Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘U’ for Upside Down Cake, Udon Noodles, Ugli Fruit and Unleavened Bread


The A-Z of Food… A culinary tour through the alphabet which today stops and explores the letter U.

The Culinary Alphabet,The letter U, yes we are on the letter U.

Halloween is nearly upon us, the trees are changing color and what glorious colors we are seeing around the world. I love the changes of the seasons and Autumn is one of my favorites. At this moment in time, it is 104 nights of sleep which sounds a lot. The reality is before we know it, it will be Christmas Eve.

Without further ado. let’s look at the letter U – not so many this time although maybe as I write some more will spring to mind.

Udon Noodles.

Udon noodles are a type of thick, wheat flour noodles which are often used in Japanese cuisine…Often served hot in a noodle soup called Kake Udon which is a mildly flavoured broth made with soy sauce, dashi, and mirin then topped with spring (green) onions which is called kakejiru.

Image by yuri hwang from Pixabay

They are also used in stir fries or served cold with miso dip…cold noodles are very popular here just not for me there is something I don’t like about cold noodles…

Made with whole wheat flour they are quite filling and in moderation provide several nutrients, fibre and a healthy dose of carbs.

Ugli Fruit

A cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin! It is about the size of a grapefruit but it tastes a bit sweeter and has a wrinkly skin that peels easily. This funky fruit comes from Jamaica and is also grown in the USA – and it’s not that ugly! It can look a bit weird because its yellowy-green skin is thick, rough and puffy – and sometimes a bit blotchy!

Unleavened Bread.

Is bread made without using a raising agent? A simple bread that is easy to make.

Unsalted Butter

If you are a baker of pies and cakes recipes often state unsalted butter – why? As we often don’t know how much salt is in salted butter and a recipe also calls for a tsp of salt that ups the salt content of our bake. If you only have salted butter then just reduce the amount of added salt i.e half a tsp instead of a tsp full.

Salt is also a preservative which means salted butter keeps much longer whereas unsalted butter is fresher although it has a limited shelf life.

Uvas

The Spanish translation for grapes. The tendency to make single-variety wines, dominant in Spain for decades, has led to an increased interest in the identification and authenticity of native varieties. In accordance with current legislation, only those varieties that are found in the Spanish Registry of Commercial Grape Varieties can be cultivated in this country. In total, there are more than a hundred majority varieties grown in Spain, distributed throughout the country and present in the different Designations of Origin as authorized varieties. Eating 12 grapes (Uvas) at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain. Rare is the Spaniard who will risk poisoning their fate for the coming year by skipping the grapes, one for each stroke of midnight.

Upside down cake

This was the first cake my mother taught me to make. It always looks impressive and delicious. You can use fresh or tinned pineapple.

For the topping: Ingredients

• 4 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple rings in pineapple juice
• 8 to 10 maraschino cherries

For the cake: Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 8 tbsp(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 large eggs
• 9-inch round cake pan.

Let’s Bake!

  1. Heat the oven and prepare the pan. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round/square cake pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and sugar for the topping. Melt the butter and sugar in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently. The mixture is done when the sugar is bubbly and slightly browner.
  3. Pour the sugar mixture into the baking pan. Pour the sugar mixture into a prepared cake pan and spread into an even layer to cool slightly.
  4. Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries in the cake pan. Remove the pineapple rings from the can and reserve ½ cup of the juice. Set a single ring in the center of the pan, then arrange 6 to 7 rings around the center ring. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each ring and set the pan aside.
  5. Whisk together the dry cake ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  6. Cream the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer, then add the eggs. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat on medium speed until lightened and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until smooth, about 1 minute more.
  7. Add the flour mixture and pineapple juice in alternating batches. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the reserved ½ cup pineapple juice, in this order: Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add ½ of the pineapple juice, mixing until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add another ½ of the remaining flour and mix again for about 30 seconds, followed by the remaining pineapple juice and 30 seconds of mixing.
  8. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until completely smooth, about 1-minute total.
    Spread the batter over the fruit. The batter will be thick, so use a large spoon to dollop a large spoonful of the batter evenly over the fruit in the pan. Smooth the batter with an offset spatula, then tap the cake pan lightly on the counter to settle the batter.
  9. Bake the cake for 45 minutes. Bake the cake until dark golden-brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  10. Cool the cake for 10 minutes and then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the warm cake from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes (do not wait longer, or the cake will not come out of the pan). Invert a plate over the cake pan and, using kitchen towels or oven mitts to grasp onto both the plate and the cake pan, flip both the pan and the plate over so the pan now sits on top of the plate. Slowly lift the cake pan away. Serve the cake warm or cool before serving and storing.

Enjoy!

Unsaturated Fats

Tend to be liquid at room temperature.

Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can improve your health. Unsaturated fat comes from plants. It’s found in:

• vegetable oils
• olives
• nuts and seeds
• some fish

There are two main types of unsaturated fat:

Monounsaturated fats can help improve your cholesterol levels and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It may also help you control your insulin levels and blood sugar.

Foods that contain monounsaturated fats include:

• olive oil
• peanut oil
• canola oil
• avocados
• most nuts
• most seeds

Your body needs polyunsaturated fats to function. This type of fat helps with muscle movement and blood clotting. Since your body doesn’t make it, you have to get it in your diet.

Polyunsaturated fats can be further divided into two types: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may be beneficial to the heart.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in:

• fatty fish, such as sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring
• ground flax and flaxseed oil
• non-hydrogenated soybean oil
• safflower oil
• sunflower oil
• canola oil
• walnuts
• sunflower seeds
• chia seeds
• hemp seeds

Omega-6 fatty acids may also help protect against cardiovascular disease. But there’s a debate about the inflammatory role of omega-6’s. Most Americans consume more than enough of them.

Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in:

• safflower oil
• soybean oil
• sunflower oil
• walnut oil
• corn oil

Recent research reveals that there’s not enough evidence that saturated fat raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. But choosing polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fat can reduce the risk. That’s not the case if you replace saturated fat with sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Some oils may have more health benefits than others. Canola oil, although considered an unsaturated fat, is typically genetically modified and refined, bleached and deodorized. This process may cause negative health effects. Eating oils in moderation and varying your intake of types of oils is recommended. What are the recommended levels of fat intake?
People need fats, so you don’t have to do without them. But it’s clear you should eat saturated fat in moderation.

Umani

The word Umani is heard everywhere now. It is one of the 5 basic tastes in cookery. A savory taste that is found in broths and savory dishes. Escoffier, the legendary 19th-century French chef who invented veal stock, felt sure that a savory fifth taste was the secret of his success, but everyone was too busy gorging on his food to take much notice of his theories.

Fast forward to the 21st century and many cooks are delighted to finally see proof of what they had instinctively known. More recently, however, Bottura says that the discovery that parmesan is probably the most umami ingredient in western cookery has enhanced his appreciation and understanding of the dish. “Five textures, five temperatures and five levels of Umami.

Thank you so much for reading this and please as always let me have your thoughts as I love your comments…Next time the letter ‘V’…., Until next time be well and stay safe xxx

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 sharing this series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘M’ is for Mayonnaise, Mango, Mousse, Morels, Khao Neow Manuang and Marengo


Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.

Mayonnaise

There is nothing like homemade mayo once you have made it you will never buy a shop made one ever again.

Ingredients:

• 2 egg yolks
• 1 tsp of mustard
• 240 ml of good olive oil
• 1 tsp cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp of lemon or lime juice.

To prepare

Put the egg whites in a bowl with the Cider vinegar and blend gently until they are well mixed. With the blender still going slowly start to add the olive oil starting with just a drop and increasing to a steady stream as the mayo starts to thicken. Blend well until the mayo is your desired thickness and season to your taste.
How easy is that?

Mascarpone

A silky, slightly sweet Italian cheese made using only two ingredients whole cream and citrus which is why it is easy to make at home. Because of its high butter content, it spoils quickly so once opened it should be used quickly. It is made using no rennet so is suitable for vegetarians. It is used to make that traditional Italian dessert of Tiramisu, to thicken soups, it can be added to mac and cheese for a creamier sauce and makes a lovely dip when herbs are added.

Mango

Mango is one of my favorite fruits and sold everywhere here. It is used in smoothies, sold raw with a spicy dip. Served with coconut sticky rice it is an iconic Thai dish. It is also a very healthy fruit

Khao Neow Manuang ( Sticky Rice with Mango)

The rice is soaked in water for at least an hour and then just put in the rice basket and steamed this takes about 15 minutes.

To prepare the coconut milk:

  1. Heat 1 cup of coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and let the coconut milk simmer.
  2. DO NOT let it boil hard as coconut milk will curdle especially if it is not 100% as many imported coconut milks aren’t (unfortunately)
  3. Add 2tbsp of sugar and 2 pinches of salt.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Pour 3/4 of the hot coconut milk over 1 cup of the hot sticky rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. The hot sticky rice will absorb all the coconut milk. The rice should be a little mushy.
  6. Spoon the rest of the coconut milk on top of the rice when it is time to serve.

Enjoy!

Mango sauce for Chicken or fish.

Ingredients for the Mango Sauce:

• 2 fresh ripe mangos, fruit scooped out (or substitute 2 cups frozen or canned mango)
• 1 red chili, de-seeded and diced, or 1 tsp chili sauce or 1/2 tsp dried crushed chili
• 1 tbsp rice vinegar.
• 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• Juice of 1/2 lime
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 thumb-size piece ginger, sliced
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1/4 tsp turmeric
• 2 kaffir lime leaves, Take out the vein and roll and finely shred.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Place the 2 ripe mango cut into chunks, red chili, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and kaffir lime leaves in a food processor or blender. Blitz well, until more or less smooth.
  2. Taste the sauce.
  3. You should have a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Add more sugar if you find the sauce too sour (this will depend on the sweetness of your mangoes).
  4. If not spicy enough, add more chili. If not salty/flavourful enough, add more fish sauce.
  5. If too salty or too sweet, add more lime juice.
  6. Play with your flavours add a little at a time and keep tasting as you can always add more it is harder to adjust the balance if you have put too much of one thing in…Just keep tasting…
  7. Set to one side until ready to use…

Macerate

The Process of soaking fruit in liquid or sugar which softens the fruit and also adds flavor and sweetness. Strawberries are often just macerated in sugar which draws the liquid out and creates a syrup. It is quite a quick and easy way of elevating that special dessert. If you are using balsamic vinegar, citrus juice or alcohol such as Grand Marnier then add at the same time that you add the sugar.

Marengo.

A French cooking term which is used to describe a garnish often garlic, olives, mushrooms sauteed in Olive Oil and used to garnish Veal, Rabbit or Chicken dishes. There are a few theories as to where the name originated from and one such theory is that after one of Napoleon’s successful battles in the village of Marengo in June 1800 that his chef devised a dish, Chicken Marengo. Another such legend is that it was named after a village in Algeria which has since been renamed Hadjout.

Mirin

A type of rice wine used in Japanese cuisine similar to sake but it is lower in alcohol and higher in sugar. It has quite a strong flavor so it is used sparingly but it is used to sometimes mask a fishy smell and taste and is used in teriyaki sauce. There are three main types of mirin, hon mirin which has a high 14% alcohol and is classed as true mirin.The second is shio mirin which has low alcohol less than 1% so as to avoid tax. The third mirin is called Shin Mirin which means new and has the same low alcohol content but the same taste.

Miso

A traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soya beans, salt, and koji (a mould) starter. which is often mixed with barley or other grains and rice it is fermented for anything from 3 months to 3 years. Rich in essential minerals and vitamins it is also good for the gut. If you are watching your sodium intake it is high in sodium. It is a natural source of probiotics and if making a miso soup do not boil just heat gently or you will kill the good bacteria. Traditional Japanese miso made from soy is gluten-free other brands made from different grains may not be.

Miso also adds a unique burst of flavor to salad dressings, sauces, and marinades, baked tofu, or vegetable dishes.

Mirepoix

Diced vegetables cooked with butter, oil or other fat very slowly so as not to colour or brown the vegetables unless making a darker sauce but to release the sweetness. You will often see this as a challenge on cookery programmes as it demonstrates good knife skills to and the ability to dice evenly and with a uniform size. There are three sizes of Mirepoix and it is never eaten.

Molasses

To me I know molasses as Black Treacle to my American cousins it is called molasses. A dark, rich treacle which is used in rich fruit cakes, gingerbread or Christmas puddings. it is also used in baked beans. Made from Sugar cane which is mashed to create juice, and then boiled once to create cane syrup. …The good thing about blackstrap molasses is that it’s unlike refined sugar, which has zero nutritional value. Blackstrap molasses contain vital vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium.

Morel Mushrooms

With a short growing season and a strong almost nutty flavor, the Morel mushroom is highly prized by chefs around the world. Hard to find and difficult to grow commercially they often foraged for in the wild if foraging for mushrooms always be very, very careful and make sure any mushrooms that you forage are correctly identified before you cook or eat as there are mushrooms called false Morels which are poisonous.
They are part of the same family as the truffle although they couldn’t look more different the Morel has a honeycomb textured cap I think it is quite an attractive mushroom and often used by chefs as more of a garnish. They are also a very good source of minerals and Vitamin D.

Mexican Mole

A traditional Mexican sauce which is also Mexicos National dish …A sauce which is both sweet, spicy and fruity. Made with chorizo sausage, tomatoes, ancho chilies, pineapple, plantain, and dark chocolate. I love chilies and chocolate but haven’t cooked or tasted a mole sauce…Have you?

Mousse.

Can be sweet or savoury…Think a lovely, light chocolate mouse or a nice salmon mousse…Made with cream, eggs, and flavoring it is a wonderful thing… Lemon or raspberry being my favorites. It is also the name of a hair product…In the old French language, it means froth…

A lovely salmon mousse is also very nice on some toasted bread squares…

Ingredients:

• 4 oz smoked salmon
• 2 tbsp heavy cream
• 8 oz cream cheese
• 1/2 lime or lemon juiced
• 1/2 tsp dried dill
• salt and pepper to season.

To prepare

  1. Place smoked salmon in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
  2. Mix in heavy cream, cream cheese, juice of half of a lemon, dried dill weed, salt, and pepper.
  3. Blend to desired consistency.
  4. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe some toasted bread squares or crackers and top with salmon pieces or salmon roe alternately put in a medium serving dish, and garnish with salmon roe.

Enjoy!

I do hope you have enjoyed this walk through the letter ‘M’ next time it is the letter ‘N’, and I wonder what that will bring???

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 sharing this series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘H’ is for Honey, Hamburgers, Hummus, Herbs, Haggis and Hoisin Sauce


Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.

Welcome to this week’s Culinary trawl through the alphabet and it is 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.

That’s all for the letter H…I hope you have enjoyed this post…My thanks go to Sally for re-posting this series and for all of you who comment and share…Thank you xx

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  Amazon US

Connect to Carol

Blog: Carol Cooks 2
Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo
Facebook: Carol Taylor

My thanks to Carol for sharing this series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

 

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


Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.

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 the letter E…

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 post.

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 sharing this series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘C’ for Calabash, Cajun, Curry, Cloud Eggs, Chilli, and Calamari


Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.

The letter C in my journey through the culinary alphabet…I do hope you enjoy it I certainly am it is quite interesting especially now I know that Pork crackling something most of us love is number 6 in the top 100 of foods which are beneficial to your health…Lots of fat but good fat and plenty of vitamins ..so fill your boots… well not quite …Moderation is best but no need to go on a guilt trip it is ok to enjoy it now and again.

Californian Sheep’s head…

A saltwater fish which belongs to the wrasse family. The wrasses are a family, Labridae, of marine fish, many of which are brightly colored. The family is large and diverse, with over 600 species in 81 genera.

Also called fat head, and red head. Its meat is white, tender, and lean.

Calabash…

A variety of passion fruit native to Central America and the Caribbean. Shaped similar to an apple with a thin yellow-brown skin. In Southern cooking the term applies to breaded or battered fried fish.

Cajun…

Cooking influenced by southern U.S. and French cuisine. This is my favourite Cajun spice which is lovely on either fish or chicken.

Ingredients for the Cajun Spice Topping…

  •  2 tbsp. of dried oregano
  •  2 tbsp. garlic powder…
  •  2 tbsp. paprika
  •  2 tbsp. mineral or sea salt
  •  1 tbsp. black pepper
  •  1 tbsp. dried thyme
  •  1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  •  1 tbsp. onion powder
  •  1 tsp. Chilli flakes (optional)

Let’s Cook!

Mix all the dried ingredients together …I always add fresh garlic and chopped onion to mine so I make my mix excluding the onion and garlic and then when required I add the fresh ingredients…

Calamari…

To think that for the first 40 years of my life I hated Calamari having only ever sampled breaded rings which were akin to chewing on a car tyre if I chose to do so…Ha-ha…

My sons Thai wife introduced us to a Thai Squid Salad and we were hooked…squid so soft it melted in one’s mouth…It was one of the first authentic Thai dishes I had eaten and my love of Thai food was born. Thai Squid Salad

Cactus Paddle…

In the southwest and Mexico, the large, flat, fleshy, oval green pads of the nopal cactus are prepared as a vegetable. When cooked, pieces have the color and translucence of cooked bell pepper, but they are also viscid, like okra. The flavor is something between a bell pepper and artichoke or asparagus or okra.

Cabbage…

Cabbage can vary in color from green to red and purple, and the leaves can be smooth or crinkled.

Cabbages are prepared many different ways for eating; they can be pickled, fermented (for dishes such as sauerkraut), steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised or eaten raw. Cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and dietary fibre. World production of cabbage and other brassicas for 2017 was 71 million tonnes with China accounting for 47% of the world total.

Chillies…

Chili peppers are widely used in many cuisines as a spice to add heat to dishes. The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and related compounds known as capsaicinoids.

The heat of chillies is measured on what is called the scoville heat scale …The Carolina Reaper delivers an average of 2,189,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

As a comparison jalapeno peppers score between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU.

It was named the world’s hottest Chilli pepper by the Guinness World Records in 2018 it just retained its crown but is hotly contested…

There are some hot chillies here but nothing on that scale and these are hot babies …I don’t see how anyone can eat those and I love chillies.

Cloud Eggs…

And I thought Sunday mornings were for a lie in…Aston had other ideas and woke me with a bowl of meringue he was whipping… Time to get up then Nannie!

Cloud Eggs Aston style.

Ingredients: Serves One.

  • 2 egg white’s
  • 1 egg yolk
  • half a small onion chopped finely
  • 100 gm. pork mince
  • A tiny bit of black soy sauce
  • Half tbsp. oyster sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

  1. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl season with salt and black pepper. Whisk until soft peaks.
  2. Spoon onto a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray and make a hollow in the middle with a spoon. Drop the egg yolk in the hollow. Cook on 100 degrees for 7 mins.
  3. Meanwhile, chop your onion finely and start to cook in a little olive oil add your minced pork and cook for about 3 mins or until cooked…add a little dark soy and your oyster sauce…
  4. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Put on a plate and top with your cloud egg…

This was Aston’s recipe as he loves his meat so thought he would just do some mince and onions to go with the cloud egg…an experiment really as he is already thinking he will make some additions that next time…Chilli and some green beans…You could add some parmesan cheese to the egg whites or some finely chopped spring (green) onions and serve with bacon…

He has some imagination when it comes to food…But he is a 14-year-old with a passion for cooking…

Coconut…

I am sometimes flummoxed by what is a fruit, a nut or a seed or indeed a tree …Take the Papaya tree which grows in abundance here and also I will add grows very quickly …It has fruit with the same name as the tree but it is a PLANT …It has no branches and a soft stem with all the very large leaves at the top and can grow up to 10 metres high. It is, in fact, an herbaceous plant as the stem bears little wood and stays green and soft until it dies. But ask anyone here and they will call it a Papaya tree…

So what is a coconut? Botanically it is known as a one-seeded drupe otherwise known as a dry Drupe.

Where does that leave us? With a fruit a nut and a seed? Coconut is it a fruit, a nut or a seed?

Crackling…

Now I know that crackling is a healthy fat…It must be true because I read it somewhere…How to make the perfect pork crackling…Perfect Pork Crackling

Crumble…

There is nothing better than rhubarb or a gooseberry crumble with custard…It was always something my mother often cooked. I am also not a great fan of deconstructed dishes it seems all the chefs at the moment are doing this…However…You just knew that was coming didn’t you? I cook my crumble topping separately now…Please don’t tell my mum. The family all love it and you don’t get that but which is between the fruit and the crumble toping which is soft …I like a crispy crumble topping…It means I can also ring the changes and add some nuts, honey or maple syrup to the crumble it also looks pretty layered in a glass with the fruit…

Crumpets…

Crumpets are something which I have always loved and have happy memories of as a child toasting them over the fire or bonfire on guy Fawkes night…They were also a Sunday tea time treat with winkles and cockles in the winter… They were also the cause of one of my great cooking disasters when I made them for the first time here… I forgot how quickly yeast rises here…

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 cup of lukewarm milk.
  • 2 tbsp. of melted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. of instant yeast.
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt.

Let’s cook!

  1. Combine all the ingredients and beat for 2 minutes or use a mixer.
  2. Cover the bowl and rest for 1 hour.
  3. Near to the end of the hour preheat your griddle to 325 F or preheat a frying pan.
  4. N.B: But be careful a pan just gets hotter and it shouldn’t be as hot as when you cook pancakes.
  5. Lightly grease your pan or muffin rings.
  6. N.B: You can use well cleaned tuna cans as moulds, just make sure they are well cleaned and remover the top and the bottom.
  7. Pour the sticky batter into the ring, halfway up or a 1/4 of a cup.
  8. After 4 mins using tongs remove the rings. Cook 10 minutes on the first side until the top has lots of little bubbles.
  9. They will also start to look a little dry around the edges. They probably won’t be as full of holes as store bought ones.
  10. Turn crumpets over and cook for another 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from the griddle and repeat with rest of the mixture.
  12. Serve warm with lots of butter and or jam. Or cool and wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.
  13. To reheat put in the toaster and enjoy with butter and or jam.

Curry Plant…

This is my pretty little curry plant in flower… Curry leaves are an herb, and they are not related to curry powder. Curry leaves are a part of the same family as citrus fruits. Their glossy green leaves are very aromatic, and they have a unique flavor all their own. There is a citrus element, along with something else that’s hard to put your finger on—some say asafetida and others anise…

I have had my curry plants now for about 5 years and use the leaves when I cook Indian food or make my spice mixes…I am gradually getting little stock of recipes which will be in my cook book…

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 D.

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 sharing this new series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.