We were in Sri Lanka earlier this month, chasing up the Ceylon cinnamon harvest, and found time to have a lazy lunch by the beach.
It was a reminder that it is the simple meals that count the most, meals that use real, fresh ingredients with, perhaps, a single, natural enhancement: basil with tomatoes, lemon with fish, nutmeg and spinach etc.
We thought about the perfect cinnamon combinations. Many are to do with fruit but at least two are different. Ilva, a Swedish blogger at Lucullian Delights based in Tuscany, makes a claim for the most well-known combination: rice pudding with fresh cinnamon (risgrynsgröt in Swedish). Ilva prefers to use Saigon cinnamon with this dish.
And our friends in the kitchen at the glorious Hotel Metropole in Hanoi, who combine cinnamon with aubergine/egg plant in various dishes, make a claim for simple baked aubergine with fresh cinnamon. Just chop an aubergine into cubes, bake it in a little oil (they use nut oil) until it shrivels and serve it with salt and fresh Saigon cinnamon to taste. Simple, nutritious and delicious. Thanks to Mrs Hao in the kitchen there.