Cardamom is a middle eastern spice I use most days in some way when cooking. My childhood memories are of spices commonly used by Mum in her cooking such as almonds, cinnamon, cloves and ginger in baked goodies, nutmeg grated over the slow-cooked rice pudding and thick vanilla custard. My late mother’s date scone recipe now includes cardamom and orange zest. Aromatic middle eastern spices are a later-on-in-life addition to my pantry.
In the time we lived in Al Ain in U.A.E., we strolled through the souqs inhaling the aromas, learning the names of the spices and herbs unfamiliar to us, chatting with people about food. The Arabic women I worked with generously shared their ways of cooking different ingredients. Arabic hospitality and celebration goes hand-in-hand with fabulous food, coffee and dates. Dates – now that’s a story in itself. The Arabic uses of a variety of dates and their stories about dates is so interesting. Dried dates are used in Mum’s scones. Next time, maybe I could use fresh dates. That’s something to think about.
Back to the cardamom. It is fair to say we became ‘addicted’ to cardamom with Arabic coffee. Recently, when I came across a recipe from the Hijaz region in Saudi Arabia in a blog by Chef in Disguise for Hijazi Almond Coffee, an almond milk white coffee topped with a spice such as cardamom, I thought, coffee drinkers everywhere, take note.