Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘L’ is for Lamb, Lavender, Lemon/ Lime Meringue Pie, Liquorice and Liver…


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter L.

Welcome to the next letter of the alphabet and I am starting with Lamb which is one of my favorite meats although not so easily available here.

Egyptian Lamb Flatbreads

Cold lamb is not very nice so we decided to make some flatbreads..a first for me and I was really pleased with how they came out..very quick and easy to make and a great use for the leftover lamb they made a change to shepherds pie. I now make my own bread and flatbreads all the time.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup water.
• 1/4 cup of milk
• 2 cups flour.
• 1 tbsp. Baking Powder.
• 2 tbsp. oil
• 1/2 tsp. salt.

Filling Mix

• 300 gm leftover cooked lamb…or you can use beef, pork or chicken.
• 1 lemon/lime finely zested.
• The juice half lemon/lime.
• 2 tsp. black pepper.
• 1 tsp. oregano or marjoram.
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• I tsp. Paprika.
• 1 tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted.
• 2 eggs beaten.
• 1 tsp. sea salt…
• 4 Spring onions finely sliced.

Let’s Cook!

To make flatbreads.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add liquids and mix thoroughly…I used my food processor and it took literally 2 mins…. if that and formed a ball. If it is too sticky add little more flour. Divide into 8 pieces. Flatten with the heel of the hand and roll out very thin.
My first attempt at this and I didn’t roll mine out thin enough to start with.

Heat pan and cook 2/3 minutes each side turn over with tongs or fish slice and done… finito…ready to fill…easy peasy.

Lamb Filling.

Chop lamb into rough little chunks and pieces. Put in large bowl with lemon zest and squeeze half of the lemon juice into the mix. Add all your spices, the eggs, salt and pepper and most of the spring onions and retain some for garnishing. Mix together thoroughly.

Lay out the flatbreads and cover half with filling, then fold over and press together. You get half-moon shape.

Get 2 large baking trays and rub one with Olive oil. Lay the flatbreads on the oiled tray, lightly rub other tray and pop this on top of flatbreads. Put trays into the preheated hot oven and cook 6-8 minutes. This way the flatbread will get lovely and crispy on top. If you have small trays you may need to do in batches.

Depending on the size of the flatbreads cut in two …I left mine whole as I served individually (see picture) and not on a large serving plate but for a party or just because you want to….. serve on one dish with Humous.

Larding.

Larding is the cooking technique of inserting strips or pieces of fat into a piece of meat that doesn’t have much fat of its own.

Fat is important in cooking, as it melts and keeps the meat from drying out.

Back in the last half of the 1900s, people didn’t need to do larding very much, as farmers had worked to breed animals with better marbling in their meat. No sooner had that been achieved, however, than consumers changed their minds and wanted “fat-free” meat, and wouldn’t purchase meat that had much or any marbling in it. Consequently, farmers are going back to breeding meat that doesn’t have much fat of its own, and we have almost reached the point that we have to start larding again.

Some meats, such as venison, have always been larded as Venison is very lean meat.

Often lard (pork fat) is used, but if you are doing beef you would want to use beef fat to “lard” your beef with.

Lemon/ Lime Meringue Pie

I seemed to be making a lot of recipes lately which require egg yolks thus leaving me with a glut of egg whites. I haven’t made a lime meringue pie before but as we get more limes here than lemons it made sense to do so… Make a pastry case using either your own tried and tested recipes or following mine.

Make the shortcrust pastry.

I use half fat to flour so for example for 8oz of flour I use 4oz of fat.

The flour is not same here and very recently when I was comparing items from the UK against the US….I made some startling discoveries of the differences and it has made an instant difference to my cooking especially my pastry…. I will say no more but I had a silent rant!

Again I cannot get the same cooking fat so I use an olive oil based fat and crispo. For this sort of pastry when I want a nice soft pastry I used 1/3 olive oil fat and 2/3 crispo.

And cake flour, not all purpose flour, and the difference was remarkable…….mmmm I am still silently ranting…lol

Prepare your pastry making sure you use ice cold water from the fridge and wrap in clingfilm and put in the chiller for at least 20 minutes.

Roll out and line a pie plate or dish.

Some prebake at this point and some don’t …I have done both depending on the time I have or just how I feel.

If I don’t prebake I stand the dish on a baking tray so as to make sure there are no “soggy bottoms”

For this pie, I pre-bake the pie case…I cook the pie case on 190 degrees for about 25-30 mins if you just lightly scrape the edge of the pie it should just flake away.

Now let’s make the filling…

• 1 1/2 cups of sugar
• 1/2 cup cornstarch
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 egg yolk
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice or lemon juice
• 2tsp butter at room temperature
• 1 cup boiling water
• 2tsp lime zest.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, water, and lime juice. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Stir in butter and egg yolks. Then gradually add boiling water.
  3. Bring mix to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
  4. The mix should be fairly thick and glossy, if you want to add green coloring at this point then you can. I didn’t so add so my filling was a lemon color because of egg yolks.
  5. Pour into the pre-baked pastry case.

Meringue Topping

• 3 Egg whites
• 3/4 cup sugar.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks.
  2. Add half of the sugar and beat until stiff and then fold in rest of sugar.
  3. Put on top of lime/lemon filling and make sure edges are sealed.
  4. Bake in preheated oven on 175 until top is golden. About10 mins.

Liver.

This lovely spicy chicken liver dish is very easy and quick to make…. In Thai, it translates to Pad Ped Kuang Nai Gai Tua Fuk Yaao. Try saying that after a few glasses of wine.

This dish is a family favorite, even hubby eats it and he doesn’t really do spicy but I think his love of liver takes over.

Ingredients:

• 350 gm Chicken Livers
• 4 or 5 long green beans.
• 1 tsp. Red curry paste….. depending on the red curry paste you use you may need to add more…I use a locally made one which blows your head off …so only use a tsp. and it is still hot!
• 1-2 tbsp. Fish Sauce.
• 6/8 Lime leaves very finely sliced.
• 4 tbsp. Coconut Milk.
• A small amount of coconut oil.

N.B You can use oil of your choice I just always cook with Coconut oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Clean and cut up chicken livers…I do bite-size pieces.
  2. Cut up long beans into half-inch long pieces.
  3. Finely shred lime leaves…..I roll them and shred.
  4. Heat Pan over fairly high heat, add a small amount of oil, add chili paste and 1 tbsp Fish sauce stir until paste is liquid, add finely sliced lime leaves and chicken livers, stir until the liver is just cooked.
  5. Add the green beans and coconut milk and cook gently for 2/3 mins.
  6. Taste and add more fish sauce if required…I generally add about another half tbsp.
  7. It is now ready to serve..this is quite a dry dish so can be served with a small bowl of miso soup with chopped spring onions if liked.
  8. Serve with steamed rice.

Lassi.

Lassi is a popular traditional dahi-based drink that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is a blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes fruit. Traditional lassi is a sweet-savory drink, sometimes flavored with ground and roasted cumin.

Lemongrass.

A tall tropical grass the fresh stalks and leaves have a clean lemonlike odor because they contain an essential oil, which is also present in lemon peel. Used extensively in Asian cooking and it is a spice which I love Lemongrass is a long thick grass with leaves at the top and a solid portion several inches long at the root end. The lower portion is sliced or pounded and used in cooking. As a spice, fresh lemongrass is preferred for its vibrant flavor but is also sold in dried form. The dried spice is available in several forms: chopped in slices, cut and sifted, powdered,

Longan.

A popular fruit here in Thailand in season Longan is sold everywhere markets and street corners…Thais love it…

Longan fruit also referred to as “euphoria fruit,” grows on an evergreen tree and is related to the lychee. Both are a translucent white beneath a somewhat soft and nut-like exterior. The longan, however, has a light brown shell and a central hard, glossy black seed that has the appearance of an eye. The Chinese call this fruit “dragon eye.”

The flavor of the longan is described as being somewhat like that of the lychee only sweeter and more grape-like. Longan Honey is also very nice and healthy and honey I buy fresh whenever I can.

Liaison.

A liaison in cooking is a binding agent. It could be bread or flour but generally, it is almost always especially in professional kitchen cream and egg yolks. Classically it is 3 egg yolks per cup/8oz/250ml of cream which are mixed together and then a small amount of the hot soup.stew is added a little at a time (we don’t want) scrambled eggs do we? then once the temperature of the liaison has raised which is called ” tempering” the mixture is poured into the soup or stew.

If using flour then mix the flour with a little cold water first before you add the hot mix and temper it.

Leeks.

Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables.

Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help them to retain moisture.

Tips for preparing Leeks.

Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off the root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion.

Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.

Leeks can be used in soups, stews, they can be stuffed there are numerous recipes using leeks…Just make sure that you wash them thoroughly as they tend to have their growing soil between each layer.

Liquorice.

Liquorice (British English) or licorice (American English) is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a sweet flavor can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, such as India.

Liquorice flavours are used as candies or sweeteners, particularly in some European and Middle Eastern countries.

Liquorice is a chewy, dark-brown or black sweet flavored with liquorice root extract. Common variations include bootlaces, all-sorts (which are bound by colored sugar paste) and regional confections such as Pontefract cake and Yorkshire pennies (shiny black discs that are distinguished by the small castle and owl image stamped on one side).

In Denmark and Norway, salted liquorice is more common than the sweet variety popular in Britain. I remember as a kid we used to get very small liquorice sweets like little pips…called imps I think? and also one which I am assuming was the root and it was really chewy…Does anyone else remember those???

I know many chefs are now using liquorice in cakes and savory dishes I haven’t tried it…I love the sweet liquorice but do think it is a bit like Marmite you either love or hate it…

Licorice extracts have been used in herbalism and traditional medicine.

Lavender.

Lavender is a herb native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean and is also grown for the production of its essential oil, which comes from the distillation of the flower spikes of certain lavender species.

The lavender essential oil is toxic when swallowed.

The oil has cosmetic uses, and it is believed to have some medicinal uses.

Can you use lavender in cooking?

Lavender flowers are most commonly used in dessert recipes, but some professional cooks are finding it is also an outstanding addition to savoury recipes. Like rosemary, lavender can add a robust flavor to roasted meats and is especially good with lamb.

Again I haven’t used lavender in cooking but I think maybe I will soon…Has anyone else used lavender in cooking?

Lotus Root

A popular vegetable here in Thailand …with a creamy and starchy texture that’s similar to taro root. Lotus seeds can be boiled and added to dessert soups or ground to make lotus seed paste, a common ingredient in sweets like mooncakes and daifuku. Though not as widely available, even the petals and leaves of the lotus plant are edible.

The first time I came across the seeds were when we visited the Red Lotus Lake here where I live I was then able to join the dots as I had seen the seed pods being sold at the roadside and on the markets but didn’t know what they were…

The lotus root can be found sunk into the mud of a pond or river bottom and the lotus root is actually the stem of the plant. Growing as long as four feet, the stems rise out of the water and ends in the elegant flowers that are so revered in Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Even in harsh temperatures, lotus flowers maintain a fairly precise temperature range, which is perhaps why the Chinese call lotus root a “cooling” food, consumed to restore balance to the body.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter M.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘K’ for Kale, Ketchup, Kippers and Kanom Moo Krob (Crispy Pork and Kale)


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter K.

K seems to lend itself too much which is Asian unless I revert to the German Language where our C is often replaced with a K…However not in many culinary dishes so I drew a bit of a blank there…

Kippers, I remember that smell very well as a child my dad loved Kippers, So what is a Kipper?

A kipper is a whole herring, a small, oily fish, that has been split from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted or pickled, and cold-smoked over smouldering woodchips (typically oak).

In the British Isles and a few North American regions, they are often eaten for breakfast. In Great Britain, kippers, along with other preserved smoked or salted fish such as the bloater were also once commonly enjoyed as a high tea or supper treat, most popularly with inland and urban working-class populations before World War II.

My abiding memory is the bones and the smell you can imagine a fussy child picking all those little bones out.and screwing up her nose..lol

Kaffir Limes

I have used the leaves in many of the Thai dishes that I cook they are used in many Asian dishes…The trees are small evergreen trees and prickly. The one I had was quite a young one and I had not seen any fruit…It wasn’t until a neighbor gave me some of the fruit that I put two and two together and realized that was the fruit of the tree I had growing in the garden and now we do have fruit.

The rind is very bumpy unlike the normal limes I use and when cut open the flesh is quite dry and what juice there is has an acidic, bitter and is very strongly sour tasting.
A complete contrast to the zest which is quite aromatic.

A little zest goes a long way and very finely chopped or added to ingredients it imparts a beautiful citrus flavour. I have added a little video as there is a knack for chopping the lime leaves very finely. You need a really sharp knife and it is an art…

Here in Thailand, it is also pounded in a pestle and mortar as it is an ingredient in many curry pastes it is added to the iconic Tom Yum Soup and other soups and stews here and also is an ingredient in Thai Shrimp Cakes

Nutritionally the benefits of the Kaffir Lime is from the oils in the rind and the high levels of citronella and limonene which are both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Oil extracted from the leaves is also used for medicinal purposes, it is mixed into shampoos, soaps salves and fragrances.

Most often it is used in oral products or the leaves can be rubbed directly onto the gums as it eliminates harmful bacteria in the mouth.

In the rural areas and villages, you will find many herbs, fruits and vegetables are used like this to help alleviate and cure many ailments as many either are to far away to visit the doctor or cannot afford to or even just prefer to use remedies passed down through the generations.

It is also used as an insect repellent by mixing the juice or oil with a lotion or salve and it reduces the chance of being bitten.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Kaffir Lime…Do you use Kaffir lime or its leaves ????

Ketchup.

A thick, sweet sauce made with tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. It is also known as catsup and catchup. It is said to be derived from “fet-tsiap,” a spicy pickled fish condiment popular in China.

Ketchup was first mentioned in print in 1711. Most American ketchup is made with tomatoes. The F. & J. Heinz Company of Pennsylvania sold the first bottled tomato ketchup as of 1876.

Kaki aka Persimmon

A fruit which I have seen and never bought until a little while ago…Why? I just haven’t but I saw it mentioned in a few recipes which prompted me to try it…

Kaki (Persimmon) is in season here now and I have to admit not a fruit I had tasted… seen never tasted but this week we did my daughter-law hadn’t tasted it either so we bought some and it is lovely the texture of a crisp apple fairly sweet but very nice.

The persimmon is one of the classical fruits of China, from where it was introduced in ancient times to Japan. Mainly grown in China and Japan commercially but smaller growers have developed in Italy, Israel, Brazil, California (U.S.A.), Australia and New Zealand. In South-East Asia, it is grown on a limited scale in Java, Sumatra, Malaysia and Northern Thailand. At present grown by hill tribe growers here in Northern Thailand.

Production has been slow to cultivate and they are mostly sold as fresh fruit which is probably why by comparison with other fruits they are expensive.

Kielbasa (kihl-BAH-sah) – Kielbasa is a smoked sausage made from pork. Sliced and eaten with cheeses and olives.

Kale.

Love it or hate it but there is no denying the health benefits that this humble vegetable contains. I know many of you dislike Kale, but I love kale, although I do not love kale in a smoothie. Well, for those of you who buy greens powders at some expense so I am told … Dehydrate those tough outer leaves that you would normally throw away and turn them into a greens powder to add to your morning smoothie or sprinkle on your salads…

A great money saver…

Just a question when I lived in the UK the kale was what we called curly Kale the kale here is like the one pictured I haven’t seen curly kale here. What kale do you get curly or straight ???

One of my favorite kale recipes

Kanom Moo Krob (Crispy Pork and Kale)

Ingredients:

• 2 Belly Pork Strips.
• 8 Large leaves of Kale.
• 3/4 cloves Garlic. squashed with the flat blade of a knife.
• 2/3 birds eye chilies.
• 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
• 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
• 2/3 shakes of Maggi Sauce.
• Half tbsp. Oil.

Let’s Cook!

  • Cook Belly Pork in the oven until tender and crispy for about 30 mins.
    I normally cook on about 180/200 degrees to start and then reduce heat slightly to 160 degrees. When the pork is tender turn up the heat to crisp the pork. When nice and crispy remove the pork from the oven and chop into bite sized pieces.
  • Heat the wok or large fry pan and add half tablespoon oil.
  • Add crushed garlic and chilies, add little hot water and cook for 1 minute, at this point the chilies may overpower you, ha ha, turn on expel fan and add chopped Kale.
  • Stems first if you are using them as they take longer to cook. I use stems of Kale also if they are quite a thick slice into 2-inch pieces.
    No waste from this kitchen…
  • Cook for 2 mins and add remainder of Kale leaves and turn over a few times ….I use fish slice as I find it easier to just turn kale over.
  • Add 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce and 1 tbsp Soy along with few shakes of Maggi (seasoning Sauce).
  • Taste and adjust if necessary. Cook for further 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add crispy Pork turn or stir a few times to mix.
  • Check the seasoning again and serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

Kosher food.

The word kosher means “fit or proper.” It refers to food that is proper for the Jewish people to consume as set out in the laws of Kashrut (the kosher dietary laws) in the Old Testament.

Knead.

The process of working dough by mixing, stretching, and pulling. Kneading is most often used in bread dough and is a necessary step in order to develop the gluten.
To knead, gather your dough into a ball.Using the heel of your hands, press down on the dough. Pull up the part of the dough that was flattened by your hands and fold it back over on itself. Keep repeating the process, turning the dough periodically.

Kugel

Koogel means “ball” or “Cannonball” in German. This name evolved because of the small round pot in which such puddings used to be cooked. This round, covered pot would be placed in the larger pot of cholent a slow-cooking stew of chunks of meat, marrow bones, beans, barley, potatoes. Classic ones are made with noodles or grains (sometimes even leftover bread). They often have a sweet ingredient such as raisins or apples, but some are savory. Today, they are even made with a variety of vegetables in a style reminiscent of quiche or casseroles.

What is characteristic of all of them, though, is that they are made without water, using fats and/or eggs to bind the ingredients.

Khao Soi

Originating from Northern Thailand there are many versions of this dish but all revolve around soft and crispy noodles with spicy yellow curry…

Khao Soi originated from here in the North and holds almost iconic status..said to originate from the Chiang Mai area the name means ” cut rice” in Thai although it is thought the word originates from the Burmese word for noodles and is a corruption of the word Khao swe.
It is also my all time favourite Thai curry I eat it at every opportunity.

Khao gle at

Are traditional handmade Thai pancakes and I was very lucky to see them being made a real family affair.

Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans are the most common kidney bean. These large beans have a dark red color, glossy skin and firm texture, making them suitable for soups, stews, chilies, and other dishes that cook for a long time.

The white Kidney bean also known as cannellini beans are large, with a thin, white skin and a subtle flavour.These beans are more suitable for salads and dishes that require a shorter cooking time.

Kinilaw Cuisine.

Kinilaw cuisine is a true Philippine cuisine with influences as far back as pre-colonial times with trans-Pacific trade and exchanges of culture. Links later in the 16th century with Europe and South America through Spanish colonists had the most tremendous impact on today’s Philippine cuisine. This merging of culinary heritages must be described and considered as a real “fusion cuisine.” to what has become today’s Philippine cuisine.

Anything alive and anything fresh can be used for Kinilaw cuisine (crustaceans, fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, flowers, insects, fowl, and snakes; food as rare and unusual as balatan (sea cucumber), lima lima (spider conch), kohol (river snail), abatud (larva of coconut beetle), butbut (sea anemone), guso (seaweed) goat, carabao, venison, wild boar, heart, liver, tripe, animal skin, Puso ng saging (banana core) and to name some many of which are local ingredients. It is pretty similar to Thai Cuisine where you will get regional differences to the same dish.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter L.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘J’ for Jelly Beans, Jalapenos, Jack Fruit and Jerky all with a little Jus


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter J.

 

I hope you are enjoying this series of the A-z of food as much as I have the research and writing.

Starting with one of my favourite little sweeties the Jelly Bean…

Jelly Beans are primarily made of sugar with a jelly inside a candy shell…There are some awesome flavours…Tabasco Flavour, Chilli Mango, Marguerita and some beautiful fruity flavours…Cringe-worthy flavours like Earthworm, Earwax and vomit are for me a No No! But I suppose for Halloween revellers they will be on someone’s list…

Jelly:

Depending on where in the world you live Jelly can be a wibbly wobbly fruit jelly made with gelatin which in England is served with fruit and cream or used to make a trifle. In the US jelly is put on bread or toast or made into a tart and is what we Brits call jam…Are you confused yet?

Jellies are also sweets…fruit jellies of all shapes and sizes…They may be plain or covered in sugar but are what we call jellies in England.

Jalapeno Peppers…

Those of you who know this lady knows that she loves her hot peppers and these are no exception to this…Jalapeno Peppers on a Pizza or in a chilli …Pickled with carrots was a new one on me until about 18 months ago when someone I met who came from Texas gave me this recipe …I am addicted to them as are the men in this household lovely as a little spicy nibble as one passes the fridge or with some cheese and biscuits as a little snack with a beer…

Jalapenos and carrots

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning… I was given this recipe many years ago when we visited Jamaica for our daughter’s wedding… Think Steel Drums on a beach…Beautiful and our guide who was a huge man going by the name of Wolf… He gave us the best tours of the island and some recipes from the lovely food his wife cooked for us one night… a holiday to remember …

Ingredients:

• 1 tablespoon onion flakes.
• 2 teaspoons ground thyme.
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley.
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice.
• 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
• 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
• 1 teaspoon paprika.

Mix together and store in an airtight container.

Jasmine Pearls…

Beautifully handcrafted green tea leaves…An exquisite tea…

Since living here I have learnt how to brew green tea properly and these pearls are a treat a beautiful tea…

Juniper Berries…

 

The primary flavour in gin and they also make a lovely rich sauce and pair very well with venison.

For the ways to prepare Juniper berries: Fruity Fridays

Jasmine Rice…

Thai jasmine rice is the long grain rice which is well known for its fragrance and taste all around the world. Thai jasmine rice is one of the main export products of the central and northeastern of Thailand. Because of the most suitable geographic location, Thailand can grow the best quality and unique jasmine rice.

Thai Jasmine rice is also known as Thai Hom Mali rice, Thai Jasmine Rice and Thai Fragrant Rice…

Jambalaya…

Is a one-pot recipe of chicken, sausage, shrimp and rice which has its roots in the Creole
community.

The first is Creole jambalaya (also called “red jambalaya“). First, meat is added to the trinity of celery, peppers, and onions; the meat is usually chicken and sausage such as andouille or smoked sausage. Next vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood.

Many variations exist of this recipe often passed down through the family. and often Jambalaya and gumbo get mixed up but they are two different dishes and there has been many a battle to determine which takes the crown… A beautiful warming dish on a cold night and one which tastes even better the next day when the flavours have been allowed to develop.

Julienne…

A technique of cutting vegetables, fruit or citrus rinds into matchstick-sized strips.

Jus…

French for juice, in restaurant terms jus usually refers to the pan juices from a piece of meat used to sauce it on the plate.

Jaffa Cakes… Almost iconic ..Chocolate covered orange biscuits, bite-sized genoise cakes first introduced to the UK in 1927 by McVities…In 2012 they were ranked the best selling cake in the UK…

Jack Fruit…

Often mistaken for Durian…Jackfruit is now hailed by Vegans as the best alternative to pulled Pork and indeed when the young Jackfruit is cooked it does resemble cooked meat…I was absolutely astounded the first time I cooked a young jackfruit as to how much it changed the texture and taste…

However to get to the lovely fruit is something else …But never fear I have included a lesson in how to get into that big green fruit …Think latex and all will be revealed…haha

For ways to prepare Jack Fruit: Fruity Friday

Jerky:
Jerky is lean trimmed meat that has been cut into strips and dried (dehydrated) to prevent spoilage. Normally, this drying includes the addition of salt to prevent bacteria growth before the meat has finished the dehydrating process.

Jerky is popular all around the world and I am sure there are many different recipes. Here in Thailand it is very popular and made using either beef or pork. Normally sun dried and it can be either threaded on bamboo much like a necklace or slightly larger pieces which are sold by the weight.

Homemade Beef Jerky…The Thai Way…

Ingredients

• 1 lb top round steak, cut into strips measuring approximately 4 inches long, ½ inch wide, and ¼ inch thick
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 1 tbsp dark or light soy sauce
• 2 tsp sugar
• ½ tsp ground white (or black) pepper
• Vegetable oil for frying
• White sesame to garnish(optional)

Let’s Cook!

  1. Heat the oven to 120°F and set a rack in the middle of it. Spread out the beef strips on a large cookie sheet and let them dry out in the oven for one hour. Turn the beef strips over and let them dry for another hour.
  2. You know the beef strips are ready when their surface is dry to the touch while the texture is still somewhat soft and elastic. When that happens, remove the beef strips from the oven or the drying basket and place them in a mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, heat up some vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or an 8- to a 12-inch frying pan with a raised edge on medium heat. You only need just enough vegetable oil to come up to about 2 inches from the bottom of the pan. Line a platter with a piece of paper towel and keep it nearby.
  4. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper, and sugar to the beef strip bowl and toss; make sure that all of the beef strips are evenly coated with the seasoning sauce.
  5. Test the oil by sticking a wooden skewer or chopstick into the oil, making sure the tip of the wooden skewer touches the bottom of the pan. If you see tiny bubbles rising from the point where the wooden skewer touches the pan, the oil is ready.
  6. Shake excess seasoning off of the beef strips and fry them in two batches. Be sure to stir the beef strips around to ensure even cooking. On medium heat, the beef only needs to be in the oil for less than a minute. You’ll see that the beef will brown up and develop a nice, glossy coating. When that happens, transfer them to the paper towel-lined platter.
  7. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds if using.
  8. Serve the fried sun-dried beef with spicy Thai dipping sauce and sticky rice.

Enjoy!

N.B. I dry my beef outside before frying but have given instructions to oven dry as I know many of you don’t have the weather I have here.

Jersey Royals:

The Jersey Royal is a unique potato, lovingly crafted and carefully grown on the island of Jersey since the late 1800s. The island itself is optimal for growing potatoes, with its unique microclimate, soil and environment creating the perfect conditions for this special spud to flourish.

They are also my favourite new potato, cooked and served with butter and mint I could eat a bowlful just on their own.

Besides being unique to Jersey, the Jersey Royal enjoys EU protection of designation of origin in much the same way that France was granted sole use of the word ‘champagne’. The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is an official recognition granted by the EU to protect the product as it is produced in its country of origin. This, in addition to Jersey’s unique growing conditions, make these potatoes particularly unique.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter K.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘I’ is for Icing, Ink Fish, Indian Black Salt, Infusing Immortalittea and Irish Stew…


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter I.

I am loving this series as I am discovering terms and names I didn’t know or didn’t think I knew so I hope you are too.

I for me was not as easy as some and not so many terms in the culinary alphabet beginning with the letter I although as I was writing I did think of some more it takes me a while sometimes…getting old…lol

I know Ice Cream is mine and many other peoples favourite thing so I left it out…I thought I would feature some lesser known terms.

Infuse.

Means…To extract flavour from one food to another often by heating or steeping. Teas are infusions.

Icing…

The icing on many a cake or biscuit it can be plain or fancy…from cupcakes to the fanciest of wedding cakes or little iced biscuits…

It comes in so many variations there are so many talented bakers…When I see some of the intricate patterns I am in awe…

The icing is generally used to glaze pastries or cakes and tastes more sugary than frosting. Icing can be used to make beautiful flooded decorations on cakes or biscuits. Who doesn’t love a drizzle cake ??

Isinglass Finings.

Is what makes your beer clear…

Isinglass is a traditional finings, a substance that causes yeast to precipitate out of suspension, leaving beer clear. Isinglass is derived from the swim bladders of certain tropical and subtropical fish. When macerated and dissolved for several weeks, they form a colorless, viscous solution largely made up of the protein collagen. This material is known to brewers as isinglass finings.

Traditionally, isinglass for brewing purposes was derived from sturgeon, although modern commercial isinglass is more typically derived from tropical estuarine dwellers, such as the Nile Perch Lates niloticus from Lake Victoria, where it is considered an invasive species.

The best quality finings originates in the South China Sea and is identified as Round Saigon or Long Saigon finings. The swim bladder is sun-dried at the catch site and then packed for export to markets in China, where it is used to make fish maw soup, or to the UK to make isinglass finings.

Indian Corn.

Doesn’t that look pretty?

Is a variant of maize…Very colorful and pretty…It is mostly sold for ornamental purposes and used in displays…Can you eat it? It is also known as flint corn and some varieties are used for popping for popcorn or it can be ground into flour.

Insalata.

Quite simply the Italian word for salad and sounds so much more than just salad…Don’t you think?

Irish Stew.

Winter is coming in many places now although here it is the opposite High season is coming.

A traditional Irish stew has been around since about the 1800’s. Traditionally it consisted of nothing but mutton chops or neck, potatoes, onions, and water…I have fond memories of when my mother used to make it with white gravy as we called it although she did add carrots and barley … Like any traditional dishes, there are many regional differences and all think theirs is the original and all tasty.

Photo credit: daspunkt on Visual hunt / CC BY

Ink Fish (Octopus)

Octopus an eight-limbed soft-bodied mollusc…They have three hearts and blue blood which they squirt at any predators. They are the subject in many films and myths and are also very nice to eat…

In Korea, some small species are sometimes eaten raw as a novelty food. A raw octopus is usually sliced up, seasoned quickly with salt and sesame seeds and eaten while still squirming posthumously. A common food in the Mediterranean with the ink used to color rice dishes like paella or pasta.

I like my octopus in a tomato based stew or grilled with a lemon sauce.

Immortalittea ( Green Chai)

Was originally blended for medicinal purposes and is said to be highly anti-ageing, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant it is a carefully balanced blend of Mediterranean and North American spices and has a more muted flavour than traditional chai tea not a bit medicinal in flavour as one would think it has a floral, piney flavor with fresh green undertones…

Italian Herb blend

A very popular herb blend which is used in many dishes and also very easy to make using herbs from your store cupboard.

Ingredients:

• 6 tablespoons dried basil
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Mix together and store in an airtight container.
Easy as 1 2 3….isn’t it?

Indian Vanilla Bean.

Who would think that you would get such a wonderful fragrance from a dried bean??
India the country of spices and Vanilla being one of them…introduced about 1850 it is thought to be superior to the Madagascan Vanilla … I have no opinion on this as of yet I have not used the Indian variety which is said to be sweet, creamy and extremely aromatic…and can be used in any dishes requiring vanilla.

Imu:

A traditional pit oven furrowed with rocks and banana leaves used for cooking meats.

Iceberg Lettuce.

Iceberg lettuce …It used to be very popular but with the emergence of so many colorful, nutritious lettuces seems to have taken a bit of a back seat… I like it! It makes a lovely crispy base for prawn cocktails and it lasts and does not wilt as quickly as some other lettuces and in a sandwich adds that welcome crunch there is to me nothing lovelier than a prawn mayo sandwich with iceberg lettuce…Just saying!

Indian Black Salt.

Indian black salt, or kala namak, is an Indian volcanic rock salt. … It starts out as Himalayan Pink Salt or sodium chloride and is then heated to extremely high temperatures and mixed with Indian spices and herbs including the seeds of the harad fruit (Indian Walnut) which contains sulfur.

That’s all for this month I hope you have enjoyed my choices and maybe like me discovered some you were not familiar with.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter J.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘H’ is for Honey, Hamburgers, Hummus, Herbs, Haggis and Hoisin Sauce


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the letter H.

The choices on what to showcase were many and I had quite a hard time deciding which ones to feature. Otherwise, you could be looking at something akin to War and Peace and we all want peace in our kitchens don’t we?

Honey: Also known as the… Nectar of the Gods.

Where do I get my honey? Well, my first bottle, I was sitting on the beach with my sundowner, fending off the ever-present sellers of touristy bits and bobs, when a man appeared carrying a very heavy-looking bucket. What did he have? Well, I had to look and what a surprise, it was fresh, very fresh honeycomb, and he strained the most glorious bottle of fresh honey. I just had to purchase it, the taste was so fresh and very slightly scented, amazing and a beautiful golden colour.And enjoy!

Now I have moved to the North of Thailand I get my honey straight from the comb, I am so lucky and I know that and it is beautiful.

I always take a little apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey in hot water first thing in the morning, on an empty tummy. I have been taking it for a couple of years. It is said to fight off joint inflammation and I don’t suffer from joint pain or anything.

Honey mixed with Dijon mustard makes a lovely glaze for BBQ meats.

Or one of my favourites is honey and chilli glaze

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp. of Red chillies finely chopped,
  • 1 tbsp. of Green chillies finely chopped,
  • 1 tbsp. of fresh Lime juice,

Mix all together and leave for 1 hour in the fridge it is then ready to use.

Another wonderful dip for a cold meat platter on a lovely spring/summers day…has cloves and soy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. oil,
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped,
  • 1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes,
  • 1/3 cup honey,
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce,
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar,
  • ¼ to ½ cup water
  • and 2 tsp. cornstarch.

Let’s cook

  1. In a small bowl stir together the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ¼ cup of water and the cornstarch.
  2. Put the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and let the mix warm up for about 30 seconds,
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and just starting to color, 15-20 seconds max.
  4. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for another 15-30 seconds until garlic is very lightly browned.
  5. Restir the honey mixture and pour into the saucepan, bring to a simmer stirring, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins stirring frequently.
  6. Add more water if desired.

You now have a lovely dip for your cold platter.

What I also love is chilli infused honey.

  1. Place honey in a saucepan and warm until it reaches 180 degrees on a sugar thermometer.
  2. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Then pour your honey over a jar of chillies.
  4. Cool to room temperature.

Beautiful with meat or fish.

Enjoy!

Hamburger:

The hamburger or burger as most commonly called first appeared around the 19th century or early 20th century and the evidence suggest that it originated in the U.S.A and consisted of two pieces of bread and a ground beefsteak. How far has it evolved since then??

There are great burgers and there are the worst burgers you could ever eat. Me I am not a fan of the burger and on the odd occasion when we do have them I make my own. There are the schools of thought of which the late Anthony Bourdain was one that a burger should be just that and not have so much in it that you couldn’t get your mouth around it. I have seen pictures of some huge ones so I do tend to agree with him that less is more.

My favourite burger is a beef, red, onion and parmesan burger.

Ingredients:

  • 350 gm. best beef mince or mince your own
  • 1 med red onion very finely chopped reserving a few whole rings of onion to go in the burger.
  • 2 med eggs yolks beaten
  • 25 gm. breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 35 gm. parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper.

Let’s Cook!

  1. If you are cooking your burgers on the BBQ then the first job is to get the BBQ going as you want it nice and hot.
  2. Chop the onion finely and blitz in the food processor…add the egg yolks with the breadcrumbs, spices and Dijon mustard mix to combine.
  3. Finely grate the parmesan and mix in well.
  4. Add the mince and season well…I always cook a tiny little patty as a tester that way it is easier to adjust the seasoning.
  5. I find mixing with your hands is a good way to combine the ingredients properly once mixed then form into the sized burgers you require.
  6. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up before putting onto the BBQ or grill.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and season when you put them on the griddle and cook for 4 mins each side more if you like your burgers well done.
  8. Once the burgers are done then let them rest for a few minutes before putting them in the burger bun.
  9. Serve in a toasted bun with sliced red onion and relish of your choice. Plain and simple but really tasty.

Herbs:

Fresh Herbs are something that I always have in my fridge and my garden, Don’t you?

Also, I want to show you that it is not time-consuming to give your food that little extra pizzaz…Food should be tempting, it should be fun and enjoyable as well as being good for you…and the occasional treat…Have it! Enjoy it! Safe in the knowledge that most of the time what you and your family are eating is good, healthy food… but never boring!

Some herbs you can grow at home and pick them fresh knowing that they are pesticide free. How satisfying is that???

They are also something that I sometimes forget that I have or keep meaning to use and end up throwing them away. Does the same thing happen in your house?

It is always those tender herbs like coriander, basil, mint, parsley or chives…The hardy herbs are the ones I always keep in the freezer.

Well, no more will I be throwing away my herbs I decided that I would use my herbs more or less immediately or do something with them.

I think herbs always lift an ordinary dish and make it a little bit more special for example, if you are having a salad just snip a few herbs and toss them in with your normal salad vegetables or if you fancy a salad and have no salad in the fridge then a salad made of freshly picked herbs from the garden or the hedgerow makes a refreshing change.
Freeze some chopped herbs in ice-cube trays and then all have to do is drop one or two into your cooking when herbs are needed.

Or make some lovely herb butter ideal for melting over your fish or dropping in a sauce.

Add mint leaves to that bowl of ice cream see how much more refreshing it is.

Half and Half:

Half and half known as single cream in the UK is a blend of whole milk and light cream it also cannot be whipped. It does, of course, have a higher fat content than ordinary milk but adds that touch of creaminess to sauces, coffee, ice cream bases, rice pudding, mashed potatoes it has many uses in the kitchen. It is, however, better to add at the end of your cooking as if you overheat it then it will curdle.

Hangtown Fry:

What an intriguing name? It is a type of omelette with the original and most common version being made of Oysters, bacon, and eggs which sounds like a wonderful combo to me. It was originally made famous in the Californian Gold Rush in the 1850’s there are also many tales surrounding this dish from prisoners on death row ordering one as there last meal knowing that the Oysters have to be shipped in; so many tales I am sure there is a book somewhere.

Hull:

Quite simply to hull means to remove the stems of fruit like strawberries without just slicing the top of which not only wastes some of the lovely fruit it spoils the look of the fruit.

Hotpot:

Originating from Lancashire in North West England it is made of lamb or mutton and onions topped with sliced potatoes and cooked slowly in the oven…

I have happy memories of my mums hotpot she used to use scrag of lamb and top the dish with potatoes which would soak up some of the lovely meat juices and be deliciously golden brown on top…

Hummus:homemade

Combine ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Tahini Paste with
  • 2 tbsp fresh Lemon Juice and blitz in food processor.
  • Add 2tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic,
  • ½ tsp ground Cumin and a
  • ½-1 tsp salt and blitz

To prepare

  1. Then add half of drained, rinsed can of chickpeas and again blitz 1-2 mins.
  2. Add the other half of Chick Peas and blitz again 1-2 mins.
  3. Put in a suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with Paprika.

Voila, it’s now ready to eat with Sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.
This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.

Haggis:

Haggis is traditionally served on Burns Night which is a Scottish Celebration of the famous Rabbie Burns a Scots poet. Made from sheep’s pluck ( heart, liver and lungs) which is minced and mixed with oatmeal, suet, onions, spice, salt and moistened with a rich stock it is then cooked in an animals stomach and served with neeps( swede/turnip) and tatties( potatoes) and of course a dram of Scotch Whisky to wash it down.

Hoisin Sauce:

Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir fries, or as dipping sauce. It is darkly-colored in appearance and sweet and salty in taste. Although regional variants exist, hoisin sauce usually includes soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers, and garlic.

Harvard Beets:

What are Harvard beets and how do they differ from normal pickled beets…? Harvard beets are coated in a warm sauce. The beets are pre-cooked for both preparations. Pickled beets are made with sugar, vinegar and pickling spices, and are served chilled. …

Harvard beets use sugar plus vinegar or lemon juice, but cornstarch or butter is then added to create a thick sauce.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter I.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘F’ for Figs, Finger limes, Flambe, Fenugreek, Fruit Pectin, Fugu


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome once again to Carols Cooking Column and today in my culinary trawl we have the Letter F. I am loving this series as I am discovering foods and cooking terms I didn’t know or didn’t think I knew so I hope you are too.

‘F’ for me was not as easy as some and not so many terms beginning with F although as I was writing I did think of some more it takes me a while sometimes…getting old…lol
Let’s kick off with this Culinary journey…

Falafel…

A deep-fried ball, doughnut or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans or a combination of both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food that most likely originated in Egypt. Usually served in a pitta bread, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon; Falafel balls may also be eaten alone, as a snack or served as part of an assortment of appetizers.

Fenugreek …

I use this spice in my Indian cooking so that was easy. But for centuries, fenugreek has been used by many for its health benefits as fenugreek is not only nutritious but can provide us with numerous health benefits.

Five-spice powder is also another spice familiar to me and one which I use in my kitchen.

Five-spice powder is a spice mixture of five or more spices which is used predominantly in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine and to a lesser degree in Asian and Arabic cookery. If you can’t buy 5 spice powder then it easy to make.

Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp. cinnamon powder
• 6-star anise
• 1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
• 1 1/2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns or black peppercorns
• 3/4 tsp. ground cloves.

Let’s Cook!

Dry roast all the ingredients ( optional) I do as it intensifies the flavour. Then blitz to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or small blender. It will store in an airtight container for 2 months.

Focaccia is one of my favourite loaves of bread. Focaccia is a flat, oven-baked Italian bread similar in style and texture to pizza dough. Popular throughout Italy it is usually just seasoned with olive oil and salt although tomatoes or olives can be used.

Fatback…

Is a cut of meat from a domestic pig. It consists of the layer of subcutaneous fat under the skin of the pigs back. Fatback is hard fat and may be rendered to make high-quality lard and is one source of salt pork.

Finely diced or coarsely ground fatback is an important ingredient in sausage making.

Fatback is also an important element of traditional charcuterie and in some European cultures is used to make speciality bacon.

At one time fatback was Italy’s basic cooking fat, especially in regions where olive trees are sparse or absent, but health concerns have reduced its popularity. However, it provides a rich, authentic flavour for the classic battuto – sautéed vegetables, herbs, and flavourings – that forms the basis of many traditional dishes. Today, pancetta is often used instead.

Finger Limes…

Are native to Australian and often referred to as Caviar fruit. have a slightly sour, slightly sweet flavour that makes for an extremely versatile citrus. Often referred to as vegan caviar or finger limes, each lime is filled with citrus pearls similar in appearance and texture to fish roe. There’s nothing fishy about the flavour. These pearls have a unique lime taste distinct in its sweetness that adds a pop of fun.

Fennel…

Fennel is a hardy, perennial herb which somehow just seems to be a natural fit with its surroundings. Fennel has a pale bulb and long green stalks. It can be grown almost anywhere. All parts of the fennel plant, including the bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds, are edible.

They add flavour to other foods and go especially well with fish.

A relative of the humble carrot it belongs to the Umbelliferae family. A lovely white or very pale green bulb which is crunchy, slightly sweet with an aniseedy/Liquorice flavour it is often associated with Italian cuisine.

I myself use fennel seeds a lot in my cooking but I do underuse the bulb and use it infrequently and not as often as I should.

Fish Sauce

I think it is a bit like marmite you either love it or hate it… I love it and use it in many of my dishes it has that sweet, salty, fishy, funky flavour made from fermented fish. small fish like anchovies are used to make fish sauce they are coated in salt and packed in barrels fermented for a couple of months to a few years… It is used all over Asia in many dishes and gives them that unique umani flavour.

Fugu…

Is a Japanese delicacy expensive and highly poisonous? Only licensed Fugo chefs are allowed to prepare this fish. they undergo 2/3 years of training as this fish is amongst the top 10 most dangerous foods and is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide… Why would you?

Flambe…

Is a cooking procedure where alcohol is added to a hot pan and causes a flame it always looks spectacular on cooking shows and in restaurants where something is cooked at your table.

Fruit Pectin: Found naturally in fruits with some fruits having higher levels than others. It can also be purchased in powder or liquid form. It makes jellies gel and jams to set and also gives them their spreading consistency.

Strawberry Jam.

• 1 kilo hulled strawberries
• 750g jam sugar
• juice 1 lemon
• small knob of butter (optional)

Let’s Cook!

  • Prepare the strawberries by wiping them with a piece of damp kitchen paper. (Wiping the strawberries rather than washing them ensures the fruit doesn’t absorb lots of water – too much water and the jam won’t set easily.)
  • To hull, the fruit, use a knife to cut a cone shape into the strawberry and remove the stem. Cut any large berries in half. Put the strawberries in a bowl and gently toss through the sugar.
  • Leave uncovered at room temperature for 12 hrs or overnight.
  • This process helps the sugar to dissolve, ensures the fruit doesn’t disintegrate too much and helps to keep its vibrant colour.
  • Before starting the jam, put 2 saucers in the freezer.
  • Tip the strawberry mixture into a preserving pan with the lemon juice.
  • Set over a low heat and cook very gently. If any sugar remains on the sides of the pan, dip a pastry brush in hot water and brush the sugar away.
  • When you can no longer feel any grains of sugar remaining, turn up the heat to start bubbling the jam and bringing it to the boil. (The sugar must be completely dissolved before increasing the heat, otherwise, it will be difficult for the jam to set, and it may contain crystallized lumps of sugar.)
  • Boil hard for 5-10 mins until the jam has reached 105C on a preserving or digital thermometer, then turn off the heat.
  • If you don’t have a thermometer, spoon a little jam onto one of the cold saucers. Leave for 30 secs, then push with your finger; if the jam wrinkles and doesn’t flood to fill the gap, it is ready
  • If not, turn the heat back on and boil for 2 mins more, then turn off the heat and do the wrinkle test again. Repeat until ready.
  • Use a spoon to skim any scum that has risen to the surface and discard this. Do this only once at the end, rather than constantly during the boiling stage, to reduce wastage. Add a knob of butter, if you like, to the finished jam, and stir in to melt.
  • This will help to dissolve any remaining scum that you haven’t managed to spoon off the top.
  • Leave the jam to settle for 15 mins – this will ensure that the fruit stays suspended in the mixture and doesn’t all float to the top of the jam jar.
  • Meanwhile, sterilize your jars.
  • Ladle into warm jars, filling to just below the rim.
  • Place a wax disc on top of the jam (this prevents mildew forming), then cover with a lid or a cellophane circle and elastic band. Pop on a label (include the date), plus a pretty fabric top, if you like. The jam can be stored for up to 1 year in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate after opening.

Figs…

There is nothing quite like the taste of a fresh fig…dried they are totally different, sweet with a chewy flesh and crunchy edible seeds. The fig tree has no blossom on its branches the blossoms are inside the fig. Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy edible seeds which give figs their unique texture.

They are sweet with a chewy flesh, smooth skin, and those crunchy seeds.

Did you know? Fig puree can replace the fat in baked goods? Well neither did I until quite recentl

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter G.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘E’ for Egg Plant, Escargot, Elephant Ears and many more Eezee recipes and foods


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome to my culinary tour of the alphabet it seems from the comments that you are enjoying it and for that, I thank you all…The letter E…I love this series as I have found much I didn’t or didn’t know I knew it has been no different while researching this letter.

Escargot... The French love their snails and cooked in garlic and white wine I can understand why …

It is a very popular mollusc there are some 200 snail farms in France although some are still gathered from the wild.

Elephants Ears... They grew in Phuket by the Rai in the field near our house and the river that runs alongside had massive ones some of those leaves reached 3 feet long and 2 feet wide and the plants can grow 8 feet tall.

The elephant ears thirst for water is why they are so prolific in soggy areas and they are also popular here not only for landscaping but also near water features they are quite an impressive plant.

The corms or roots are also to be found on every market stall it’s Taro.

Egg Threads...Are lightly beaten eggs which can be dropped in a soup for example or used to make an egg netting to enclose a filling…This recipe is for one of my favourite soups…

Egg drop soup

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 tbsp oil ( I use coconut)
• 3 spring onions
• 3/4 lb ripe tomatoes ( chopped and cored)
• 1 tsp salt
• 1-2 tbsp Fish Sauce
• 1/3 lb finely minced pork
• 1-2 chillies diced diagonally
• 2 eggs beaten
• 2 sprigs of coriander or dill
• 5 1/2 cups water
• Black Pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Add tomatoes and salt, cover and cook until soft about 4-6 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
  2. Add fish sauce and chillies….I would add I tbsp of fish sauce and taste and adjust seasoning before serving.
  3. Add the mince and move around to break up any big clumps.
  4. Add water, bring to boil and skim off any scum that arises.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes add spring onions and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. If you are not serving immediately then remove from heat and keep the lid on.

To Serve:

  1. Bring soup to simmer, Taste and adjust seasoning, fish sauce or salt.
  2. Pour beaten egg into a bowl in a wide circle; stir gently to break up into strings.
  3. Ladle soup into a bowl, add a generous sprinkling of pepper and garnish with Coriander or Dill.

Enjoy!

Escalope...Is a steak which is cut from the rib section of a cow it is boneless and has a thin layer of fat often known as the Faux Fillet.

Effiler...A French culinary term meaning to prepare green beans for cooking by breaking off the ends with the fingers, as close as possible to the tip and removing the strings. When applied to almonds and pistachio nuts effiler means to cut into the thin slices lengthways, either with a knife or with a special instrument. The word is also used for slicing chicken or duck breast.

Some chefs use the term effilocher, particularly for cutting leeks into fine shreds.

Egg Wash…Eggs are beaten and used to brush the top of pastry and pies before cooking.

Edam Cheese…I think we are all familiar with that cheese with red/orange wax coating around it and although I really love a strong-tasting cheese I do quite like this mild tasting cheese. Often used for appetizers or as a fondue

Egg Plant…Also called aubergines come in many colours and sizes and are used in many cuisines here in Thailand they are also eaten raw…A species of the nightshade family it is grown for its edible fruit. It is also called Brinjal in Southern Asia and South Africa. It is an ingredient used in Thai Green Curry and also used in Mousakka.

Enoki... Popular in Japanese cuisine these fine white mushrooms are called Golden Needle mushrooms by the Chinese…Used in soups and stir-fries they barely need but a few minutes as they don’t respond too well to heat…They also take on the flavour of what the oil has been used to cook before..so if you cooked bacon they will take on that flavour.

Espresso… Coffee served with water to drink after your first sip this then cleanses your palate…Created in ‘80s Soho, London, by cocktail legend Dick Bradsell, the story goes that a delightful young lady entered his bar and asked Dick to make her a drink that “wakes me up and then. Thus, a legend was born, office parties and “Crimbo” get-togethers the nation over were drinking Martini Espresso.

The Espresso Martini is a sumptuous mix of vodka, coffee liquor and espresso that gets people giggling with excitement at its mere mention.

It’s rich, indulgent and creamy, and the shot of espresso will make sure you keep up with the pack if you find yourself flagging.

Escabeche…A marinade to flavour and preserve meat and fish is the name for a number of dishes in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisines which can refer to a dish of fish or meat escabeche of chicken, rabbit or pork is common in Spain marinated and cooked in an acidic mixture (vinegar) and sometimes coloured with pimento (Spanish paprika) or saffron.

That’s all for my culinary trawl through the letter E… I do hope that you enjoyed the pos

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter F.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Health Column 2022 – The Obesity epidemic – Where in the Lifestyle can we Intervene? 7 – 14 -School Lunches – Sally Cronin


In Part Three  of this series I looked at children aged two to seven years old with the emphasis on activity to complement a freshly cooked varied diet and build strong bodies and an effective immune system. In my view this age group is key in the physical, mental and emotional health of a child and is the most effective time to prevent obesity.

The Obesity epidemic – Part Four– Finding a point to intervene in the life cycle – 7 – 14 – School Lunches

This is a time of enormous growth and development physically and mentally for a child and they need the best nutrition possible to achieve that healthily.

In next week’s post I am going to share what is needed for healthy brain development, but first a look at the lunchtime meal of the day that our school children are being provided in this age group, including packed lunches.

My experience of cooking for children is within this age group and with 110 students and 20 staff to cater for, three times a day. I had a great opportunity to not just influence their diet, but to see the results of an 80% fresh, cooked from scratch approach to the process.

Admittedly they were a captive study group since it was a boarding school and they ate all their meals there, rather than just a lunch. But, there was no obesity, and their diet was combined with sports and daily activities which were also supervised.

This was forty five years ago, but I believe the same formula is needed in schools today, boarding or day schools.

What is happening in the UK

In the UK the government has made an effort to promote healthy eating in schools and here is an extract from their official report that you can read in full: UK Government School Meals standards

“The government encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements.These school food standards are to ensure that food provided to pupils in school is nutritious and of high quality; to promote good nutritional health in all pupils; protect those who are nutritionally vulnerable and to promote good eating behaviour”

Most schools do provide healthy and varied meals for their students, and since 2008 there have been standards that have to be complied with that bans sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks and packaged snacks.

However, these standards do not apply to packed lunches brought to school by the students. In this report the number of children taking a packed lunch to school in the UK is quoted as 4 million, which is 5.5 billion packed lunches a year.

There are approximately 11 million school children in the UK with 4.5 million being in the primary school age group. Children up to 7 years old receive free lunches, with some other age groups eligible for free lunches too depending on their circumstances. With the number of packed lunches at 4 million this would leave in the region of only 3 million students in this 7-14 age group eating a cooked school dinner ..Daily Telegraph

  • An analysis of 1,300 packed lunches for children aged between eight and nine in schools across Britain was published online ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. All the children took a packed lunch to school on at least one day of the week, and almost nine out of 10 ate a packed lunch every day.
  • Sandwiches, sweets, savoury snacks and artificially sweetened drinks were the most common items found in lunch boxes.
  • Foods that would be allowed in schools meals were the least likely to be provided in lunch boxes with only one in ten children having sandwiches with vegetables in them and a further one in ten being given a portion of vegetables.
  • Contents of the lunch boxes were recorded before and after the meal so researchers could discover what foods the child ate and which they left.
  • The children were most likely to eat the confectionary and least likely to eat the fruit.
  • More than a quarter of children had a lunch box that contained sweets, savoury snacks such as crisps and a sugary drink.
  • Another quarter had a similar lunch box without a sugary drink and fewer than one in ten had lunch boxes with none of these items.
  • Less than half of the lunch boxes had foods with sufficient levels of vitamin A, folate, iron and zinc.

There are two key processes going on in the body of a boy and a girl in this age group. Brain development and a healthy reproductive system at puberty.

This is why, in my opinion, this 7 – 14 age period in a child’s life is the best time to intervene with regard to obesity. There are some other elements to consider, that I feel should be highlighted. NHS – Obesity and Costs

  • Nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer.
  • It is estimated that obesity is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year. On average, obesity deprives an individual of an extra 9 years of life, preventing many individuals from reaching retirement age. In the future, obesity could overtake tobacco smoking as the biggest cause of preventable death.
  • More broadly, obesity has a serious impact on economic development. The overall cost of obesity to wider society is estimated at £27 billion.
  • The UK-wide NHS costs attributable to overweight and obesity are projected to reach £9.7 billion by 2050, with wider costs to society estimated to reach £49.9 billion per year.

Currently the cost to the NHS is estimated at £5.5 billion for obesity related interventions, including hospital admissions, prescriptions and it is more if you take into account surgeries for joint replacements, heart disease etc related to obesity and lifestyle related issues.

The cost of a free school meal in the age group 4-7 years old is paid by the government at of between £2.30 and £2.80 and in a recent report in 2019, it was estimated it would cost £950 million to extend this to 11 years old. Which presumably means that extending it to 14 years old would add a further £712 million…Taking the annual commitment to providing a healthy lunch for all children within that age group to £1.6 Billion.

However, this investment in a free school lunch for all children, of £1.6 billion per year, would in my view significantly reduce the current £5 billion burden carried by the UK health service, and certainly the projected £9.7 Billion and the overall £49.9 Billion impact on the economy, by the time the current primary school children are parents to the next generation in 2050.

What else can we do to make a difference in schools to improve the obesity projections.

I make no bones about it, parents need to take responsibility for their child’s health and foods that they eat. And this point is highlighted by the fact that an estimated 1 million children are going to school each day with a packed lunch that is full of processed industrial snacks and too much sugar. And only 10% of children are being given healthy sandwiches or snacks.

That being said, there is no doubt that there are parents who are struggling to provide a healthy alternative to a school lunch especially with more than one child. The cost of living has risen since Covid and worldwide shortages of some staple foods such as wheat as a result of the war in the grain basket of Europe, the Ukraine. However, I do know from experience that eating a fresh produce diet, with some careful shopping around is not prohibitive. Also preparing in bulk and freezing portions saves time and making stews and casseroles with cheaper cuts of meat also make a difference.

Currently school dinner costs vary between £12.50 to £14.00 per week, so between £2.50 to £2.80 per lunch. If you have two or three children in the school system then this adds up and could be costing you £150 per month, which explains the 4 million children taking packed lunches. That figure is more or less in line with the £2.30 that the government is currently paying for each child on the free meals programme.

Whilst a growing number of schools make every effort to provide a nutritionally adequate lunch, including growing their own foods, this is not across the board. Unfortunately, looking at some of the images of the school dinners being provided, even though there are some basic standards that have been adhered to, there are appallingly nutrient deprived plates being served to children at the most important developmental stage of their lives.

A large part of the problem is that in certain areas, the food and choices is driven by cost not nutrition, and carbohydrate is the king on the plate using the cheapest options such as white bread, white rice and pasta.

Also healthy fats which are so important at this age are replaced with unhealthy margarine, cooking oils such as corn oil and there is insufficient fresh vegetables content on the plate.

Whilst Europe has a great deal less GMO crops, in certain countries, corn is the vegetable of choice both as an oil to cook with and to feed children and livestock. With at much as 95% being GMO and treated with Round Up weedkiller, it would not be my vegetable of choice for either child or livestock!

If the government funded free school lunches for all children, that would remove that financial burden and with some more efficient management of the system, improve the nutritional density of every child’s diet.

I believe that school meals should be partially sponsored by the main supermarkets as a community and a marketing project. I would estimate that nearly every school within the UK is within walking distance of a local major chain supermarket.

  1. They already buy fresh seasonal produce at cost that they could provide to schools at the same price.
  2. For example Tesco already donates to nominated charities each month in our area to the tune of thousands of pounds a year. Why not provide the equivalent in food to local schools?
  3. They could also provide healthy grains and fats such as butter and even perhaps milk so that all children get a glass at break time.
  4. They have in house bakeries with freshly made wholegrain bread.
  5. They have other products that are own brand such as seasonings, flour, teas, juices, etc. Although as a caterer you would be looking for a different pack size, they too do bulk buy packs of staples.
  6. They are influencing not just the parents to shop in their store, but also the next generation of customers.

All schools should have a domestic science class, which includes the basics of health nutrition from the age of 11. Basic cooking skills should be taught and main meals should be the focus with fresh produce (donated by the supermarket). Especially vegetables and other produce that is still edible but has been reduced to sell. There should be input from a qualified nutritional specialist in the lesson planning and content, as well as advising on the school lunches being served. It is hoped that most school districts already have someone in that role already, although the results do not necessarily support that.

The students should also be taught how to shop for food, budget and to plan a week’s menu. .

If the class is the last class of the morning, the meals can be served up at lunchtime alongside the other food offering variety or could be taken home to benefit the whole family.

By the time every child reaches 16 years old they should be able to shop, plan meals and cook healthy basics for themselves, that in itself will help prevent obesity in that age group and as they move forward in their lives.

Many schools, especially those in more rural locations, already have gardens where they grow some vegetables, herbs etc and some even have chickens. I would love to see that extended to all schools with every age group involved in tending the garden from seed to table. I am not sure about the school where they had a pig, and the children naturally became very attached, only to have it dispatched and served up for lunch! I agree children should understand where their food comes from and respect it as an essential food, but it should be well thought out.

Here is a link that you might find interesting if you are looking to encourage a school in your area to start a food growing programme in the London area: Garden Organic Education

Here is school garden in the Boston area.. courtesy of WGBH News

And another approach that I really like is the French school lunch system, prepared in a central kitchen in the school district under stringent health and safety regulations, and under the guidance of a nutritionist... I would love to see this in place in the UK in areas which are restricted on space and without their own cooking facilities. Courtesy of CBS

Next week I am going to focus on brain development and what foods should be included in a child of this age’s diet.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2022

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

 

As always I look forward to your comments and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – Baking Soda, Bananas, Broccoli, Butterflying food and cooking with a Bain Marie


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Hello from sunny Thailand …this is the next post of my Culinary tour through the alphabet.

Baking Soda – A leavening agent which is used as an essential ingredient in baking powder. When used alone as a leavener, recipes must include some type of acid to neutralize the resulting sodium carbonate in the finished product. Either Buttermilk, yoghurt, sour cream, and citrus juice are all adequate acids to use. You may also use baking soda to help neutralize the acid in recipes that call for large amounts of fruit.

Bananas…Living where I do Bananas are everywhere sold on every street corner and almost everyone has at least one Banana tree in their garden…Every single part of the banana is also used…The leaves are used to serve food on or used as wraps to steam food like rice or fish. The banana flowers are can be steamed and eaten…The banana flowers can be used in a stir fry. There are also more types of banana than I ever knew before I lived here…

Bananas can be used to make Bread, Smoothies, Shakes and Banana Koftas bread, smoothies shake even green Banana Koftas…

Barding... The practice of wrapping lean cuts of meat to be with thin slices of back fat. The converse of this is larding, in which long strips of fat are inserted into the cut of meat to keep it moist during cooking.

Beetroot...Comes in different colours it can be pickled, baked made into chutney…Beet greens Who throws them away or composts them…?

Here’s a tip:

When you’re washing and peeling the beets, and you trim off the green leafy tops, don’t toss them away! The greens and the stems are edible and make a great substitute for any green such as spinach, swiss chard, and bok choy. They can be steamed, sauteed, braised, added to soups, and eaten raw…

Bierre douce, A Louisiana Creole beer made from pineapple skins, sugar, rice and water. Who throws pineapple skin away? Tough on the outside and sweet on the inside, pineapples are a tasty tropical fruit packed with nutrients.

Bind, To thickening a sauce or hot liquid by stirring in ingredients such as roux, flour, butter, cornstarch, egg yolks, vegetable puree or cream.

Blanch, To partially cook vegetables by parboiling them in highly salted water then cooling quickly in ice water.

Bouquet Garni, A bundle of seasonings; bay leaf, thyme and parsley stems tied with leeks, carrot and celery stalk. It’s used to season braised foods and stocks.

Broth or stock, A liquid made by gently simmering meats, fish, or vegetables and/or their by-products, such as bones and trimming with herbs, in liquid, usually water. Broths usually have a higher proportion of meat to bones than stock.

Broccoli…Mini trees…

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips. These nutrition powerhouses supply loads of nutrients for few calories.

If you are trying to eat healthier, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli should be at the very top of your grocery list…

Bruschetta – Grilled slices of bread brushed with olive oil and fresh garlic. This was the original garlic bread.

Butterfly, To cut food down the centre without cutting all the way through to open and then spread it apart. Shrimp cut this way is popular and also enables the vein to be removed for food safety reasons.

Meat may be butterflied when cooking it well done so it isn’t burned during the process as if it remained thick.

Buttermilk – Originally a by-product of butter making, buttermilk is commercially produced by adding lactic acid culture to skimmed or partially skimmed milk.

Bain-Marie – Simply a water bath. It consists of placing a container of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savoury mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep foods warm.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter C.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – Almond Milk, Arrowroot, Aubergines dip #Thai and Avocado Guacamole.


Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Hello and today is the first post in the repeat of my culinary journey through the alphabet.  

The foods or recipes which I choose will all be made from scratch..from foods readily available and if they are not I will suggest substitutes…Some of the foods or recipes will also be alternatives to some standard foods either because it is what I prefer to use or to offer you a healthier option.

Today I have chosen to start with Almond Milk…

Why? Well, I know many people whether it is choice or because of health reasons are looking for alternatives to cows milk.

Before you make the Almond milk you must ensure that you do the following:

Very Important: First sprout the almonds to get rid of the enzyme inhibitors that impede digestion. To do this simply soak the almonds overnight in water, then in the morning let them dry on a plate.

When the almonds are dry you are ready to use them to make your almond milk…

Almond Milk.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw sprouted almonds
  • 1 cup pitted dates (use more or less to control desired sweetness)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1½ cup of raw coconut water

Let’s Cook!

  1. Blend all ingredients in a vita-mix or blender until thick and creamy.
  2. Line a fine strainer with a “nut milk” bag or cheesecloth and strain.
  3. Put your Almond milk in the refrigerator for several hours to cool and enjoy.

Arrowroot powder …is fast gaining in popularity in the western world as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch either because they have corn allergies/sensitivities or they want to avoid anything GMO and laden with pesticides.

A starchy substance which is extracted from the root of a tropical plant known as Maranta arundinacea which is cultivated to produce Arrowroot it is also known as Prayer Plant due to the way the leaves close at night they also when harvested look very similar to cassava or underground tubers.

Arrowroot, however, does not go through the same extraction process as cornflour by using high heat or harsh chemicals it is extracted using simpler traditional methods.

It is simply a white, powdery starch that is naturally gluten and grain-free. I used to use cornflour which has a slight taste and a cloudy appearance Arrowroot, on the other hand, is much better as it has no taste and leaves food glossy and clear…It is a great thickener and can easily replace cornstarch.

Arrowroot powder is also great mixed with dried herbs and used to coat chicken or fish before frying and produces lovely crisp and crunchy food.

Asparagus Pea or wing bean as I call them are pretty beans with four winged edges very unusual looking beans.

Winged beans are nutrient-rich and all parts of the plant are edible. Leaves can be eaten like spinach, flowers can be used in salads, the tubers can be eaten raw or cooked and the seeds used in similar ways to the soya bean.

Sliced and cooked with garlic, oyster sauce and a little magi (Thai) seasoning sauce they are delicious as a light meal with rice or as a side dish.

Simple and easy and quick to cook…

Aubergines nice just sliced, seasoned and put on an oiled baking sheet in a hot oven for 5-7 mins then brushed with a mixture of herbs of your choice and popped under the grill for 30 seconds. Serve immediately. Nice as an accompaniment to chicken or fish with a nice salad on a summers evening.

Fancy a quick dip for unexpected guests…

  • 2 aubergines
  • 100ml natural yoghurt
  • juice ½ lemon/lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Olive oil, to drizzle

Let’s Cook

  1. Char the aubergines over a flame or cook in the oven and remove the skin.
  2. Tip into a food processor with the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, chilli, coriander and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Blend until smooth tip into a bowl, and drizzle with more olive oil.
  4. For a chunkier dip, the aubergine, garlic and chilli can be chopped by hand and mixed with the other ingredients.

Enjoy!

Aubergine dip the Thai way.

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2-4 chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 med shallots
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Big handful coriander

Let’s Cook

  1. BBQ your eggplant, shallots, chilli and garlic the chilli and garlic will be done first, pop the chillies into a sealed plastic bag to cool it makes it easier to remove seeds and skin.
  2. When eggplant is soft then scoop out the flesh and add all the ingredients to your food processor or just a pestle and mortar like it is done here.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if required more fish sauce or lime juice.
  4. Serve with noodles or raw vegetables.

Lastly on my culinary trip through the letter A is the Avocado

Guacamole.

homemade guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 birds eye chilli finely chopped
  • 1 -3 tbsp fresh coriander
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Peel and roughly chop the avocado stir in the chopped onion, chilli, tomatoes and the coriander.
  2. Season the guacamole to taste with salt, black pepper, and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
  3. Cover bowl with clingfilm and chill before serving.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter B.

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

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

My thanks to Carol for creating this wonderful series and we hope that you have enjoyed. As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.