Cloves are like little dark-wooden nails, and can be used almost as such pressed into onions (for bread sauce) or oranges (mulled wine) or studded over a piece of sugar-and-mustard-glazed gammon.

They do have a very pungent aroma and flavour – people who were subjected to oil of cloves as a cure for toothache often can’t stand them, so strong was their impact – but, used subtly, cloves are one of my favourite spices and I still love them in apple pies and crumbles.

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