Which herb or spice do you use the most?
Mine would have to be cinnamon (followed closely by cumin and paprika [smoky]). When cooking with cinnamon, the aroma spreads through the house and it smells delicious — its my favourite.
I use cinnamon in many things — and not only in cakes, biscuits and breads but also in many of my savoury dishes. When added to a savoury dish it adds a depth and warmth, in particular when cooking with mince. Even my Bolognese sauce gets a large dose of cinnamon, along with meat balls and our favourite beef casserole. If you haven’t used cinnamon in savoury dishes before and want to give it a go, start with a small amount and see how you like it. I now add a tablespoon (or more) as I love the taste so much. Often I combine cinnamon with all spice and nutmeg (and even with cumin)—this is quite common for Moroccan meals that I make. Most recipes don’t list cinnamon, I just add it anyway!! I’ve never ruined a dish by adding cinnamon—well, not yet anyway.
This all started when I was watching a cooking show on TV by a Greek cook who said his mother always added cinnamon to Bolognese sauce and to many other savoury dishes. So I thought that if his mother did it, so could I and she was absolutely right. It really does add another dimension to dishes.
It’s also perfect for rice pudding, apple sauce, apple pie, ANZAC biscuits, ginger biscuits, any type of fruit cake, hot milk, sweet potato, pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup, a stick added to the chai tea, custard, French toast, porridge (along with brown sugar) — the question should be—what can’t you add cinnamon to!!!
Other uses include:
- Tie 3 or 4 cinnamon sticks together with pretty ribbon (or lace) and place around the house to create sweet smells. (a great gift that children can make)
- Stove-top simmering potpourri—place a pot of water or cider on the stove and add 1 to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon. Simmer, replacing liquid a necessary. This lovely stovetop potpourri banishes odors and replaces them with a deliciously homey fragrance.
- Dry potpourri booster—sprinkle a few drops of essential oil of cinnamon on any dry potpourri and place in a shallow bowl on a radiator, on top of the fridge, or where there is apt to be some walk-through traffic.
- Easiest room freshener—a dish of ground cinnamon will fill the surrounding area with a sweet scent.
I am sure there are many other craft ideas involving cinnamon.