Winter has arrived and with its arrival so has our craving for warm and comforting dishes.
A staple dish in many households is the humble porridge. Easy to make, affordable and great for our health, this dish is a go to in the cooler months.
At Brick and Mortar Creative, we have given this classic dish a new twist, adding in the familiar flavours that create chai; cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom. Here Ashleigh Speck, clinical nutritionist, gives you the low-down on why you (and your body) will love it.
Spices are in actual fact a defence mechanism in plants ultimately helping them to survive. However, us humans just can’t get enough of these spicy little gems. Spices elevate a meal and along with it, our imagination and culinary lives. If you are someone who is trying to improve your diet, spices are a fantastic alternative to processed sugar and sodium.
Cinnamon is an incredibly versatile spice, used in both savoury and sweet dishes. It is used all over the world from Europe, North America, North Africa and Indian. Originally it was discovered in Sri Lanka by the Portuguese. This spice is not only popular for its aromatic taste but also its nutritional benefits. Cinnamon helps to support healthy blood sugar levels through lowering insulin resistance. It is also a great source of antioxidants helping to lower inflammation throughout the cardiovascular system and reducing colds and flus (great for our immune system in the winter time!).
Ginger’s aromatic impact is one of the most complex of all the spices. With its woody, tangy, yet warming presence, it always packs a punch to any meal it is added to. Ginger also contains powerful medicinal properties, especially when applied to the immune and muscular skeletal system. It helps to sooth aches and pains, reduce nausea in pregnancy or travel sickness and supports the liver with detoxification. Its multitude of talents would make it a super hero if it was a human!
Nutmeg, like many spices was used for trade when it was originally discovered. The trees themselves thrive in tropical conditions, particularly in rich volcanic soils which tend to have higher mineral content. This rich soil allows nutmeg to contain minerals such as magnesium, copper, manganese and folate. The volatile oils that are found in nutmeg are also present in carrots, parsley and celery.
Cardamom is a spice originating from several different plants. The name cardamom represents Ethiopian cardamom, Black cardamom and Green cardamom. Green cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world after saffron and vanilla. A member of the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family, cardamom also contains a variety of flavours, which originate from its abundance of essential oils. Like ginger, cardamom can aid those suffering from digestive issues such as nausea, bloating and constipation through its soothing and detoxification mechanisms.
Starting the morning off with a bowl full of creamy chai porridge is like a warm fibre filled hug for your body.
At Brick and Mortar Creative we have partnered this wholesome dish with poached pear, fig syrup, rose petal and coconut milk to complement and celebrate these beautiful spices.