Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Cook from Scratch – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – Almond Milk, Arrowroot, Aubergines dip #Thai and Avocado Guacamole.


Welcome to a new 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.

Hello from sunny Thailand …today is the first post of my Culinary tour 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: @TheRealCarolT
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.