Salt is bad for you. That's a message we hear more than regularly. It will raise our blood pressure and give us cardiovascular disease as well as all manner of other unspeakable maladies. But the problem is, salt tastes good and food can be rather boring without it.

So if you're going to have salt, make it count we say; and Barbara Rotherham has come up with a range of salt and pepper grinders which will definitely do the trick.

You may even use less because of the big flavours, which will make you feel all virtuous at the same time.

Barbara started Shadie Stables 20 years ago with a piccalilli she still makes today. Now her range includes chutneys, jams, dressings, dukkahs, infused oils and most recently salt and pepper grinders. Although the business was started quite deliberately, the grinders were a happy accident.


Barbara stumbled across the empty grinders at Pak n Save and her daughter suggested they might make a good product. Barbara wasn't convinced but filled and tried a few at the market and ended up having to source the supplier and buy a pallet load since they were so popular.

Part of the allure has to be that they are so pretty-looking, in an old-fashioned kind of way. And good solid units too, not all flimsy. Our favourite would have to be the Herb and Garlic Rock Salt which has salt, parsley flakes, garlic, basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme leaves and paprika.

All the grinders are popular but apparently this one sells 10 times more than any other flavour. It would be great on almost anything.

Other interesting flavours include Portuguese Chicken Seasoning, Rosemary Mustard Pepper and even Chocolate Sugar for a bit of fun. Barbara gets her inspiration for new products from watching hours of cooking shows while making her wares.

It wouldn't be right not to mention some of the other 60 products she makes. Our clear favourite is the Jalapeno Relish. It's good and spicy but hasn't lost flavour in the process and is amazing with cheese or ham in a sandwich. Not for the faint-hearted though.

Something else we really liked was the Passionfruit and Lime Splash. It makes the most divine salad dressing or accompaniment to avocado.

You can find similar products for a lot more in gourmet shops but Shadie Stables is very reasonably priced. And you can buy refills for the grinders as a more environmentally-conscious solution too.

Where to buy

Available from Pukekohe town square on Saturdays and Takapuna Markets on Sundays as well as Barbara's own farm shop, Shadie Stables on Jamieson Rd in Pukekohe.