Tag Archives: cinnamon

Cinnamon: a multitalented spice

cinnamon

Cinnamon was popular with the Ancient Egyptians as a perfuming agent during the embalming process, and was mentioned in the Old Testament as an ingredient in anointing oil. Legend holds that the Roman emperor, Nero, burned cinnamon on the funeral pyre of his second wife, Poppaea Sabin, in 65 AD to atone for his role in her death.

Today, there are two main varieties of cinnamon available: Ceylon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is largely produced in Indonesia and is the variety most widely available for sale. It also has the stronger smell and flavour of the two. The more expensive Ceylon cinnamon has a more subtle, sweeter flavour and is better suited to baking and sprinkling on hot drinks such as coffee or chocolate.

Perhaps one of the benefits for which cinnamon is most reputed today is as a blood sugar balancing agent, which is proving to be very useful in the management of type 2 diabetes.

Cinnamon also gently stimulates the circulatory system by relaxing and widening the vessel walls, which is particularly effective for issues such as cold hands and feet. It is also a powerful anti-fungal agent, especially useful in cases of fungal infections of the digestive tract, such as Candidiasis.

Cinnamon has very potent anti-oxidant properties, so much so that it is sometimes used as a food preservative. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory and aids digestion by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. It is an excellent source of minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium and also contains vitamin A and vitamins B3, B5 and B6.

Use liberally in sweet or savoury cooking and baking, as well as on yogurts and cereals such as muesli. Cinnamon makes a delicious and healthy substitute for sugar.

Apple, cinnamon and honey clafouti and mud therapy for dogs

clafoutis

Our bipolar weather this summer – grey chilliness one day, stifling heat and tropical rainfall the next – has cajoled Hugo’s inner breakdancer into putting in an appearance. He has taken to throwing himself into tepid puddles (the deeper and muddier the better) with an incongruous and not altogether elegant stomach-first, legs-last sort of manoeuvre, presumably looking for relief from the heat and mosquitos. At least I hope that’s what he’s looking for, because if not he’s even odder than I thought. He then stands up and starts all over again, a beatific smile plastered firmly on his face. The sequence is repeated until the puddle is entirely rid of its water. Mud creates a very effective barrier against both flies and the heat, so Hugo’s logic is irreproachable, but then we knew that already. The downside is, however, that I have a very dirty house…

hugopuddle

Originally from the Limousin region, clafouti, or clafoutis in French, is now a popular dessert throughout France. The name comes from the word ‘clafotis’, which means to ‘fill up’ in Occitan. Traditionally it is made with cherries, but it works well with any fruit or berry.

There are many benefits to adding cinnamon to a dish: it controls blood-sugar levels, helping those with insulin resistance and and pre-diabetic conditions and also aiding weight loss. Added to this, it has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent choice for sufferers of arthritis and IBS.

Ingredients (serves 6) :

6 apples, peeled and chopped into small cubes

40g salted butter

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons honey

100g spelt flour

4 eggs, beaten

50g cane sugar

300ml full fat milk

100ml cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter in a deep frying pan and fry the apples for about five minutes on a low heat. Add the cinnamon and the honey and heat for another couple of minutes, stirring gently. Butter a gratin dish and add the apple mixture. Put the flour, eggs and sugar in a bowl and mix, adding the milk and cream to the mixture a little at a time, beating well. Pour the mixture over the apples in the dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

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Fig jam and irritating scrubbers

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My passion for figs is similar to my passion for tomatoes; it starts out all guns blazing, only to die a sudden death after the second consecutive week of thrice-daily consumption. Figs are pure nectar, either eaten straight from the … Continue reading