Natasha MacAller


venues, from sailboats to skyscrapers.

MacAller says, "Spices are the flavour

of life and may be the source of wellbeing

for life, too." She's been inspired by spices

she's tasted on her travels, while the book

concept was sparked by an idea offered

to her by London-based publisher Jacqui

Small. Within the book MacAller explores

the culinary, nutritional and medicinal uses

of more than 30 spices, from the everyday

to the more exotic. She has taken each of

her spice heroes and grouped them into

six chapters, from immune and cleansing,

to energy and warming, to restorative

and calming. She includes details about

the flavours and the wealth of medicinal

benefits each spice may contain,

supported by quotes from a team of

medical doctors.

There's also practical advice on the

storage, preparation and uses of all the

featured spices. There are full-page

photographs of each spice and dish by

Manja Wachsmuth. Each of the spices

star in over 100 recipes, such as 'California

Girl Prawn Curry' (a childhood memory of

her mother's Californian take on curry),

together with many other original sweet

and savoury recipes.

As well as MacAller's own recipes

there are recipes contributed by 21

internationally acclaimed chefs.

Roast lamb with turmeric and cumin

Prep 10 mins, cooking 4½ hours, serves 4


• 3 large onions (350g), unpeeled,

sliced into rounds

• 3 large carrots (225g), peeled and

cut into 5cm rounds

• 3kg lamb shoulder, bone in, lightly

trimmed of fat

• 2 tbsp coriander seeds

• 2 tbsp cumin seeds

• 2 tbsp black peppercorns

• 1 tsp cardamom seeds

• 3 bay leaves, torn

• 1tsp ground turmeric

• 6 garlic cloves

• 2 tbsp salt flakes

• 2 tbsp olive oil

• 8 thyme sprigs

• 3 quince (or tart, firm apples),

peeled, cored and cut into sixths

• 3 tbsp brown sugar

• 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar


1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F/

gas mark 3). Scatter the onion and carrot

rounds on the bottom of an oiled roasting

pan. Trim and lightly score the fat on the

lamb shoulder and place on top


2. Dry-toast the coriander, cumin,

peppercorns and cardamom in a frying

pan until the aromas are released, then

crush with a mortar and pestle. Add the

bay leaves, turmeric, garlic, salt and oil to

the mortar and crush to a paste.

3. Massage this paste all over the lamb.

Scatter with the thyme sprigs and tuck

the quince pieces all around the meat.

Sprinkle the sugar and vinegar over the

top, then pour 100ml of water into the

side of the roasting pan.

4. Tightly cover the roasting pan with

thick foil and slow-roast for 4 hours.

5. Raise the oven temperature to 180°C

(350°F/gas mark 4). Remove the foil, skim

off the fat and add more water if needed.

6. Baste the lamb then return it,

uncovered, to the oven. Cook the meat

for a further 35 minutes or until it's tender.

VEGGIE? Click here for a PDF

of a Garam Masala Bastilla.

ON POINT: Natasha MacAller

in her dancing days.


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