Category Archives: Cooking from scratch

Retired No One Told Me!… Weekly Roundup…Green Chicken, Smoked Watermelon and little known Thai Fruits

Weekly roundup 11 Aug

Welcome to my weekly roundup of posts by now you should know the drill comfy chair, favourite drink, relax and prepare to have a great read…

lady relaxing kindle-1867751_1280

The first post of the week was Green chicken a really lovely stir fry with coriander, mint, spinach and green chillies and the result is awesome with some lovely flatbread and an Indian pickle it is really lovely…

Green-chicken-spinach

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/spicy-chicken-with-spinach/

Next, it was the really good news that after a week of no biscuits( and ) I still haven’t had one or any haribos I lost 4 LB…Week 2 and I am still keeping my food diary it is certainly keeping me focussed and that little chart of Sally’s and the shopping list has really focussed me …If you haven’t already check out the links and you will find some great sensible advice.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/healthy-eatingno-more-dietseat-yourself-slim-2/

I then read a post from fellow blogger John Reiber and it was about roasted watermelon a fascinating post and I would definitely try it not saying I would like it but who knows …Have you heard of this dish? Have you tried it???

It would certainly mess with your taste buds…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/a-smoked-watermelon-roast-incredibly-creative-cooking-recipe-disguised-chinese-desserts-too/

Wednesday already and time for part two of my cookery column over at Sally’s …Last week I gave you the sauce mixes and spices so this week I gave you the recipes …

chicken satay

This is one of my favourite Thai starters nice and fresh…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-family-favourites-and-spices-in-action-part-two/

Thursday and my blog hopping continued I was over at Esme’s Salon for my monthly post on the Culinary Alphabet and this week it was the letter G…Obviously, there was garlic, ginger and galangal to see what else I had for you then pop over and have a read.

cauliflower cheese

https://esmesalon.com/the-culinary-alphabet-this-month-it-is-the-letter-g/

It then was time to get a bit more serious and you have or do suffer from anaemia then you will know what I mean …Sally always offers good sound advice on how we can use our diets to help build up our immune system to keep us healthy.

smorgasbord Health Column

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/smorgasbord-health-column-the-cardiovascular-system-and-the-components-of-blood-anaemia/

Lastly, it was Fruity Friday where I showcased some unusual Thai Fruits like the Matum Fruit, Thai cherries which look very much like cherry tomatoes but not in taste also the Mangosteen Fruit which I think you may find outside of Thailand and the Gac Fruit also some lovely recipes… I do hope you will enjoy learning about some of the fruits I  enjoy here in Thailand.

thai cherries 1

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/fruity-friday-thai-fruits/

Well that’s it that concludes my weekly roundup …Until next time thank you for reading.

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you  for reading this weekly roundup I do hope you enjoyed it until next time stay safe, laugh a lot and enjoy your weekend  xxx

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Fruity Friday…Thai Fruits…

Fruity Friday Thai Fruit

Fruity Friday and today I am going to post about fruit which is common or uncommon to find where we live here in Thailand…..

The first fruit, in particular, is a  fruit that is not a common fruit and quite rare.

With its prickly outer shell which is NOT edible this fruit grows on climbing vines. Going from green to a dark orange when it is ripe this fruit has a short season of only 2 months from December to January. It is quite a rare fruit and found on local markets in Southern Thailand. It is the soft pulp surrounding the edible seeds which you eat. The seeds are not only edible but used in traditional Chinese medicines.

It is used to treat eye conditions, burns, skin problems and wounds.

The juice makes a healthy drink which is said to be good for the eyes, immunity, skin and heart health.

The taste is a cross between a tomato and a ripe papaya it is also commonly called the Gac fruit.

Its other names are  Chanbada Fruit or spiny bitter gourd.

Today the Gac fruit extracts are used in very popular skin care supplements around the world.

Rich in antioxidants and beta-carotene it is said to contain 70 times more than in tomatoes or zeaxanthin.

It has the highest concentration of beta-carotene than any other known fruit or vegetable as much as 10 times more than the carrot.

Once in the body, it converts to Vitamin A and is said to have a variety of protective properties.

Due to the fruits magnificent orange hue, it is often grown as an ornamental plant.

It is also used to make a delicious deep fried sweet cooked in coconut batter. You will only find this sweet in the south of Thailand as the fruit is quite rare which also makes it expensive. It also tends to be found in local gardens and not really grown commercially.

Its brilliant orange colour is very attractive and it is also cooked in  Khao Soi( Sticky Rice) flavoured with cinnamon and served at New Year Celebrations and weddings.

Gac fruit

Image Credit: James Morris a friend who has given me a free licence to use this picture.

Thank you, James 🙂

The next fruit is:-

The Matum fruit which has a very hard shell and you wouldn’t want one dropped on your head from a great height.

It comes from a gum bearing mid-sized subtropical fruit tree. It has many other names such as golden apple, Indian quince, and holy fruit. It is said to have many medicinal benefits.

The fruits medicinal purposes are very high when the fruit has just ripened. It has a high tannin content which makes it suitable for the treatment of cholera and dysentery.

A hot poultice of the fruit leaves are said to be an effective treatment for various inflammations, a leaf decoction is also used as an aid for asthma.

The root, leaves, and bark are also effective when used on a snakebite.

More often than not the fruit is sliced, dried and a thirst quenching tea can be made by steeping the dried slices in hot water, it is a very popular drink in Thailand.

The fragrant flesh is also eaten with Keow Neow…sticky rice. The young leaves and shoots are eaten as a vegetable here in Thailand and used to season food in Indonesia.

It is also a prototype of today’s Orange.

matum tree

Images: My own.

The Mangosteen Garcinia Mangostana has a very hard outer shell and is a widely eaten and available fruit here in Thailand.

When open it is similar with its segments to an Orange. It has a thick outer skin which is about 1/4 of an inch thick. If picked straight from the tree it is easier to open because as the fruit ages it dries and loses water thus the outer shell quickly hardens.

Keeping it in a bag in the fridge slows down the moisture loss.

It grows naturally in South East Asia and is known for its sweet peachy tasting flesh. Its seeds are bitter and should not be eaten.

When young ..freshly picked from the tree the seeds are white but turn brown as the fruit ages so it is a good indication of how fresh your Mangosteen is.

To open the fruit using a thin sharp serrated knife carefully cut around the circumference of the fruit. Then twist to open.

mangosteen-showing cut fruit half

Warning: Be very careful not to cut yourself as the shell is very hard which may cause the knife to slip.

Low in calories and high in fibre with a high Potassium content the Mangosteen also has healthy amounts of manganese and magnesium which is good for intestinal health.

It is known as one of the 5 not so typical fruits noted for its life-changing potential. Scientists believe that an antioxidant in Mangosteen can cause cell death in cancer.

But as with everything we consume moderation is key. Its high fructose levels can be harmful to humans.

Thai-style Mangosteen Clafoutis recipe:

  • 5 fresh Mangosteen opened and segmented( leave seeds in)
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus 1 tbsp.
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup rice flour ( all purpose flour) can be used.
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk.
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp grated lime/lemon zest.
  • 1tsp of vanilla and coconut essences.
  • Icing sugar to finish when serving.

Let’s Cook!

Pre-heat oven to 350F.generously grease a 1 1/2 qt casserole dish or you can use individual ramekins.

Prepare Mangosteen by removing from the outer shell and dividing into segments(leave the stone in)

Toss the fruit with 1 tsp cornflour and 1 tbsp of sugar. Arrange the fruit in the bottom of the dish/dishes.

In a large bowl or food processor whisk eggs with salt and sugar. Then whisk in flour. Add coconut milk, lime zest, vanilla and coconut essences and whisk to blend together.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish/dishes, the fruit may float but that ok.

Place dish in the oven, if using ramekins they need to be placed in a tin/dish containing water which goes 1/3 way up the Ramekins.

Bake for 55-60 minutes until the middles are set and the top is lightly browned.

Serve warm with a light dusting of icing sugar with ice cream or whipped cream.

Warning: Advise guests to be aware that there are stones in the fruit.

Enjoy!

Thai Cherry and pickled Thai cherries 

thai cherries 1

The Thai cherry or mountain cherries as they are also called are found in East Asia, South Asia and South East Asia. They are from the family Rosaceae and the genus Prunus.

To me, they also look very much like a tomato but there the resemblance ends

The name in Thai is naang pha yaa suea khrong which translated means Tiger Queen. It sounds so pretty, doesn’t it?… I love some of the Thai translations.

Trees flower in autumn and winter and produce a yellow fruit which turns red as it ripens.

The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked as can the seed of the cherry.

This recipe is for pickled cherries. 

  • 6 cups of pitted and washed cherries.
  • 1 lime
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass crushed
  • 4 pieces of dried ginger( galangal)
  • 10 dried birds eye chillies
  • 2 cups of  white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar.

Either one large mason jar which holds 4 cups or 2 smaller jars sterilised.

Zest your lime and add to a mason jar with lemongrass, ginger and chillies.

Put both kinds of vinegar, sugar and juice of the lime into a pan and on a medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved when the vinegar is warm add the cherries and cook for 4 minutes.

With a slotted spoon put the cherries into the jar, then strain the vinegar and pour over the cherries any remaining vinegar put in a clean bottle and use for salad dressings or marinades.

Seal the jar and leave for 4-6 weeks to allow the flavours to develop.

Enjoy!

Further information on the uses of the bark and leaves.

Gum is obtained from the bark and chewed also the juice from the bark if applied externally to the back is said to give some relief from the pain of a backache.

Both the fruit and leaves also produce a green dye.

The seeds are used in the production of necklaces by the ethnic tribes in Northern Thailand.

This tree has hard, strong aromatic wood which is glossy and the branches are used for walking sticks.

A little warning: 

This fruit belongs to a genus where most if not all its members produce hydrogen cyanide which is a poison which gives an almond taste to their characteristic flavour.

The toxin which is found mainly in the leaves and the seeds is easily detected by its bitter taste. The quantity is too small to do any harm but a very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten.

On the plus side in small quantities, it has been proved to stimulate respiration and improve digestion. It is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer.

Which brings me to what I always say ..moderation is key and as always  I can’t say it enough ” check” what you are eating before you eat it if it is unknown and you have just picked it because it looks pretty and because you have heard you can use other flowers. Not all flowers are edible.

Please always check and stay safe.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about some of the fruits which we have here in Thailand if you have and you think any of your friends would love to read about them then please share on your favourite social media or to Pinterest.

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you  for reading until next time stay safe, laugh a lot and enjoy your weekend  xxx

 

 

 

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The Culinary Alphabet …The Letter G

Carol Cook!Culinary Alphabet G

This week it is time for my monthly post over at Esme’s Salon where she very kindly lets me loose once a month this month it is the letter G of the culinary alphabet, of course, we have the obvious but I hope there is just even one that you hadn’t heard of there was for me…Which one do you think it was ??

Starting my Culinary journey with two ingredients which I use on almost a daily basis starting with my ginger tea first thing in the morning.

Ginger and Galangal are both used frequently in Thai cuisine and indeed the culinary world. The difference visually is quite apparent Galangal has that lovely pinkish hue when it is freshly dug up.

Ginger is a soft brown colour a comparison could be the peacock and the peahen..in my mind..haha

ginger-1738098_1920

 

Galangal or as it is also known Thai ginger is used in many dishes ..it can only be sliced it does not grate well it is also an integral part of the ingredients in Thai Tom Yum Goon Soup.

Ginger you can grate or dice finely, it is used in fish dishes here or with Scallops it is a lovely thing.

Both members of the rhizome family..turmeric and cardamon also being relatives of ginger which has a softer taste than the citrusy Galangal.

Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits. Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.

Ginger Beer… my mum used to make it and I have memories of the corks popping out while it was fermenting in her pantry. She used to feed the root and then pass half on to a friend a bit like we pass on our sough dough or kombucha. I keep saying I am going to start a ginger beer plant as I have happy memories and love a drink of ginger beer.

The true Ginger Beer Plant dates back to around the 1700’s and is not actually a plant at all, instead it is a living organism. This organism forms a gelatinous cluster which moves about within its jar naturally, and used correctly can allow you to make a lifetime’s supply of authentic, naturally fizzy alcoholic Ginger Beer that used to be commonplace in most UK households.

Many recipes now use yeast and I have seen some with sultanas in but they are not true ginger beer plants this recipe is my mum’s. Wash and peel the root first and my mum used tap water but not knowing what is in today’s tap water I would suggest filtered water or mineral water.

Dice a tbsp of the freshly cleaned ginger root into small cubes and place this into a sterilized jam jar three-quarters full of filtered or mineral water.

Add two tsp of white sugar.

Cover the top of the jar with some muslin to allow the air to circulate but protect from foreign bodies or insects falling into the jar.

Leave the jar in an exposed place at room temperature, e.g. a kitchen shelf.

Every day for about a week you need to add two tsp of sugar and two tsp of freshly diced and peeled ginger root.

If after one week the mixture is frothy with a pleasant odour it is ready to use. If it is mouldy discard it and start at the beginning again.

I do suspect it may be the water which is a problem on occasions as my mum didn’t often have that problem. 

Garlic…

garlic-618400_1920

Garlic has been used for several thousands of years a common seasoning used by most people it is also hailed as having numerous health benefits.

Garlic one of my most purchased foods and one I use daily it is also lovely pickled… If you coat the cloves with olive oil and roast them in the oven until they are soft they can then be squeezed and made into a dip.

The Koreans heat the heads of garlic for several weeks and the sweet and syrupy result is sold as black garlic.

Now, who doesn’t love garlic bread and I claim to make the best garlic bread… Garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini all made with garlic are just wonderful…

Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic and if used as a substitute for fresh garlic 1/8 tsp is equivalent to approx 1 clove of garlic.

The garlic leaves are used in cooking here and in many parts of Asia… Cut, cleaned and then stir-fried with eggs, fish, meat or vegetables…they are very nice.

Gribiche… a sauce originating in France made with hardboiled eggs and capers but is it a sauce? A vinaigrette, a mayonnaise or a condiment it seems to get labelled around the world of cuisine as any of those and has evolved over the years as many recipes have …I think I much prefer the original.

Guacamole…first developed by the Aztecs it is a popular dish of Mexican origins and also made all over the world now as an appetizer or side to spicy dishes.

 

Ingredients:

  • I avocado
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 finely chopped shallot or green onion…I prefer shallots
  • I  birds eye chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of fresh coriander
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • Lime juice

Let’s Cook!

Peel and roughly chop the avocado stir in the chopped onion, chilli, tomatoes and the coriander. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and a generous squeeze of lime juice.

Cover bowl with cling film and chill before chill before serving.

Goosefat… Make for the best roast potatoes and it also has a high smoke point. It has also been known as that “old white magic” and used for generations in Europe. Once so prized in France only the aristocracy had permission to eat it… milder than duck fat it has a distinct flavour  and adds a quality of any of your dishes  very versatile you can confit, sauté, bake, roast, baste, pan fry, deep fry and stew and is still widely used in French cuisine.

Gratin… Who doesn’t love a cauliflower cheese or other vegetables coated in a cheese sauce? The meaning is a dish topped with lightly browned bread crumbs or cheese.

 

Garam Masala… I make all my own spices and this is no exception easy to make and it means spices rotate quicker so they are always fresher which one reason why I make my own spice mixes and also it is cost effective and they contain no fillers and nasties like sore bought mixes.

Some ask the question is it the same as curry powder? The answer no…Curry powder contains many of the same ingredients, for example, fenugreek and cumin along with other spices however garam masala consists entirely of pungent spices and has a stronger flavourMasala chettinad spice powder

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamon pods green
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 piece of mace.

Let’s Cook!

Dry roast all your spices individually until warm and fragrant. Leave to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder …I have a little coffee grinder which I use to grind my spices and it works really well prior to that I used a pestle and mortar which is hard work but brilliant as an arm toner.

Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months as the spice will start to lose its potency …If you use a lot of gamma masala then just double or treble the quantities.

Green Papaya… One of my favourites and used all the time here to make Som Tam ( Papaya Salad) I also use them to make mango chutney as although I love Thai food I also love Indian food.

Papaya on tree

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/08/18/papaya-salad-one-of-thailands-iconic-dishes/

I hope you have enjoyed this walk through some of the culinary ingredients beginning with G and tune in next month for my culinary journey and the letter  H…, Of course, I can immediately think of a couple of spicy culinary ingredients beginning with H…Can You???

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Until next time thank you for reading  have fun, stay safe and be mindful xxx

Spicy chicken with spinach

This recipe for green chicken is one I have had and made a few times and I am not sure who gave me the recipe … got it initially written on a scrap of paper and the ingredients were vague to say the very least…But it was tasty and I didn’t think it would be…

My version of Green chicken with spinach.

Green-chicken-spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of chicken pieces cut up fairly small.
  • 4/5 cloves of garlic
  • A piece of fresh ginger chopped finely
  • A bunch of green onions chopped
  • Handful  of Coriander
  • Handful of Mint
  • 2 bunches of spinach
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 2/3 green chillies

Let’s cook!

Add a tbsp of ghee or oil to a pan while it is heating crush the chillies and the ginger in a pestle and mortar and add to the oil cook for about a minute stirring as we don’t want to burn the garlic add the onions and allow to sweat but not colour too much about 3-4 minutes..Add the chicken and pepper, stir and lower the heat until the chicken is golden in colour.

Clean and wilt the spinach the spinach for 1-2 mins and set aside.

Once the chicken is golden add the spinach and cook for a further 10-15 mins add the coriander and mint in the last 3 mins stir to combine. Check and add salt if required.

 

Serve with flatbread or steamed rice and pickle.

I hope you enjoy this chicken as much as we did it is now a family favourite

My flatbread recipe:

Ingredients:

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

Let’s Cook!

Make flatbread.

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.

flat-bread-uncooked-esy-recipe

My first attempt at this was not good and I didn’t roll mine out thin enough to start with but having made this recipe a few times I am getting good …I even add some chopped garlic and coriander which is really nice and next Time I may stuff them …I will let you know how they turn out…

Heat pan and cook 2/3 minutes each side turn over with tongs or fish slice and done…

So easy to make I make enough for what I need plus enough to freeze for the next time I make a curry…

Enjoy!

 

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Until next time have fun, stay safe and be mindful xxx

 

 

 

 

Fruity Friday…Dates

 

Fruity Friday Dates (1)

Welcome to Fruity Fridays and this week it is a date…No, not that kind the sweet delicious dates that pair wonderfully with bacon or blue cheese or add that touch of sweetness to a Moroccan Tagine.

I do have as pictured above a date palm in my garden but dates don’t fare well here they like hot, dry temperatures not hot and humid.

The dates that are on my tree are picked while young and unripe and we take them to Lily’s other grandmother who loves them…so they don’t go to waste as the village ladies like them unripe but unripe the texture in your mouth is like when you eat banana peel but a lot drier and sour and not something that I like to eat but each to their own it wouldn’t do for us all to be alike, however, she also loves it when we take her fully ripe dates  as a treat.

Dates are probably one of the only naturally dehydrated fruits they are also fat-free, saturated fat-free, cholesterol free, sodium free and a great source of fibre.

Dates have been a staple food in the Middle East for thousands of years and many people still offer dates at each meal as a sign of hospitality or as an accompaniment to unsweetened tea or coffee.

When I was a child the only time we had dates were at Christmas they were a treat but dates now are used as appetisers wrapped in bacon the saltiness of the bacon is a good foil for the sweetness of the dates also stuffed with blue cheese they are a lovely thing and very moreish and are seen on many a buffet table.

dates rolled in bacon-2327534_1280

Date and walnut loaf or bread is also quite nice a little sweet for me and I remember my dad loving a sticky date pudding with custard.

Sticky Date and Walnut Pudding.

  • 1 cup dried pitted dates chopped
  • 4 tbsp low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup  margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2  eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger if using fresh ginger chop/grate finely.
  • 1/2 cup walnuts toasted and roughly chopped.

Let’s Cook!

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 1 litre (1 quart) pudding basin lined with a disc of parchment paper.

Place the dates in a bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons milk. Stir to coat, then leave to soak.

Place the margarine, sugar, eggs and remaining milk in a bowl. Sift over the flour, cinnamon and ginger, and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth. Fold in the soaked dates and walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin. Set the basin in a baking pan and pour in boiling water to come 1 cm up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan and basin with a tent of foil.

Bake for about 1 hour or until the pudding has lightly risen and a skewer comes out clean. If not, bake a further 10 minutes.

Turn the sticky date and walnut pudding onto a serving plate.

Serve with custard which is how my mum always served it although now many make sauces with fruit like an orange sauce  I think with this custard is all you need.

ENJOY!

Dates in Morocco, for example, are added to savoury dishes like a tagine …I just love how ornate some of these tagines are and the food which cooks in one of those is always just amazing.

Lamb Tagine with Dates.

morocco- date tagine 2290936_1280

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • half sm cauliflower cut into florets.
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2kg boneless lamb  shoulder, cut into 5cm chunks
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp each paprika  and ground coriander
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 850ml passata
  • 700g sweet potato, cut into chunks
  • 350g pitted date
  • Some slivered almonds and some coriander for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan. Add the onions, then gently fry until softened, about 5 mins.

Stir in the ginger, add the meat in batches, then fry on all sides until lightly coloured. Return all the meat to the pan, stir in the spices and cinnamon sticks, then cook for 1 min.

Add the passata and 800ml water, then bring to the boil, stirring. Season well, then cover and simmer for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is tender.

Add the sweet potatoes and vegetables, stir well, cover again, then cook for 20 mins or until the potatoes are just tender.

Stir in the dates and heat through for 5 mins. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

To serve, spoon the tagine into a serving dish and scatter with the almonds and coriander.

N.B. As with all tagines or stews, you can add any vegetables i.e carrots, sweet corn, courgettes whatever you have that needs using.

Lastly, this little stuffing is a match made in heaven…

stuffed pork loin-386802_640

Date and bacon stuffing.

  • slices bacon, chopped
  • stalks celery, finely chopped
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4cup snipped pitted whole dates
  • tbsp snipped fresh thyme
  • clove garlic, minced
  • cups dry cubes sourdough bread
  • 1 – 1 1/3cups vegetable or chicken broth

Let’s Cook!

In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of drippings. Add celery and onion to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in dates, thyme, and garlic.

In a large bowl combine bread cubes, date mixture, and bacon. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, stirring to combine.

You can then cook the stuffing and serve as an accompaniment or use to stuff a piece of loin as I have done we love pork loin with stuffing.

To stuff, the pork loin either cut a pocket and stuff or cut the loin but not right through put the stuffing down the middle and roll and tie with string.

This recipe is for stuffed pork loin but with a different stuffing but more detailed on how to stuff a pork loin if you are a beginner.

You can then wrap the loin in bacon if desired.

I hope you have enjoyed this post on the Date …Have you a favourite recipe which you make using dates? If so please share it with us.

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you so much for reading this I hope you have a lovely weekend …xxx

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor #Fajita Spice, #Tahini #Peanut Butter #Hummus

Today is Wednesday and the day for my cookery column over at Sally’s…This week I am showcasing some of my favourites… go to spice mixes and butters ones which I make regularly as they are family favourites…I hope you enjoy 🙂 xx

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Carol Cook’s …My favourite spice mixes.

Welcome to this week’s Cookery column …This week I thought I would share with you some of my go to recipes ones which I make on a regular basis. My staples really I suppose ones, which I make quite often as they are family favourites.

As you know I mostly cook from scratch and it is something I have always done. Now more than ever as there are so many additives in products on the shelf.

Much of the time I either can’t get what I want here, or as it is imported, it is silly prices, but also because of all the negative articles about processed and manufactured food stuff.  I prefer to make my own as I know what it contains …So much now is laden with added sugars and preservatives that it is quite scary, and also increasing evidence that many…

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Healthy Eating…No more diets…Eat yourself slim…

No more...Diets Healthy eating (3)

Welcome …It is that time the week when we talk healthy eating or I talk healthy eating… For the past few weeks, I have read many interesting posts and e-mails ..Those e-mails… Is anyone else getting more junk mail??? Keep to the point Carol!

One of the common themes in those e-mails and posts are that those Hidden Added Sugars…Yep, I am going to say it…They creep into everything and are changing our taste buds… We are craving more processed foods which are BAD for us…Those sneaky manufacturers are still winning all the way to the bank.

What am I doing about that? Well for starters I am going to make sure that you are all aware of what is going on in the food industry and it is not getting any better.

I have noticed that a few pounds have crept on and I don’t like it!

Starting from yesterday and I have to admit I was prompted by a post from Sally over @ Smorgasbord health and the little chart and great advice she produced …

Now before I start… I will say I don’t count calories and don’t believe you should be on a perpetual diet your whole life but I do believe we should know that what you eat has consequences for both me and you, our health and lifestyle. 

I only eat 2 meals a day and follow an 80/20% rule and I walk.

BUT

Reading through the chart ALTHOUGH much did not apply to me…Some did …It shocked me and tied in with what I have been reading about added sugars.

So this illustration is a one-off really as I don’t count calories as you know.

Those 2 digestive biscuits I was having with my early morning cuppa equated to 150 calories so in 1 week 1,050 calories in 1 year 54,600 calories which equals 16 lbs of FAT and a 7.3-kilo weight increase…Over 5 years that could be a whole small person…

I started keeping a food diary yesterday and at the end of the week, I will be looking at what I ate and deciding what I am changing and how I am going to respond.

I do walk but lately because of the extreme heat and rain I have missed a few days here and there.

That is going to change I am going to research a step thingy so I know if I am doing at least 1 mile a day ( I think I am) BUT if I am totally honest something has caused those few pounds to creep on…

It doesn’t just happen…Does it??? So for me…

No-diets-No-excuses

Who do you cheat??? Yourself!

A few missed days of walking, sometimes 3 digestive biscuits, a sundowner or two every night, I have no excuses I am in charge of what I eat and how much I exercise… I only cheat myself …My scales don’t lie …

I am visiting that International shopping isle once too often methinks when I go shopping …

Here is a link to some free pedometer apps which will track your steps for a fitter, healthier you… I am going to try one or buy something which will record my steps for me…Black and white doesn’t lie, does it?

Yesterday I also read an interesting post on our immune system and what happens after we eat that chicken sandwich...To say it was an eye opener and I have read plenty of that this last week but it has, in turn, it made me so much more focused again…

All this Healthy eating is not just about losing weight but it is about looking after the only body we have or will get…

Sally also published a shopping list of nutrients and what foods we should eat to get that protection through our immune system … I went through the list and made a shopping list from each section of what I do buy and what I don’t buy as often…Some I don’t buy ever, however, it is not that kind of list it is multi-choice and some I only brought maybe one or two of the choices and others most of it… I was pleasantly surprised …

But that isn’t true really as we do eat healthily and a lot of vegetables and not very much processed foods…However, I need to do that bit more. I am healthy and don’t have any real health issues but I am backsliding and I got the kick up the bum I needed this week…

I gave it to myself as I am quite good at that…So Food diary it is this week and having a good look at what I am eating .. I even weighed my portion today and I never, ever do that…because I cook I have a good eye and many things I judge by that eye and sometimes double-check myself and I must say I am pretty accurate but I just wanted to see what I was serving myself ..

I hope you do read the links and let me know if you are keeping a food diary and how it worked out …It is really easy to do the calculation yourself as I will do at the end of the week and make my chart…

Thank you so much for reading this post and if you have found this helpful and know some of your friends and family will then please hit your share buttons …Thank you xxx

Connect to Carol( Moi)

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Thank you  for reading until next time stay safe, laugh a lot and keep that food dairy do it as a family and discuss your findings as a family they will thank you for setting them on a healthy eating path  x