1. Press the flat side of a chef's knife on spices such as fennel seeds, peppercorns, cardamom, cumin seed, cloves, star anise and cinnamon. You can also use a rolling pin, or a small skillet.
2. Place whole spices in a mortar and pestle and grind with the weight and movement of the pestle. Grind a little for coarse, or more for fine.
3. Or, put the spices in a clean coffee grinder and grind as desired.
4. To toast ground spices, place the seeds in a small, dry skillet. Cook over medium heat until you can smell the spices and the seeds darken slightly.