I saw this on Morsels and Musings and thought I had to give it a go. I've been meaning to see what's been hiding at the back of that shelf, anyway. The original inspiration is from Rubber Slippers in Italy, so I'll answer Rowena's questions first:
1. Which is the most indispensable spice on your spice rack?
Am I allowed to say garlic? Not the powdered type (i don't actually have any) but the bulbs that sit above my fridge. It doesn't seem to matter what I cook, there's usually garlic in it. Into the pan at the beginning of pasta sauces, curries or stirfries. Into the roasting pan every time I bake vegetables, or most meats. In the sauce if I make pizza. I've been known to make garlic mashed potatoes. Last week Ryan made some VERY strong garlic bread. And it often goes in the pot if I'm making stock or soup. About the only thing it doesn't go into is salads, but if you have a recipe...
Otherwise, rock salt and ground pepper are pretty high on my list. As is cinnamon for anything sweet, and it's mandatory on porridge.
2. Which is the most used? This being determined by a near empty bottle compared to the others.
I think cumin is probably the most used (I have whole seeds and ground). I put it in mexican food and many curries, as well as adding the whole seeds to raitas and dips.
3. Which is the least used?
Juniper berries. We bought it for a particular recipe, and Ryan announced he didn't like the result. I think I'm going to have to find another use for them - from memory they are in Jerk Chicken?
Two close seconds are steak spice mix (I don't even remember buying it, let alone using it. I think the ex-flatmate must have bought it) and five spice powder. The five spice I find smells too 'desserty' for mains for me. I have got a lovely pork recipe that uses it, though. I just don't seem to buy pork very much any more.
4. Is there a spice or seasoning that you know of or just learned about and would like to add to your collection?
I have been meaning to buy fenugreek for a while. It's in a curry recipe I have used a couple times (substituting mustard seeds, or just leaving out the fenugreek). I'm not entirely sure what the flavour is like, although I know I've used it before. Maybe the name just sounds cool : )
5. Are there any health remedies that you practice with the use of spices?
I do drink peppermint tea as a tummy settler after eating too much. I have also been known to make ginger tea, and lemongrass tea, and sometimes lemongrass & ginger tea. But that is just because I like the taste!
The full list!
Allspice & Star Anise
Cayenne pepper, carraway seeds, coriander (ground & whole seeds), cumin(ground & whole seeds), chilli (dried, ground & fresh), cloves (ground & whole), cinnamon (cassia, sticks, and mixed with sugar), cardamom (green whole pods & ground).
Ginger (ground & fresh)
Mustard (seeds & 'keens mustard powder')
Nutmeg (whole & ground)
Paprika (mild & hot), pine nuts, poppyseeds, peppercorns
Vanilla bean dusting sugar.
Mixes: 'Mixed herbs', 'mixed spice', 5 spice powder, harissa, garam masala, steak spice (?), old fashioned english curry powder.