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Monday, 20 October 2014

7 Amazing Warming Spices to Use This Winter!

Last Saturday, I made my second TV appearance on Canadian television which was very exciting!

This time, the theme was winter warming spices. I am all about versatility when it comes to everything, especially food and so what better way to showcase 7 amazing warming spices in a dish that  can then be deconstructed and made into at least 3 other dishes too! I have included the recipe below.

Here are the 7 spices I used and a brief description of why they will help you get through winter!

1. Cinnamon
This beautiful spice is known to create internal heat, improve blood circulation as well as lower blood sugar levels. Make sure it is True Cinnamon you are using though!
2. Cumin Seeds
Naturally high in Vitamin C, this earthy aromatic spice has been long used to help ward off colds and coughs. Cumin Seeds are also high in iron so helping to improve energy too.
3. Cardamom
My favourite spice of all time can be used in savory and sweet dishes. Excellent as a digestive aid and also helps to open up the respiratory channels. Add crushed pods to rice or grind the seeds and add to desserts, fruit salads, nut butters.
4. Red Chili
Chili, as you might expect, raises body heat but also helps with increasing metabolism and acts as an anti bacterial. Chilis are also naturally high in Vitamin A and C so another great winter spice!
5. Cloves
Cloves are known to improve blood circulation and ease digestion too. Great to steep in a tea or infuse into a rice or dessert dish. Remember my tip for good quality: because the volatile oils are predominantly in the heads, make sure the heads are intact and they should float vertically in warm or hot water.
6. Nutmeg
Nutmeg is extremely warming but needs to be used in small quantities and it should be tested for aflatoxin and ochratoxin at source if possible.
7. Nigella Seeds
Nigella seeds (aka Kalonji seeds) are universally versatile. Add into salad dressings, yogurt dishes, rice, roasted veggies or onto lean meats and into stews and curries and dips. It has the most powerful plant based antioxidant compound in it so one to have in your spice cupboard for sure!

Why not grind a little bit of each of the above spices for a unique winter Garam Masala!!

Warm Apple & Butternut Squash Salad

(serves 2) (Gluten Free)(Vegan) 


2 cups  Butternut squash, cut into 1” cubes 
1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary Red Chili Ground
1 tsp     Spice Sanctuary Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Spice Sanctuary Nigella Seeds
1 Tbsp  Grapeseed or olive oil
2 Tbsp  Coconut Oil
Spice Sanctuary Cloves      
1     Golden Delicious Apple, skin on but cut into small 1” cubes 
1 tsp    Spice Sanctuary True Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Spice Sanctuary Nutmeg Ground
1/2 tsp Spice Sanctuary Cardamom Seeds, Ground
1 Tbsp  Hemp Seeds
Pomegranate arils and parsley to garnish (optional)
1.     Preheat the oven to 400F. In a bowl, coat the squash with the red chili ground, cumin seeds and nigella seeds first before adding in the oil and mixing it all well. Season with a little sea salt before transferring onto a baking sheet and roasting in the oven for about 30 minutes until you can put a skewer through them with little effort. Make sure you turn them over every 10 minutes to ensure they do not brown too much.
2.     Meanwhile, in a pan, heat the coconut oil on a medium heat. Add in the cloves and allow them to simmer in the oil for a minute or so to allow the volatile oils to release. You should be able to smell the cloves at this point.
3.     Then add in the apple cubes and gently cook for a couple more minutes.
4.     Next, add in the remaining spices and continue to cook down until they just begin to soften, usually only another couple of minutes. There should be some residual spiced sauce left.
5.     Transfer the butternut squash and cooked apples into serving bowl. Sprinkle in the hemp seeds for a protein boost and toss well so that the sweetness of the apples melds with the heat in the squash. Drizzle over any remaining spiced coconut oil and garnish with some chopped parsley and pomegranate arils and enjoy immediately.

Other Deconstructed Dishes:
1.     To make a delicious heartwarming soup, add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and 1 cup of water into a blender together with the cooked apples, squash and hemp seed and blend until smooth. Heat again prior to serving.
2.     Use just the cooked apples for a smoothie or breakfast dish or cook down further to make a spiced apple pie filling or reduce even further for a sugar free applesauce.
3.     Add just the cooked squash to curries or stir fries. Or serve the squash as a side to any dinner.

Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Your recipes are a delight to make. I love each and every recipe that you share with us. They taste so good with all the natural ingredients.