml tomato juice

1 egg yolk

150 ml extra oil/s (walnut/macadamia/avocado oil)

truffle oil (to taste)

50 ml kefir

150 ml kefir soft cheese

Seasoning to taste

Put 30 ml oil in a pan and stir onion over a low heat until soft but not coloured (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Add Harissa and Herbs de Provence and on low heat cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato juice and lemon slice and seasoning if desired. Cook over very low heat for 8 minutes. Leave the pan without a lid on and some of the liquid will evaporate. Place a sieve over a bowl and strain the pan liquid through. Do not use the bits that do not go through and leave the rest to cool.

Make some mayonnaise. Put the egg yolk in a small bowl and the 150 ml of oil /s, truffle oil in a small jug. Mix the egg yolk very well then slowly add theoil/s, one drop at a time stirring hard between each drop.

Watch and go drop by drop until thickening occurs then you can pick up pace. Once you have put in half the oil, add the lemon juice and stir again. Then add the remaining oil, about 1 teaspoon at a time, until all is used. The result should be very thick and creamy.

Stir the mayonnaise, kefir and kefir cheese into the cool Hariisa and Herbs de Provence mixture and check the taste. Add a tad more salt if desired.

Raita (rie-tha)

Kefir makes a versatile base for creating an irresistible raita. Keep raita simple -2-3 ingredients. Squeeze all the water from greens and chop vegetables small for best results.

• Kefir and cumin are an easy raita. Add a little cayenne pepper to the raita if you can handle a little “heat.”

• Or mix in tiny cubed, cooked potatoes and some chopped mint. Potato raita should not be too thick, with kefir clinging to the cubes.

• Slice cucumber finely and pop in liquid kefir. Try spinach, wild greens, onion and tomato, radish or roasted eggplant.

• Grind a blend of herbs in a coffee grinder – spearmint, curry leaves, kali tulsi and green tulsi and add to kefir.

• Wild raita … Kefir + Lamb’s-quarters (Chenopodium album) and wild garlic.

• 2 cups kefir, 1/2 cucumber, diced or sliced, 1 clove of pressed garlic + a very generous handful of fresh chopped mild greens. Mix all the ingredients, stir well and taste. Add seasoning. Chill and serve. If you can make this several hours or even a day or two in advance, the flavours will be very pleasing!

Fruit raitas -. sliced banana rolled in kefir and coconut, add a dash of cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne.

• Combine kefir with pomegranate seeds, chopped mint, minced shallots and a splash of lime or lemon juice.

• Try adding grapes and mint for a sweet and refreshing flavour.

Love and bacteria, Xo Lynnie


No SPAM ever! Read the privacy policy

Leave a Reply

© 2023 Lynnie Stein