When I walked into the Robertsons Masterclass for the launch of their new artisanal Robertsons spice rubs, I knew I was in for a real treat. The entertainment began right at the door – the mixologist took us through the countless creative ways of crafting the perfect cocktail. I was intrigued by the process of making a spiced gin cocktail with herbs and spices such as cardamom pods, black pepper, curry leaves, lavender and orange peel as garnish.
Words, Food & the Fabulous® intern Nwabisa Ngumbela.
The Master of Spices
Our host for the night was TV personality Lorna Maseko, who also happens to be a superb cook. She praised Robertsons for their consistency in reinventing itself over the decades and after 95 years, they’ve still managed to surprise the lovers of their spices. I guess that’s why they’ve been dubbed the ‘masters of spice.’ “They continue to be innovative and creative and bring great products,” she told the audience who had been invited to play with the spices.
These new Robertsons Spice rubs are inspired by the culinary flavours of Morocco, Brazil, Asia, South Africa, Mexico and America, and feature key ingredients such as Juniper Berries, Smoked Paprika, and Chipotle Flakes among many.
Wendy Cruiser, a Robertsons spice representative said the brand remains relevant because they go to the furthest ends of the earth and to the most exotic places to find their herbs and spices. She also credited the great team of experts that work with the brand to ensure that they bring the best product each time, it is also this great toil that has led them to this wonderful world of rubs. Wendy says what sets the Robertsons’ spices apart from the rest are the unique ingredients that were added to each rub and the fact that the spices are non-radiated and have no preservatives.
A meal fit for a king
Chefs Ash Heeger of charcoal-based ASH restaurant in Cape Town, award-winning cookbook author and chef Jason Whitehead and media darling Lorna made some dishes using some of the newly launched rubs. Ash made a Brazillian-influenced roasted beef tri-tip with sweetcorn alliums. Jason treated us to some Cajun-style hake and green basmati with prawn cream. Lorna showed us how she makes the perfect stuffed roast chicken using her favourite Spicy Moroccan rub, with a side of rocket and fennel salad with vinaigrette. It got me thinking about ways to cook for my friends and impress them with these worldly flavours.
After these demonstrations, it was our turn (the guests) to experiment with the spices. We made pan-fried fish using the Fiery Mexican, (it isn’t too spicy, I realised). Jason guided us through the process – a thrill for me, as I’m not known for my cooking skills. We seared the seasoned fish for thirty seconds on each side before garnishing it with fennel and lemon.
The Robertsons Rubs are ideal for braaing, grilling, stove-top and oven cooking. They also go pretty well with red meat, chicken and seafood and we’re keen to experiment with them at the Food & the Fab kitchen, particularly with the Oriental Nori and the Smoky Brazilian rubs.
Robertsons Spice Rubs are available at supermarkets around South Africa for under R40 for a 40 g tub.