This simplified version of the famous Moroccan spice blend contains only spices that are easy to find in grocery stores. Use ras el hanout to add warm spice flavor to any stew, or try dusting it over a rack of lamb or pork before roasting.
In a small, dry skillet, toast the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, cumin, allspice, peppercorns, aniseed, and lavender (if using) over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind to a fine powder in an electric spice grinder and transfer to a small bowl. In the grinder, pulse the nutmeg into a powder (or finely grate it by hand) and add it to the other freshly ground spices. Add the ginger, mace, turmeric, and cayenne and mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot for up to 6 months.
Photo: Scott Phillips