Sep 29, 2021

Spice of Life Part V

Allspice, also known as Jamaican pepper, is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. The fruit is harvested when it is green and unripe and traditionally dried in the sun. Once dry, the fruit is brown and looks like large brown peppercorns. It comes from the West Indies, southern Mexico, and Central America and can be found in both dried fruit form and as a powder.

It is a pungent, aromatic spice that seems to embrace a combination of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. In fact, that’s how it got its name. Whether in kernel or powdered form, it should be stored in a cool, dry place.

Allspice is an essential ingredient in Jamaican jerk seasoning. It’s used to flavor stews, meat dishes, and tomato sauce. You can also find it in pickling spice, spiced tea mixes, cakes, cookies, and pies. Food producers use it in ketchup, pickles, and sausages. Many pat├ęs, terrines, smoked and canned meats include allspice.

Allspice comes to us from the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus discovered it during his second voyage and, thinking it was pepper, named it pimiento (Spanish for pepper). It was introduced to Europe and the Mediterranean soon after, although it only became popular in England where it became known as allspice because it seemed to be a combination of spices.

Jamaican allspice is considered superior to any other, but today it is also grown in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Tonga, and Hawaii.

Medicinal Uses:
Allspice contains an oil called eugenol, which produces a warming effect. During the Napoleonic war, Russian soldiers would put allspice in their boots to keep their feet warm. As well as the warming effect, allspice also has a mild anesthetic, which makes it valuable as a home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles when used in a poultice. It can also be applied directly to the affected area for muscle pain and toothaches.

It has been used for indigestion, intestinal gas, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, colds, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Allspice tea can be used to treat nausea or settle an upset stomach. Eating more allspice can be a low-risk treatment for easing the symptoms of menopause.



4 quarts apple cider
2 quarts orange juice
1 quart cranberry juice
2 cinnamon sticks
12 allspice (whole)
18 cloves (stuck into 1/2 a large orange)
1/2 cup(s) brown sugar (or to taste)

Bring all to a vigorous boil for 5 or so minutes then reduce to low simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Sprinkle ground nutmeg and cinnamon on top of the finished Wassail. This is much better the next day when spices have blended and mellowed.

Jerk Chicken

1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small hot pepper, seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a food processor, and process until a smooth puree forms.
Put chicken in a large bowl and pour marinade over. Stir chicken pieces to coat completely; cover and marinate at least 6 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill on medium heat (350 F to 375 F) for direct/indirect grilling.
Remove chicken from jerk marinade. Place chicken skin-side down on the direct side of the grill.
Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the skin is charred and crisp, controlling any flare-ups on the grill. Turn the chicken over and move to the indirect side. Close the lid, and cook an additional 10 to 20 minutes, removing pieces as they become done.

Oven Method:
Jerk chicken is best done on the grill, but if this isn’t possible you can cook it in the oven (although the taste will be milder).
Prepare marinade and chicken as above.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken pieces in a rimmed baking pan, skin side up. Roast until chicken halves are cooked through, about 40-50 minutes.

Sep 27, 2021

The Pitfalls of A Rainy Day

Housework is what a woman does that nobody notices unless she hasn’t done it.
— Evan Esar

Dust is a protective coating for fine furniture.
—Mario Buatta

You know what would make house cleaning more fun? A maid.
—Phyllis Diller

Last week was pretty grey and dismal. And anyone who knows me at all knows I don’t do well in grey and dismal. There was a lot of napping, a lot of reading, a lot of head aches.

By about Wednesday I decided I was tired of not getting anything done, so I decided to clean out the craft closet. This was not a task to be undertaken lightly, it’s a huge closet, but I figured I had the entire day so why not do something constructive with it?

I keep saying I’d like to work more on crafts in the evening while watching T.V., but I’d open the door to the closet and stuff would fall on me. Plus I’d have to unload half the closet before I could find what I was looking for (if I found it at all). So yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Naturally, I had most of the stuff pulled out of there before it didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.

I really wish I’d taken a before picture of the closet, but then again maybe it’s just as well. The picture above is only about half the stuff I had in there. I actually had to sort through it and get everything organized before I could get the rest of the stuff out.

To my chagrin, I found an astonishing number of unfinished projects in there. There was a rug I’d started hooking way back in the 70s or 80s, a really nice long skirt I cut out but never got around to sewing, and stitchery projects in various states of doneness. There were also a few canvass bags with knitting/crocheting projects that never got finished – a baby afghan I was crocheting from odds and ends, a navy blue cardigan that will be gorgeous if I ever finish knitting it, a long vest I’d started knitting from my own pattern, an afghan I started when we first got Amazon Prime, and two bags with projects that I don’t remember starting.

Time for a little organization.

While what I truly need to be organized is a brand new room dedicated to crafting, it’ll be a couple of years before we can afford that. So in the mean time, I put my yarn stash into five medium sized, clear plastic bins (so I could see what’s in there) and stacked them upstairs in a corner of the guest room (because there’s no room in the massive upstairs closet).

It made better sense for the yarn to go upstairs because one, it’ll be easier to access in the bins, and two, when I work on a knitting/crocheting project I usually designate one of my many bags for that purpose. So all that stuff doesn't really need to clutter up the closet.

My material stash is in one massive bin in the bottom of the closet, and the rest of the closet is filled with sewing accessories and stitchery supplies. One medium sized bin holds the bags of unfinished knitting/crocheting projects which is easy enough to get to that I no longer have an excuse for not finishing them.

But I’m still not happy. Yes I can open the closet and nothing falls out, and I can definitely find stuff easier, but I still think I can do better. For one thing, I cannot for the life of me understand how I could get all that yarn out of there – originally spread between one massive bin and several bags – and still have trouble fitting everything back in there.

The sewing stuff and stitchery stuff needs to have better separation, and I have two bins of unfinished projects that includes a half-hooked rug and the glue gun I was looking for months ago (and finally replaced). Maybe things that are not strictly sewing or stitchery need to go upstairs with my other craft stuff.

I think I need another rainy day.

Sep 22, 2021

Spice of Life Part IV

Nutmeg comes to us from Indonesia, from the dried seeds of the Myristica fragrans, a tropical evergreen tree. It can be purchased whole or in powdered form. Grating the seed directly imparts a fresher, cleaner taste than the powder. Whole nutmeg will stay fresh indefinitely, but like the powder should be stored in an air-tight container away from heat, light, and moisture.

Nutmeg can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It has a pungent aroma and a warm, slightly nutty, slightly sweet taste. It’s featured in many baked goods as well as puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog, coffee, and hot chocolate. Sprinkle it over oatmeal or other breakfast cereals, fruit, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or winter squash.

Evidence suggests that nutmeg was brought to Constantinople by Arab traders as early as the 6th century. The source of the spice, the Banda Islands, part of the Maluku Island chain, was a closely guarded secret.

In the late 1400s the Ottoman Turks took control of the land trade routes, which prompted several European countries to search for the source of the spice. The Portuguese discovered the Banda Islands in the early 1500s, torturing and killing the Bandalese in order to establish a monopoly.

The Dutch East India Company ousted the Portuguese in 1603, but the British managed to acquire seedlings and planted them in several British colonies in the East Indies. In the late 1700s the French smuggled nutmeg seedlings to their colony on Mauritius where they flourished, breaking the Dutch monopoly for good.

Medicinal Uses:
Nutmeg contains powerful antioxidants, and as such has anti-inflammatory properties which help protect against heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. It has also been shown to have antibacterial properties that can inhibit the growth of harmful bacterial infections, including cavities and gum inflammation.

While nutmeg in small quantities is not only flavorful but beneficial to your health, taken in large doses it can have several adverse side effects – rapid heartbeat, nausea, disorientation, vomiting, and agitation. Taken in large quantities, one of its early uses was as a hallucinogen, but this can also be accompanied by loss of muscle coordination and organ failure.



1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butterscotch sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
6 (12-ounce) cans vanilla cream soda, or one 2-liter bottle

In a small bowl, combine the cream, spices, butterscotch, and softened butter.
Whisk for 2 minutes to mix. Avoid whipping it so long that it becomes whipped cream, but it should thicken and increase in volume slightly.
Place the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes to give it a good chill. If not using immediately, cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Fill a frosty glass about two-thirds full with cold vanilla cream soda.
Pour the chilled batter over the back of a spoon and into the glass. It will naturally rise to the top and float on the soda. Make this layer as thick as you like, but go slow because it will grow fast. Serve it with a straw or drink it straight from the glass (and experience the foamy mustache).

You want a frosty mug or tall glass for your butterbeer. For a quick chill, rinse each glass with cold water and place them in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 2 hours.

Nutmeg Cake

3 eggs, room temperature
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
Caramel Icing:
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cream
¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat the butter and white sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs in three batches, blending them into the butter mixture fully. Stir in the vanilla.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
Pour 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl; mix just until incorporated. Stir in 1/2 the buttermilk, mixing gently. Continue adding the flour alternately with the buttermilk, mixing until combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert them on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Caramel Icing: In a medium saucepan, heat the brown sugar, cream or milk, and 1/4 cup butter until it boils. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool. Stir in confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth. Add more cream or milk or confectioner's sugar as needed to achieve desired spreading consistency. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Sep 20, 2021

Good Night, Sweet Prince

The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be.
– Konrad Lorenz

To call him a dog hardly seems to do him justice, though inasmuch as he had four legs, a tail, and barked, I admit he was, to all outward appearances. But to those who knew him well, he was a perfect gentleman.
– Hermione Gingold

Bishop wasn’t my dog, let me be clear about that from the start, but he felt like my dog. I was the one who drove my daughter to the farm where he was born. And I was the one who gave him his first toy:

He was happy, and smart, and friendly. Because his humans worked all day, he was crate trained and I’d go over in the early afternoon to let him out to play. And he loved to play, especially with sticks:

But if there weren’t any sticks around, he was great at finding his own toys (and burying them):

Sometimes, however, he liked to play with things he wasn’t supposed to, like his mom’s peonies:

Of course he liked to get presents, but I think the favourite present his human parents gave him was a tiny human of his own:

They even shared the same taste in toys:

He was so gentle and patient, I mean how many other dogs do you know who’d be willing to play dress-up?

They stayed best friends even after he went blind. They still played together and cuddled under blankets together. His little human even helped to find him sticks:

He had a good life and a happy one. Even after going blind, and being diagnosed with diabetes (requiring daily insulin shots), he kept his sweet disposition. But nothing good can last forever (and he was the goodest of the good). When he was diagnosed with cancer it caught everyone unprepared. He left us sooner than anyone would have wished, and he will be sorely missed.

Good night, sweet prince. Enjoy your pain-free eternity over the rainbow bridge.

Sep 15, 2021

Spice of Life Part III

Ginger got its name from the Sanskrit word srngaveram, which is a description of the root meaning “horn body.” Ginger grows best in warm, humid climates. Mature plants are typically 2 to 3 feet high with long spikey leaves and yellow flowers. Harvesting is done by simply lifting the rhizomes from the soil. The rhizomes vary in colour from dark yellow to light brown.

Ginger has a slightly biting, peppery taste. It can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s used in curries, baking, sauces, breads, drinks, and soups, and is excellent in meat, vegetable, fish, and poultry dishes.

Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of six to one, but the flavours differ slightly. Ginger comes fresh, dried, pickled, preserved is syrup, and crystallized. Fresh it can be chopped, sliced, crushed, or cut into matchsticks. Powdered ginger is typically used in baking.

Ginger has been cultivated in tropical Asia for over 3,000 years. Although its exact origins are unknown. it’s believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and was one of the earliest spices to be exported to Europe. It was valued for its medicinal properties as much as for its culinary purposes in China, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

The Spanish took it with them to the West Indies where they established a flourishing ginger trade between Jamaica (under Spanish rule) and Europe. Both raw and preserved ginger was a big import into Europe during the Middle Ages. By the 14th century, a pound of ginger cost the same as a sheep in England.

Today, India is the largest producer of ginger.

Medicinal Uses:
Ginger has been used in folk medicine since ancient times. Sweetened with palm tree juice, it was used in Burma to prevent the flu. In Japan it was used to help the circulation of blood. In India it was made into a paste and applied to the temples to relieve a headache

In more modern usage, the most common medicinal use for ginger is to relieve nausea and vomiting. This includes everything from morning sickness to sea sickness. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that are effective for pain relief and reducing swelling and discomfort from osteoarthritis and rheumatism. A little ginger can help alleviate a unsettled stomach when you’ve overindulged. It’s also effective to combat a cold or flu because it’s a natural diaphoretic, which means it will make you sweat. Some studies also indicate it might be effective in lowering glucose levels in Type II Diabetes and encourage weight loss.

But although it’s recognized as safe, ginger can also have several adverse effects. If you find you’re allergic to it you might end up with a rash. It can also cause heartburn, especially if it’s taken in powdered form. It can also adversely affect people with gallstones and interfere with blood thinners.


Ginger Hot Toddy

2 cups water
1 1/2-inch piece ginger root, thinly sliced
4 cloves
1 lemon, halved
4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 ounces rum or whiskey
Lemon slices, as garnish

In a medium saucepan, add water, ginger root slices and cloves. Squeeze lemon juice into the saucepan, adding lemon halves into the liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to medium heat for a gentle boil. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain into two mugs; add 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup and 1 ounce rum or whiskey to each mug. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ cup soft butter
¾ cup molasses
1 egg
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease and flour a 9 by 5 loaf pan (or line the pan with parchment paper.) *
Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the butter, molasses and egg and beat for two minutes
Add the boiling water.
Beat for another two minutes and turn into prepared pan.
Bake 50-55 minutes, or until loaf springs back when lightly touched.

*Add some extra sugar and spice to the flour before sprinkling it in the greased pan to give the bread a little extra flavour.

Sep 8, 2021

Spice of Life Part II

This delicately fragrant, brown spice has a warm, sweet flavour. Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, Burma, and the Malabar Coast of India, and is also grown in South America and the West Indies. It comes from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The outer bark of the tree is peeled away from the branches and the inner bark is rolled into quills, about one inch in diameter.

It comes to us dried, either rolled into sticks or ground into powder and is best kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. In Europe it’s mainly used in sweets, and in the Middle East it’s used in meat stews, especially those made with lamb.

It’s used in cakes, puddings, cookies, and bread, and can also added to meat and game stews, vegetables, stewed fruit, and curries. It can be sprinkled in coffee or tea and is delicious in hot chocolate.

Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt where it was used in embalming and religious ceremonies. It was brought to Europe by Arab traders who kept their source a secret in order to protect their control over it. Because cinnamon was transported via land routes that were difficult to traverse, it was very expensive. Its high cost made it into a status symbol in Europe. Along with being a sign of wealth, cinnamon was also popular because of its ability to preserve meat in the winter.

It was the most profitable spice in the Dutch East India Company trade, so much so that in the 17th century they seized the island of Ceylon from the Portuguese and then arranged to have the cinnamon sources along the coast of India destroyed so they could keep a monopoly on it. The French later seized Ceylon from the Dutch, then England seized it from the French. At that point other countries found it could be easily grown in other tropical climates, thus breaking the monopoly.

Medicinal Uses:
Medieval physicians used cinnamon in medicines to treat coughing, hoarseness, and sore throats.

Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties that help protect against disease. Its pre-biotic properties promote gut health and help fight bacterial and fungal infections. There is some evidence that suggests it can help lower blood pressure, and it has proven effective in lowering blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.


Mexican Hot Cocoa

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus more for garnish)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne. Whisking constantly, add milk in a thin stream until combined. Whisk in honey and orange zest.
Heat over medium, whisking occasionally, until mixture is steaming and bubbles start to appear on the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and whisk in vanilla.
In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat cream and on medium speed until cream is softly whipped.
To serve, divide cocoa between 4 mugs, top each with 1 tablespoon whipped cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cinnamon Chicken

1 1/2 cups dry sherry
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 frying chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

First make marinade.
In a medium size bowl, mix the dry sherry, cinnamon, honey, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to a evenly coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.

To cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the chicken, shaking off excess marinade. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until it begins to thicken and about 1 cup remains, 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Sear the chicken until golden on both sides. Pour the reduced marinade over the chicken and place in the oven.
Bake about 20 minutes and serve.

Sep 6, 2021

End of Summer

By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer's best of weather and autumn's best of cheer.
— Helen Hunt Jackson

And suddenly it’s September. The humidity is starting to dissipate and it’s cooling off enough after the sun goes down that we haven’t had to run the air conditioner upstairs at night.

I had a visit from my niece and great-niece last week. They stopped here for lunch on their way from Hamilton to Ottawa where the great-niece will be starting college. What a great place to go to school – Ottawa is such a beautiful city. And she’s taking a course in creative writing, which I also envy.

It seems like just yesterday that we were driving the daughter up to York University to start her educational adventure. Now her daughter is preparing to start grade one tomorrow. Next thing you know she’ll be off to college. Where does the time go? *sigh*

Seeing as summer is winding down, we had to have one last girls’ day adventure. We started out with Jungle Cat World, which is a small zoo but has a large variety of big cats. We picked a good day and time. The day started out cool and we got there early enough that the animals were pretty perky. I think it helped that they get fed in the morning. We watched one of the keepers feed a serval (who was food aggressive, reminding us of the daughter’s cat) and she was really good about telling us about the cat and answering questions.

The granddaughter even made a few new friends.

The zoo was followed by lunch, and then a shopping spree for back to school clothes. And scrunchies. Many, many scrunchies. LOL

The following day some of the hubby’s family from Ottawa were down and we had a barbeque. Any excuse to indulge in the wide variety of sausages that are made in-store at one of the local grocery stores. ;-)

I still can’t believe that those crazy kids went swimming. The temperature of the pool was only 70F. But they had fun running around afterwards, raiding my vegetable garden, and playing with the bubble gun I got the grandbaby at the beginning of the summer. Please note the fountain full of bubbles.

As endings to summer go, this one was pretty darn good.

Sep 1, 2021

Spice of Life Part I

Okay, here’s the thing. Normally I do my non-fiction posts on my writing blog, but considering the subject matter, I figured it fit better on this one. The problem is, I already introduced it over on My Writing Journal so my followers over there were expecting it. The solution to this conundrum was obvious – I’ll post it on both blogs.

So here for your reading pleasure is the first in my series on spices. They’re in no particular order and the series will run until I get bored with it. LOL

Hope you enjoy.

This brilliant golden yellow spice, also known as Indian Saffron, is available in fresh, dried, or powdered form.

It adds a mild aroma and distinctive yellow colour to foods. It has a warm, slightly bitter taste like black pepper and is most often used to flavour or colour mustards, butters, and cheeses. A member of the ginger family, turmeric comes from the underground rhizome of the plant and is essential to curry powder.

Turmeric can be used to enhance many foods such as pilafs, poultry, fish, pickles, chutneys, deviled eggs, bean and lentil dishes, and vegetable dishes, especially cauliflower and potatoes. It also makes a flavourful tea or latte.

It was first used in Southeast Asia as a dye to colour the robes of monks and priests yellow. The use of turmeric as a culinary spice dates back almost 4,000 years to India, where it also had some religious significance. It spread to China, Africa, and Jamaica, and Marco Polo described it as exhibiting qualities similar to saffron. It has a long history of medicinal use in South Asia, and is believed to be one of the ancient Persian yellow spices associated with sun worship.

Medicinal Uses:
In the last few years turmeric, or more precisely its main component curcumin, has been gaining popularity for its medicinal benefits.

Curcumin is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to relieve osteoarthritis. It’s also an effective aid in the treatment of depression, type 2 diabetes, lowering cholesterol, and relieving PMS symptoms. It has been used in headache treatment, especially for migraines, and one study has shown it can help ward off heart attacks in those who’ve had bypass surgery. Turmeric tea can also help ward off a variety of viruses, including the flu and COVID-19


Golden Milk Turmeric Tea
(for health benefits)

1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, preferably coconut milk beverage or almond milk
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 (1-inch) piece turmeric, unpeeled, thinly sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Ground cinnamon (for serving)

Whisk coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, honey, coconut oil, peppercorns, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavours have melded, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and top with a dash of cinnamon.

Golden milk can be made 5 days ahead. Store in an airtight container and chill. Warm before serving.

Spiced Jasmine Rice Pilaf

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
½ small fennel bulb, finely chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped fennel fronds
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
¼ cup chopped unsalted, roasted almonds, divided
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add onion, fennel, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and translucent, 5–8 minutes. Add coriander and tumeric and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until some grains are translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover saucepan, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 12–15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and fluff rice with a fork. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, then lid. Let sit 10 minutes.

Stir in fennel fronds and half of almonds. Top with cilantro and remaining almonds.

Serves 4