Mace is the dry reddish covering of the nutmeg seed. As such, it has a flavour very similar to nutmeg but more delicate, and is often preferred in light-coloured dishes for the orange hue it imparts. Europeans discovered mace in the small Banda Islands in the mid 19th-century. Since then, the inclusion of mace as a spice in recipes has become common in European cuisine and in traditional British recipes like game pie.
Mace can be purchased either ground or in "blades" and, like nutmeg, mace a good match for other warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and juniper berries. These robust flavours work especially well in hearty stews and rich casseroles. Galton Blackston adds a pinch of ground mace to his game pie, along with juniper berries, rosemary and thyme to complement the strong flavour of the meat.
Galton also demonstrates how mace can be used in sweet dishes, such as his port and claret jelly recipe, where he uses mace blades along with cinnamon and cloves to infuse a gentle spice.