Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia)
Cinnamon has a spicy flavour with a slight warmth and its sweet aroma is very recognisable. It is the inner bark from the cinnamomum verum tree. This spice is commonly found and used in countries like America and the United Kingdom.
This spice has many uses and is very popular in savoury cooking and is also a great ingredient in many sweet cuisines. When used as a spice, only comes in a stick form or as a powder. This spice does lose its flavour and aroma over time, so make sure you store it correctly using a spice bottle or jar out of direct sunlight.
Antioxidants- Cinnamon has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties which are effective in fighting infections in the body.
Heart health- This spice is good for reducing cholesterol and has been shown to help reduce heart disease.
Diabetes- Lowers blood sugar levels and effective anti diabetic properties. It reduces glucose in the blood after food has been consumed.
Cold and flu relief- A traditional Chinese medicine when mixed in a tea with ginger, it has great warming properties.
Vitamins- A, C, E, K, Folates, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin.
Minerals- Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, Sodium, Potassium.
Cooking with this spice can be done in several ways. It is great to add to stewing meats giving it a slightly spicy, sweet flavour. This blends well with the meat for that extra savoury taste. It is also fantastic to use in sweet dishes and is very tasty in desserts. This spice with apples has to be a classic flavour.
It also gives a tasty treat to other foods. Mixing this spice with sugar is great and goes well with many treats. This is delicious when mixed with freshly made popcorn. The kids love it.
Our favourite is the classic apple pie made with this delicious spice, and of course a nice thick custard to accompany it. If possible you should also try this with some clotted cream - which is just simply awesome.
Serves 4-6 people
1 pre packed puff pastry
8 granny smiths apples peeled and cored and cut into chunks
1 cup of golden sugar
1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
1 egg beaten
1 large knob of butter
Roll out the puff pastry until it is about 5 mm thick and about 10-12 inches, to fit your pie dish. Allow enough pastry topping to fit over the edge of your pie dish to seal the edge. Put to one side.
Next in a frying pan, add the butter on a low heat and wait for it to melt. Add the sugar and the spice. Then add the apples and cook for a good 5 minutes. Now add the cloves and take off the heat.
Put the apple mixture into your pie dish. Place the pastry over the top allowing enough at the edges to seal the pastry. Trim the edges and give a little crimp to seal it all in place. Put two 1 inch slits in the top of the pie so the steam can escape when cooking, propped up by an upside down egg cup to prevent collapsing if required. Now take the beaten egg and using a pastry brush give the pastry a good covering.
Place in a pre heated oven of 200 degrees centigrade or 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until the pastry is nicely cooked.
Finish off with a good quality custard or make your own, and or some fresh whipped cream or good dollop of clotted cream!