The Spice Trail: cooking with cinnamon

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Share your cinnamon recipes and win a Tasting Experience for two

Our next stop on The Spice Trail takes us to the world of cinnamon, one of the most evocative spices I know.

When I smell cinnamon, I immediately think of sweet, sugary things like apple pies and Danish pastries, or rich fruit cakes and mulled wine at Christmas time. But of course, cinnamon (and its close relative cassia) are also a glorious ingredient in many savoury dishes and you’ll find it widely used in Mexican, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine.

cooking with cinnamon

So this month I’d love to hear how you like to cook with cinnamon. Share your recipe posts by 30 December and at the end of the month I’ll bring you a round-up of sensational dishes celebrating cinnamon.

Win a Tasting for Two Voucher from Buyagift

And at the end of the cinnamon challenge, one lucky winner selected by our guest judge will receive an amazing Tasting for Two voucher from the good people at Buyagift.


With this tasting experience, our lucky winner and their chosen companion will get to discover a whole world of new tastes, textures and exciting flavour combinations. Whether you love sweet or savoury, great British grub or international cuisine, there’s a great selection to choose from – including refined afternoon teas, olive oil tasting, sushi making, cookery classes, brewery tours and wine tasting experiences. What’s more they are available at a wide range of venues right across the UK.

How to enter The Spice Trail

spice trail badge squareDisplay the The Spice Trail badge (on the left and also available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.

You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they feature this month’s key ingredient, cinnamon – be it stick or ground, and feel free to use cassia bark as well.

Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Monday 30 December 2013.

If you tweet your post, please mention #TheSpiceTrail and me @BangerMashChat in your tweet and I’ll retweet each one I see.

Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and The Spice Trail badge. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page.

At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe and the winner this month will receive a brilliant Tasting for Two choice voucher from Buyagift. The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries.

All entries will be added to The Spice Trail Pinterest Board.

I can’t wait to see what dishes you come up with for The Spice Trail. Any questions, please tweet or email me.

December’s entries

  1. Low Sugar Parsnip Cake from Mamacook
  2. Wholemeal Apple Pancakes from Mamacook
  3. Spicy(ish) Lamb Meatballs from Mamacook
  4. Speculoos Shortbread from Blue Kitchen Bakes
  5. Christmas Trifle from How to Cook Good Food
  6. Cinnamon Butternut Squash and Chicken Stew from Recipes From a Pantry
  7. Leftover Turkey Chilli from Recipes From a Pantry
  8. Butternut Squash Muffins from Recipes From a Pantry
  9. Mince Pies with Spinach Pastry from Veggie Desserts
  10. Cinnamon Raisin Focaccia from The Lass in the Apron
  11. Festive Fruit Pies from Utterly Scrummy
  12. Chocolate Gingerbread Christmas Decorations from Eat Your Veg
  13. Cranberry & Cinnamon Swiss Roll from Blue Kitchen Bakes
  14. Jacki’s Moroccan Lamb Tagine from Jacki
  15. Snowflake Tear and Share Iced Buns from Bangers & Mash
  16. Gingerbread Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from The More Than Occasional Baker
  17. Cinnamon and Date Cake from The More Than Occasional Baker
  18. Spiced Plum & Apple Eton Mess from Bangers & Mash
  19. Chocolate Brownies with a Hint of Orange & Cinnamon from Cook Eat Write
  20. Christmas Cupcakes from Caroline Makes
  21. Christmas Cinnamon Shortbread from Caroline Makes
  22. Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls from Caroline Makes
  23. Chewy Oatmeal Cran-Raisin Pecan Cookies from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
  24. Spiced Stollen Tray Bake from How to Cook Good Food
  25. Low Calorie Rogan Josh from London Unattached
  26. Orange and Cinnamon White Chocolate Shortbread from Chocolate Log Blog
  27. Poached Pears with White Chocolate Cream from My Golden Pear
  28. Slow Roast Lamb with Chicory & Winter Vegetables from Bangers & Mash
  29. Gingerbread, Bramble & Lemon Trifle from Vohn’s Vittles
  30. Mulled Cider from Bangers & Mash

Tagliatelle with lamb’s liver and a sage, chilli and garlic butter

Tagliatelle with liver text web

Could you come up with a meal for at least two people for under £3? That’s the challenge set by the leading food charity The Trussell Trust in partnership with Buyagift with the aim of raising awareness of just how difficult it can be to eat well on a limited budget.

I managed to come up with a dish but it wasn’t easy, and I really wouldn’t want to have to work with this budget every mealtime. But for so many people in this country, it is the reality they face each and every day. While the UK might be the seventh richest country in the world, many people here struggle to put food on the table.

You can help raise awareness of the work of The Trussell Trust and the urgent need for us as a nation to tackle food poverty by taking part in the challenge and coming up with your own recipe. You can also visit the charity’s website for more ways to support their work, from donating to your local foodbank to raising money for them as you do your online shopping.


For my dish I decided to use liver as it is relatively inexpensive. Obviously a vegetarian pasta dish would have been cheaper still, but I wanted to see if I could manage a meat dish on this tight budget. I managed to buy 370g of lamb’s liver from my local butcher for just £1.48 and I only used half of it. A little liver goes a long way.

OK, so not everyone likes liver but I’m sure that’s because it’s generally been overcooked when they have tried it. In this dish it is sliced very thinly and fried for only a few minutes, so it is beautifully moist and tender. My husband doesn’t normally eat liver but he enjoyed this. Plus it was cooked in a very generous amount of butter, with lots of chilli, garlic and sage, so absolutely packed full of flavour. It actually tastes quite luxurious despite the cheap ingredients.

Tagliatelle with liver2 text web

Tagliatelle with lamb’s liver and a sage, chilli and garlic butter

Total spend: £2.21½

250g dried tagliatelle (47½p)
1 egg (24p)
170g lamb’s liver, thinly sliced (74p)
2tbsp olive oil (13p)
75g butter (36p)
1 red chilli, finely sliced (22p)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (5p)
6 sage leaves, finely chopped (free from the garden)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the tagliatelle in salted, boiling water according to the packet instructions.

Beat the egg in a shallow dish, add the liver and coat well, and leave for a few minutes.

Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over a low heat. When the butter has melted, add the chilli, garlic and sage and fry for a couple of minutes.

Drain the liver and add to the frying pan. Increase the heat to medium and fry for three to four minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through. Season to taste and remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and add to the frying pan. Toss well to coat the pasta in the butter and distribute the pieces of liver. Serve immediately.

As well as entering this dish into The £3 Challenge, I’m also sharing it with The Spice Trail (where the theme this month is chilli), Credit Crunch Munch (hosted by Dinner with CrayonsFab Food for All and Fuss Free Flavours), Cooking with Herbs (hosted by Lavender & Lovage) as it features fresh sage, and Pasta Please (hosted by The Spicy Pear and Tinned Tomatoes) as it contains garlic.

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The £3 cooking challenge


I’ve just heard about the £3 cookery challenge being run by leading food charity The Trussell Trust in conjunction with Buyagift. I think I might give it a go – will you join me? The aim of the challenge is to raise awareness of how difficult it can be to feed our families on a limited budget, as well as raising money for The Trussell Trust.

Food poverty is no longer something we associate only with people in developing countries. Increasingly people here in the UK are struggling to put food on the table to feed their family.

The Trussell Trust reports that over 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from their network of foodbanks between April and September 2013, triple the numbers helped in the same period last year. The charity says that UK hunger is getting worse and is calling for an urgent inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty and the consequent surge in foodbank usage.

This cooking challenge calls for people to come up with delicious meal ideas to serve at least two people that don’t break the £3 budget. And Buyagift is offering a fantastic array of prizes to encourage people to get involved. There’s a meal for two at Marco Pierre White’s Steak House in London, a gourmet cookery lesson and a relaxing spa day all up for grabs, and Buyagift will also make a donation to The Trussell Trust.

Of course, a challenge like this is going to do little to fix the dire situation our society currently finds itself in. As Chris Johnes, Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme Director, said recently: “It is completely unacceptable that in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet, the number of people turning to foodbanks has tripled.” Welfare reform has got to be pushed higher on our agenda as a country.

But still, anything that helps promote the amazing work of The Trussell Trust has got to be a good thing. So my thinking cap is on, and I’ll report back when I’ve come up with my £3 meal for the challenge. Perhaps you’ll consider taking part too? Find out more here.