The month of May is fast approaching and, just as we did in a feature story this time last year, it’s time to celebrate the annual ‘Markets in May’ campaign! As is tradition, the month-long campaign will be launched by the ‘Taste and Talk’ pop up market on Thursday 30th April, 12-2pm, in Sydney’s Martin Place. It’s a time for stallholders to strut their stuff and showcase all the great local produce they’ve been working on.
This year will feature 12 exciting stallholders, including The Bagel Shop, Bačka Smallgoods, A. Retief Wines and Herbisaurus. Each local business has been hand-selected by the event’s organisers to represent the wide range of local businesses that regularly share their special products at Sydney markets.
Not only do local markets provide us with an easy place to access an array of top-notch products, but they also give us the opportunity to speak to the producers themselves.
One person who knows just how important this is for both consumers and stallholders is SpiceVine creator, Anup Arora, who will be showcasing his fresh, spicy marinades at Markets in May. Since launching SpiceVine in 2012, Arora has visited a number of different markets, the list of which currently includes the Northside Produce Market in North Sydney (every 3rd Saturday of the month), The Beaches Market in Warriewood (1st and 3rd Friday of the month), Orange Grove Organic Market in Leichhardt (every Saturday), Frenchs Forest Organic Markets (every Sunday), Ramsgate Organics Foodies Market (2nd and 4th Saturday of the month) and the Sydney Morning Herald Grower’s Market in Pyrmont (every 1st Saturday of the month). Image source: SpiceVine
“The markets to us are almost like a constant feedback mechanism,” he says. “All of our product launches happen at the markets in the sense that we’ll put a product out there and let people try it out.” This fosters healthy dialogue between market visitors and stallholders, which Arora believes has had a vital role in driving SpiceVine forward.
SpiceVine was launched by Arora in 2012, and has since grown into a reputable Australian owned and operated business. Staying true to the SpiceVine mantra of ‘Pure. Vibrant. Delectable.’ has always been a top priority for Arora, with his products using only natural ingredients (on average over 85 percent of which are locally produced in Australia) and being prepared in small batches to ensure freshness.
I was lucky enough to sample five of Arora’s versatile marinades, which I can say definitely add a spicy hit and a burst of flavour to home cooking.
[one_half]Coriander Zing is a testament to Arora’s experience as a chef in India. This marinade is inspired by Cafreal Masala, a coriander-based spicy chicken dish consumed widely in Goa, where Arora worked for five years before moving to Australia. Taking note of this heritage, we decided to create a chicken dish with the Coriander Zing and were blown away by the strength of the flavour. The coriander packs a mighty punch and definitely dominates the marinade, which is absolutely amazing if you love coriander (as I do!).
If you’re after something a little more subtle, Arora recommends adding Greek yoghurt to poultry dishes. Alternatively, you could even stir Coriander Zing into mayonnaise, cream cheese or Greek yoghurt for sandwich dressings. It’s a little crazy just how many ways you can use this marinade.[/one_half]
Garlic is one of my all-time favourite ingredients and so I was more than eager to try SpiceVine’s Garlic Gluttony marinade. As per Arora’s strong recommendation, we used this with sautéed mushrooms and baby spinach and were delighted with the result. The marinade provides a subtle garlic hit, which is perfect for a tasty side dish to a main meal.
You can also use Garlic Gluttony to marinade chicken, seafood or meat if you want to use it for a main meal. Alternatively, if you want a snack or a carb-loaded side dish, you can combine the marinade with butter to make garlic bread. You can’t deny it’s a winner for versatility!
With a name like SpiceVine, it’s a given that Arora would come up with a marinade that epitomises all things spicy food. This is where Mirch Masala comes in and, I assure you, it does not mess around. This is without a doubt the hottest of Arora’s marinades, most of which are toned down to cater to a wider range of palates – including that of children. But Mirch Masala is not for the faint-hearted. We used Mirch Masala with beef and added coconut milk for a creamier texture. The dish was nevertheless incredibly spicy, but in the best of ways. For the first few seconds the chilli is muted, allowing you to enjoy the flavour of the marinade before you’re met with an intense back-of-the-throat chilli hit.
It is this marinade that Arora says has built up somewhat of a cult following. “If I don’t have it [at the markets] for a particular reason, that’s the one I get abused for,” he says. “But it’s good! It’s nice to have people saying, why the heck don’t you have it?”
Having now tried Mirch Masala myself, I can see what all the fuss is about!
Spice Medley marinade really gets to the heart of what SpiceVine is about. As with all the other marinades, the Spice Medley is a demonstration of Arora’s skill set when it comes to choosing the right ingredients to mix together. Arora says he is well aware that people might think mixing spices is easy, but while this may be true, he believes that the challenge is finding what spices do and don’t complement one another, and using this knowledge to produce the right flavour.
We used Spice Medley with lamb cutlets. From the moment we unscrewed the lid on the pouch, we could tell that this marinade would be amazing. It has a rich aroma, which stays true to the actual flavour once cooked. Biting into the marinated lamb was like eating through butter. It has the perfect richness and softness to complement the meat not only with an amazing flavour, but with a great texture as well.
Although I enjoyed all of the marinades, the flavours in the Spice Medley were very distinct and perfectly combined. This was a definite favourite for me.
Turmeric Tang (coming soon)
[one_half_last]I was lucky enough to sample a new marinade that Arora has been working on for a while now, called Turmeric Tang.
Arora strongly recommended we use this marinade with either a stir-fry or prawns. We opted for the prawns and were happy to experience a well-balanced flavour. Turmeric can be quite bitter or chalky, but here the traces of mango, ginger and Arora’s selection of spices worked to produce a holistic, pleasant taste that complemented the prawns. It was also mild enough, making it great to serve up for kids.
On a separate note, it’s worth mentioning that this marinade looks great too. The turmeric produces such a vibrant colour – it almost looked fluorescent in the container when it was marinating the prawns. So as a visual person, I was pleased with the preparation stage.[/one_half_last]
With SpiceVine’s marinades, it was easy to prepare a delicious meal. The only difficulty was deciding what ingredients to cook with, as each marinade can be used in a range of different ways with meats, poultry, seafood and vegetables. Thankfully, each marinade is packaged in a pouch complete with cooking suggestions. Some recommendations have even come from Arora’s discussions with market visitors, who are often happy to share their experiences with the SpiceVine team and let them know what did and didn’t work well together.[pullquote_right]”It’s really nice when people say so many good things and support us… You see the best in people at the markets and that’s why we’ve been going every week.”[/pullquote_right]
When asked what the best thing about his SpiceVine journey has been, Arora was quick to note the joy of seeing new people enjoy his creations – something that has been made possible through the markets.
“That’s what gives you validation every single day. You get so much positive feedback,” Arora says.
Markets in May will launch with the ‘Taste and Talk’ Market before hosting a range of events throughout the month of May. Be prepared to see not only SpiceVine’s best, but the best from Sydney’s top local market producers.
Use promotional code: IATEMYSPICE to receive $10 off an order of 4 products until 30th June 2015
These marinades were provided by SpiceVine for promotional consideration; as usual, all opinions are our own.