Be it in a Christmas pudding, an apple crumble or simply swirled into porridge, most of us are well familiar with the warm, sweet spice of cinnamon. In fact, it's such a common ingredient in desserts and puddings that we may overlook it as a fine compliment to savoury dishes, as well.
Cinnamon is harvested from the bark of cinnamon trees, and can be bought dry as sticks or ground into a powder. Both forms have their uses: ground cinnamon is convenient for baking recipes, while cinnamon sticks are a handy addition to a pot of stew or mulled wine.
Native to Sri Lanka, cinnamon is common in Middle Eastern and Asian recipes, where it's often used with other spices like cardamom, cloves and star anise to flavour rich meat dishes. Classic examples are Alfred Prasad's slow-cooked lamb shanks recipe and Geoffrey Smeddle's lamb tagine.
Some of us will be most at home with cinnamon in our baking recipes. Apples and cinnamon are a diamond duo, as you'll find in Shaun Rankin's apple muffins recipe and Marcus Waring's apple crumble, served in slices on a shortbread base. Cinnamon also works well with other warm spices like ginger as in Martin Wishart's gingerbread.