Welcome… I hope you have all had a enjoyable weekend and the weather has been kind to you…We have been celebrating Thai New Year…Songkran which is three days of sunshine and water… I have been very wet but in this heat it was most welcome however three days of running the gauntlets at my age is wearing a bit thin so yesterday I pulled the age card and said no more I do not want to go shopping soaking wet and with a floured face…Luckily I got away with it…lol
Peppercorns are something I use daily in my kitchen either fresh as pictured or freshly ground. I use black, white and green peppercorns which are all from the same seed of the same plant they are just at different stages of their development.
You then get the pink peppercorns!
Peppercorns don’t go through the same ripening cycles as many fruits and vegetables …nope nothing like it so come with me…
They look very pretty…Don’t they? Do you know which one is the odd one out?
I have always assumed black peppercorns were at the final stage of development …not so although they have nearly reached maturity they are not quite ripe.
When they have been harvested they are then dried in the sun and it is the enzymes in the berries which causes the skin to turn black.
Black peppercorns also are the strongest flavoured of the peppercorn family.
For the fullest flavour black pepper is best freshly ground as required as left whole they retain their freshness, flavour and essential oils.
Kept whole and in a sealed container and kept cool and dry they will keep for up to a year. Once ground or cracked the flavour decreases after about 4 months.
Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is both used as a spice and for medicinal purposes. The chemical piperine, present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. Since ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely-traded spices in the world. It is not a seasonal plant and is, therefore, available throughout the year. It is when it is dried, that this plant-derived spice is referred to as a peppercorn.
Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is used to preserve food. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.
Black pepper is also the agent which makes the turmeric such a powerful drink for you health and well being when you make Golden Milk.
The mature peppercorn berries are red…The red berries when harvested are soaked using a process known as retting in water for about a week during which time the flesh softens and decomposes the flesh is then rubbed off leaving the seed which is then dried in the sun.
The red ones are also brined or pickled.
White pepper has a different taste to black pepper it is milder and generally used in cookery when mashing potatoes or making light coloured sauces or dishes where the black specs of pepper would spoil the look of the dish or where a milder pepper is required.
It is also more expensive than black pepper.
Green peppercorns are the unripe fruit and they are often pickled in vinegar or brine or dehydrated/freeze dried which enhances the flavour.
Picked at the same time the green peppercorns are not allowed to dry whereas some are dried to produce the black peppercorn.
Fresh green peppercorns are used a lot in Thai cooking if I am just cooking a quick stir fry for me I take about 75/100 gms of sliced pork loin or chicken and stir fry it in some Thai red curry paste to which I add a little fish sauce and some coconut milk I then cook it over a fairly high heat until it is quite dry and add some fresh peppercorns and maybe a squeeze of lime it all depends how I feel. If I am eating it with sticky rice I prefer it drier but if I am eating it with steamed rice I leave the sauce a little runnier.
That’s a Carol special for me though as I like it super hot sometimes for the family I bring it down a little they love the flavour of a lovely peppercorn sauce over meat or fish although the recipe for fish is slightly different.
This Pork is a family favourite.
Pork shoulder with peppercorn sauce.
- Lean pork shoulder slices
- 2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- A pint of fresh stock.
- Cup of full cream milk
- 5/6 stems of fresh peppercorns
- Half tbsp Worcester sauce (optional)
- Corn flour or arrowroot to thicken sauce.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Before I start I will just say we make this recipe quite often and as many of you will know I go by taste rather than exact amounts.
Season the slices of shoulder portions with salt, pepper and little olive oil and cook in the oven about 180 turning and basting for about 30-40 minutes depending on the size/ thickness of your portions.
To make the sauce saute the garlic in a little olive oil and butter then add the stock and let simmer for a couple of minutes then add Worcestershire sauce if using and milk. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
Thicken the sauce with a corn flour or arrowroot slurry to your desired thickness. I now add the sauce to my pork and cover the pan so that the sauce doesn’t cook away. We like it like this as the meat juices and garlic add extra flavour to the sauce and then cook for a further 30 minutes or until meat is lovely and tender. Stir in your fresh peppercorns and check the seasoning.
We then serve with rice and green vegetables but it is also lovely with potatoes either mashed or new potatoes.
Unless your peppercorns are super fresh they will sometimes turn black with cooking this does not detract from the flavour.
I also freeze peppercorns if I am not using them all straightaway this also turns them black but they are still ok to use although I use within about 2 weeks of freezing them.
Now Pink Peppercorns are totally unrelated to the other peppercorns and are also known as the Christmas berry or Florida Berry. The pink peppercorn is mildly spicy and often found in a mixed pepper pot.
Just crushed with green, white or black peppercorns they make a lovely seasoning for steak or fish, mixed into a salad dressing or added to minced meat when making a burger.
That’s all from me for this week I hope you al have a lovely and productive week and all of you who have been nominated for a Bloggers Bash award I wish you all good luck although I think you are all winners.
Until next week … Carol J x
I am very grateful to Carol for all the hard work that goes into these posts, especially this week when celebrating Thai New Year.
The other posts in the series can be found in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-2018/
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
Connect to Carol
New additional Blog: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/
If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/
Looking forward to your comments and any questions that you have for Carol, and it would be great if you could hit a few share buttons..thanks Sally