Welcome to the Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor who lives in Thailand and infuses the spices of her adopted home into her recipes for all the family.
How to add fuss free flavor to your food.
To make delicious family food you don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy ingredients which cost a fortune. Most of us have access to a whole range of simple herbs, spices and aromatics which we can use to accentuate and bring maximum flavor to food.
I will tell you how to match the seasoning to the ingredient without spending a fortune…
It could be a stuffing, glazing, infusing, dry rubbing or marinating and viola it takes that simple dish to another level…
Making a bouquet Garni…
Is one of the simplest and easiest things to make…It is a classic flavouring for soups, stews and casseroles. All you need is a piece of string or a muslin square…and some herbs…Just tie together a bay leaf and a sprig of parsley and thyme or enclose in a muslin or cheesecloth square…You may also come across recipes which include rosemary, chervil, basil, tarragon and or peppercorns.
The Bouquet Garni is added at the beginning of the cooking and removed at the end…
Flavours for meat or poultry…
Flavour can be added to meat or poultry by using a dry rub, marinades or sticky glazes…so easy to introduce a bit more flavour…
If you marinade tougher cuts of meat it also helps to tenderize the meat.
A simple Cajun spice rub consists of a tsp/5ml of dried thyme, oregano, finely crushed black peppercorns, salt, crushed cumin seeds and hot paprika pepper mixed together.Just rub the spice into the raw meat or poultry then bake or BBQ until cooked.
This one is a favourite rub and again so easy just…
Combine 1 tbsp water and 2 tsp instant espresso powder in a small bowl, stirring until espresso dissolves. Stir in 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp olive oil, and ¼ tsp salt.
Time to get those fingers mucky…Rub the mix into your pork or chicken then bake or BBQ until cooked…ENJOY!
To Marinate red meat such as beef, pork or lamb…
Thanks to a successful marketing campaign by the pork industry, we almost reflexively think of pork as “the other white meat.” Technically, pork is still classified as red meat because it is a livestock product, like beef, lamb, and veal and all livestock are classed as red meat.
For us you can’t beat a good olive oil, lots of garlic and bruised fresh rosemary sprigs…Just add the meat and turn to coat the meat…Cover and chill for at least two hours or overnight before cooking in your normal way…
I always prefer to marinate my meat in a bag as it is easy to turn…
We love pork fillet and my favourite marinade is…Mix together…
• 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped or crushed
• 12 juniper berries crushed
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds crushed
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
I cook mine in the oven and then make gravy from the juices…
This glaze is suitable for chicken or pork…
• 3 tbsp each of Dijon mustard clear honey and demerara sugar.
• ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• Salt and ground black pepper
Cook under a grill or BBQ and brush with the glaze throughout…
For Fish…You can either stuff the cavity of a whole fish with herbs or coat a fillet of fish…These e all add a fresh flavor to fish and don’t over power the delicate flavor.
For fish or shellfish use lemon, lime, parsley, dill, fennel, lemongrass, Thai basil, bay leaves. Chillies…Stuffed steamed fish is very popular here…
For shellfish like mussels …..which are very popular here lots of crushed lemongrass, basil and chillies are used….For the recipe https://carolcooks2.com/2017/11/10/fish-friday-beautiful-thai-steamed-mussels/
To flavor rice and grains like couscous…
Adding herbs, spices and aromatics can help perk up rice and grains subtle flavours and add some colour. Always choose flavourings which compliment the dish the rice or grain will be served with.
To add some fragrance to rice which is served with Asian style stir fries and braised dishes add a whole star anise, cumin seeds or a few cardamom pods to a pan of rice before cooking. The rice will absorb the flavor during cooking.
I also sometimes add stock instead of water to flavor my rice which is a favourite with cumin seeds and some onion in this house…It is something my sister passed on to me from her Iraqi mother in law …
For a zesty rice or couscous heat a little chopped tarragon and grated lemon rind in olive oil or melted butter then drizzle over the freshly cooked rice or couscous.
To make an herby rice or couscous fork plenty of chopped fresh parsley or watercress through cooked rice or grains and drizzle with a little oil before serving.
Watercress Rice…with Orange Pork
• 1 1/2 cups of rice
• 1 ¼ lb Pork tenderloin cut into cubes
• 3 cups of coarsely chopped watercress reserving a few sprigs for garnish.
• 4-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 3 tbsp of oil
• 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 2/3 cup Orange marmalade
• A ½ cup of finely julienned ginger
• Salt and pepper to season
- Cook the rice and toss in the watercress with ½ to 1 tbsp oil, cover and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes.
- Season the pork and with the pan on medium heat add the oil and add half of the ginger and cook until the ginger is golden, drain and set to one side.
- Add the pork and brown for 3-4 minutes and then remove from the pan.
- Add the remainder of the ginger and the garlic and cook for 30 seconds add the marmalade, fish sauce and lime juice bring to a slow rolling boil stirring until it is syrupy then return the pork to the pan simmer for 1 minute and serve over the rice.
- Garnish with the crispy ginger and watercress sprigs.
To add flavour to vegetables…Most fresh vegetables have a subtle flavour which when steaming or stir frying adding light flavourings is best…For example is you are steaming vegetables add a couple of bruised lemon grass stalks to the steaming water or a few kaffir lime leaves alternately add these aromatics under the vegetables in the steamer and steam until the vegetables are just tender.
When stir frying vegetables add a splash no more than a tsp of sesame oil just before the end of cooking…
Naturally sweet vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips are lovely roasted… the taste can be enhanced by using honey and mustard as a glaze or maple syrup.
I hope these have given you some ideas how you can enhance the flavour of your dishes quite simply and easily using herbs and spices…
©Carol Taylor 2019
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE
Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes: https://carolcooks2.com/
My thanks to Carol for all her efforts to bring great cookery and healthy options into our diets and I know she would love your feedback. thanks Sally