Posts Tagged ‘cinnamon’

“To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.”
W. Somerset Maugham

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.”
John Gunther

“Oysters are the usual opening to a winter breakfast. Indeed, they are almost indispensable.”
Grimod de la Reyniere (1758-1838)

“Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly arranged and well-provisioned breakfast table.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

“Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.”
Oscar Wilde

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”

I’m sure my mother said that a few times!

Breakfast before I set off on my walk this morning was the same as every morning and no sign of an oyster!

large organic oat flakes mixed with

freshly cracked walnuts,

dried untreated apricot–chopped up

a teaspoon of linseeds


half a pot of no fat organic yogurt with

cinnamon sprinkled on top

and moistened with oat milk.

Two slices of 100% rye bread with a little butter and pear & apple fruit spread (no added sugar)

The same every morning? Yes!


Not for me–I look forward to it–once a day at least!

Maybe we are at our most conservative, most in need of ritual just after waking up, but I find the assembling and eating of this bowl of goodies a daily delight.

Meredith’s breakfast tray rested on a pillow in front of her (see below a summer version).

The fire in the kitchen was established, the dishwasher emptied and lunch planned so why not add to this the pattern of virtuousness with another good deed–a healthful walk!

The first flakes of snow were falling gently and laying, so taking my chance I set out–fortified by this habitual breakfast.
The blacktop was slowly turning white as I walked down the road and the snowy mist descended.
Yesterday’s north wind that had roughed up my cheeks had ceased and it was warmer by several degrees.
There’s was no-one about–just the distant pop of a hunter’s gun somewhere over the fields.
Climbing the slope towards the house forty minutes later I could tell that no car had passed since I’d left and looking back I saw my footprints had clearly made their mark in the deepening white.

All was quiet as I entered the house–a ” leisurely” post breakfast calm had descended.

Meredith’s version of breakfast heaven! Porridge (cooked oats–large and small flakes), milk, “no fat” organic yogurt, a prune, seasonal fruit, cinnamon sprinkled over.

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Garam masala is an ingredient in the dal recipe I posted a few days ago (see Gentle Lentils) and was new to some people.

Garam means hot and masala means a spice mix.

The “hot” is not a spicy hot but rather a heat that warms the body (in principle).

I’ve learnt about this subtle and delicate flavouring mix from Kris Dhillon whose cookbook, The Curry Secret, is from the same imprint as Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–i.e. Right Way).

He writes:

“…the theory comes from the Hindu concept of medicine and diet called tridosha, which teaches that some foods have a warming effect on the body while others have a cooling effect. Spices such as cardomans, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg are garam constituents of this aromatic mixture.”

Garam masala is usually added towards the end of the cooking process; it can also be sprinkled over cooked food to enhance the flavour.

It is a mixture of spices that has infinite variations. You can buy it (just as you buy curry powder) or you can make your own. This version is from the wonderful Indian actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey, author of  Indian Cookery.

1 tablespoon cardoman seeds

2″/5 cm stick of cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 a small nutmeg–grated

Whizz the mix to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.

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Yotam Ottolenghian Israeli born in Jerusalemowns five restaurants in London and contributes flavoursome recipes to the Guardian on Saturdays, with unusual Middle Eastern taste twists.

Not a great looker--but the taste...!

Ottolenghi’s Chicken is his version of the traditional Palestinian dish, M’sakhan. It is delicately flavoured with soft spices like cinnamon, allspice, and sharpened a little with sumac [dark red and lemony], enhanced with thin slices of  lemon and onion–delicious to bite into–and finished off with za’atar–which is sesame seeds in a mix with oregano, thyme and other herbs.

The chicken pieces are marinaded overnight in these gentle flavours, then roasted for 40 minutes.

Garlicky yogurt sauce & Moroccan bread went well with it at the book launch. For diabetics, better to substitute whole-wheat brown pita bread or brown Basmati rice.

1 chicken–cut up into 8/10 pieces

1 lemon–sliced very thin

2 red onions–sliced very thin

2 cloves of garlic–mashed to a pulp in a pinch of salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoons sumac

200 ml stock

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons za’atar

50 gms/2 oz pine nuts

for 4/5

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a bowl and mix well together.

  • Let this marinade, covered, in the fridge–preferably overnight.
  • Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  • Lay the chicken pieces, skin side up, in a roasting pan and cover them with the lemon and onion marinade.
  • Sprinkle over the za’atar.
  • Roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes–the juices should run clear when you pierce a leg piece.
  • In a small frying pan gently dry roast the pine nuts.
  • Sprinkle them over the chicken and present the dish to the “table” before serving and enjoy the “oohs!” and “aahs!”.
  • Scatter over some chopped parsley to finish, for colour, if you have some on hand.
Yogurt sauce
 2 125gm pots of no-fat yogurt–whisked to smooth
1 fat clove of garlic–pulped in a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Whisk all ingredients together into a smooth sauce.
As so much of this dish can be prepared beforehand it is a useful dish for company.
Two chickens roasted together will give you enough to feed 10 people.

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