Good morning and welcome to the June’s edition of my Green Kitchen… I cannot begin to tell you how delighted I am to be back with a brand- new column at Smorgasbord Magazine… and how welcome you are making me feel.
Just to recap for those who are new here…This monthly post will cover sustainability, news on food production…changes for the better and maybe a villain or three…haha, a recipe or two including some plant- based recipes, hints and tips on making my household a little greener…aka recycling and composting.
I am passionate about cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, the environment and ensuring that the food I make for my family is clean and as chemical free as it can possible be…I would also love to know that instead of counting calories and cost that more people counted chemicals as it is the chemicals in processed foods which affect our health and wellbeing.
It isn’t easy …in theory we know what we should do …THEREFORE I have looked at what I can do gradually…every small change is a bonus.
This Month’s Recipe… Crock Pot or Dutch Oven Bread…
This loaf was cooked in a Dutch oven and I was pleasantly surprised how much the crust was like ones I have purchased in bakeries. This is a white loaf using unbleached flour but you can substitute other flours just be aware that you may have to adjust your liquid.
My hubby prefers white bread and I make it as healthy as I can by keeping an eye on salt and sugar ratio’s but as he has an otherwise healthy diet, I don’t push the point but do add wholewheat flour where I can and in the main, he doesn’t notice…
Probably from the steam produced using the Dutch oven method…
• 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 1/4 tsp of rapid yeast
• 2 cups of lukewarm water
• 1 tsp of olive oil.
In a large bowl add the flour and salt whisk to combine.
Make a well and add the rapid yeast granules and the lukewarm water then with wet hands bring the mix together. If it is too sticky add a little more flour and likewise if too dry add a little more water a tsp at a time…This will vary as it depends on the flour used.
Cover and leave in a warm spot to double in size again this depends on the temperature where you live it can be anything from a 1hr to 1 1/2 hours…if it is very warm mine takes a little less time.
Once risen using your hand or a dough scraper work the dough loose from the sides and working around the edge bring the sides to the middle.
Cover and leave to double in size again about 1 hour it rises slightly quicker this time.
Once risen transfer to a lightly floured surface sprinkle the top with a little flour and shape and fold the dough under itself several times then pinch the seams together. Coat your bowl with the olive oil and put the dough in the bowl cover and leave the dough to rise once again.
Then put on the oven and set the heat at 230C/450F and put your Dutch oven into the oven to heat up for 45-1n hr. By the time this has heated your dough should have risen.
NOW VERY CAREFULLY REMOVE THE HOT DUTCH OVEN ONTO A TRIVETT…It is hot then turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface and carefully put in the Dutch oven.
I will admit to asking for a helping hand if one is available but having made a few of these I am finding as we do …how to do it safely…Trial and error…sigh
Put the pot back into the oven and cook for 45 minutes then carefully remove the lid and cook for a further 15-30 minutes …
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 mins before slicing and enjoy…Happy Bread making..xx
Did you know?
It’s a given that processed foods can save you a little time. But what you gain in convenience, you lose in money, environmental impact and maybe even health.
That’s because processed foods require more labour to convert them from their natural state to something that fits in a box, bag or tub.
You’re also paying for the chemicals added to the processed food to keep them fresh.
You’re paying for the packaging, too, which is totally worthless once you get it home. Indeed, $1 out of every $11 you spend at the grocery store you spend on packaging you throw away.
Yvette from the Blog Priorhouse blog made me aware of this …Subway sandwiches are not something I have eaten, but I know my kids have/do and this franchise was taken to court…The court ruled there was too much sugar in their bread and it should be called cake.Washington Post Lifestyle Wellness Subway Bread Sugar
An important reminder that we should be aware of how food manufacturers are training OUR palates to not notice how sweet foods really are… as we all know if we cut down on something after a few weeks how pronounced that flavour is and the worlds palates are trained to expect sweetness.
I love a massage and massage shops are on every corner here…I come away feeling so much lighter in body and in spirit…What has that got to do with Kale you ask? Kale as you know is very good for us…packed with nutrients and vitamins we are encouraged to eat it, drink the juice add to our stir fries…How can we make it just that little less bitter and soften, lighter…
Greens, such as kale, cabbage, or Swiss chard, can have a bitter taste to them, especially if eaten raw. To prevent this, massage them with a little salt, oil, or dressing. Massaging kale breaks down the tough cell structure and makes it softer, less bitter, and easier to digest. Just drizzle it with some oil or dressing and a little salt, then use your hands to literally massage it into the leaves. You’ll feel them break down and become softer as you go.
Growing Your Own: Pea Shoots.
Delicious in stir fry’s and salads you can grow them on a sunny window sill…using whole dried peas, you find in your supermarket or local shop.
- To activate the dried peas and get the best results, you’ll need to soak them overnight in water.
- The next day, drain the peas and sprinkle them into a container lined with a layer of compost (around 3cm thick) and cover with a 1cm layer of compost.
- Place the container on a sunny windowsill, and within a few days they will start to sprout.
- After about six days, the shoots will be big enough to cut and enjoy. Be careful not to let them grow too big, otherwise they start to taste bitter.
Cooks Tip… The pea shoots will grow back again for a second time after you’ve cut them, so keep them on your windowsill for ongoing greens.
I have been very heartened by much that is happening in the world how people are really thinking how they can make a difference…The Sea is something which does concern me as it is vital to our survival…The beaches and seas surrounding Thailand are very beautiful BUT the seas are being drowned in plastic pollution.
Fishing nets are also a great hazard not only to coral reefs but to tortoises and turtles and other marine life they are strangling the seas and the sea life…
The undersea divers call them “ghost Nets”
Net Free Seas, a project that fetches used nets and turns them into plastic products in this case meeting the burgeoning demand for protective gear like face shields to guard against the pandemic.
It aims to prove that protecting sea creatures can be commercially viable in Thailand, one of the world’s biggest producers of ocean waste.
The initiative also comes in the wake of growing local outcry over the lethal effects of plastic and marine life.
Covid-19…has rampaged through the world…many have unfortunately died, many have lost their jobs, schools have had to close…BUT there have been positives… a negative which has turned into a positive…
I think one of the positives is we have got to know our neighbours…quarantined in our homes many people are doing what our mothers used to do and are chatting over garden fences…on our solitary walks we may have found local beauty spots which are more beautiful than foreign beaches… Discovered that local farmers grow better and cheaper food than that which is shipped (with the associated harm to the climate) across the globe.
Last month I told you that as I hate waste and am always on the lookout to utilise what I can…my current project entails saving and freezing any apple skins and cores so I can have ago at making my own Apple Cider Vinegar…
My apologises that there will not be the planned update today but there will be next month.
As covid has increased where I live, we have self-quarantined ourselves and the market where I buy apples has been closed because of covid so any fruit we eat is confined to what is on my trees…Jackfruit, mangoes, bananas and pomegranates…
Sustainability is on the agenda…Food and jobs are on the agenda…a healthy world is on the agenda…
Are you ready to join me in making your kitchen and garden a little greener, are you ready to cook from scratch more often and to count chemicals instead of calories and cost? Love Carol xx
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: Amazon US
My thanks to Carol for another fascinating post about how we can make a big difference to our health and that of the environment.. do head over to her blog to follow her and take your appetite… thanks Sally.