Vanilla and Cinnamon – a classic comforting pair.
Some people are meant to be with one another no matter what. We all have our perfect soul mate that makes us whole. When you have found yours…you know it from the word go.
My husband and I share the same star sign of Pisces. Two fish swimming in the opposite direction yet in sync with one another. So different and yet so the same in many ways. There is no other match for me… (and as for him….well,he’s stuck with me).
As much as it is a cliché, there is a lot of truth in the saying “opposites attract”.
Flavours and pairing of ingredients is very much the same. Complimenting flavours are often opposing flavours, but they are so meant to be together.
The all time classic has got to be “Vanilla and Cinnamon”. The ‘Ginger and Fred’, or the ‘Brangelina’ of the spice rack. They are just a sexy pair.
Rice Pudding would be nothing without vanilla and cinnamon. It is one of my favourite comforting desserts and served at every restaurant in Portugal. Last month I bought a couple of dishes to add to my Portuguese ceramic collection and have been dying to photograph them. These little ramekins are typical of Portugal and add an authentic look to the table. At the same time I also bought “Cooking the Portuguese way” by Mimi Jardim.
I will be trying out some of the recipes from her book in the future. Many are familiar to me, as my mother used to cook them. Others I know from having them at restaurants but have never attempted to make them.
Here is the recipe for Rice Pudding, the Portuguese way taken from Mimi’s book.
Served hot or cold, always a must at the festive table. Comforting and old-fashioned!
Recipe: Traditional Rice Pudding
- 125 g rice
- 200 g sugar
- 250 ml water
- 25 g butter
- pinch of salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 500 ml warm milk
- 10 ml grated lemon rind
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 stick cinnamon
- strip of lemon rind
- ground cinnamon for decorating
- Boil rice in salted water for ten minutes. Strain.
- Add the warm milk, cinnamon stick and lemon rind.
- Simmer until the rice is cooked and soft.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon rind.
- Add the sugar and butter and continue cooking for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Beat the egg yolks. Add a little of the warm rice mixture to the egg yolks, mix well and pour into the saucepan. Add the vanilla.
- Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the grated lemon rind.
- Pour into individual bowls or into one large flat serving bowl.
- Lastly, sprinkle or decorate in patterns with ground cinnamon.
Variations and Tips
You may add condensed milk if you like your pudding extra sweet and creamy.
Cooking time: Approx. 30 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4
Here are some interesting facts about vanilla and cinnamon.
Stabilizes your blood sugar levels so it works as an appetite suppressant and helps in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.
Aids in relieving the common cold.
Reduces arthritis pain.
Boosts memory function.
Effective in eliminating bad breath.
Vanilla is a relaxant and can be used for insomnia. Some companies have incorporated vanilla into their sleep inducing products. Vanilla tea offers similar results.(I am totally in love with anything vanilla – even my perfume has a hint of vanilla.)
Vanilla extract can be used for toothache.
It takes three years for the vanilla bean plant to produce flowers which later produce the pods containing the little beans. ( I can’t wait that long, so I will stick to buying mine for now.)
Considering these facts I can see why the combination is so addictive and soothing.