Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Family Favourites and Spices in action Part Two

This week over @ Sally’s I have shared the recipes which I make with the homemade spice mixes that I shared in last weeks cookery column. I hope you enjoy! Thank you, Sally, for allowing me once again to share my passion xxxx

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Last week I gave you recipes for mixes and spices that I always make but thinking about it, I wasn’t really very fair, as I didn’t give you my recipes that I made with the mixes did I?

This week I will be using my spices /mixes and giving you the recipes that again are ones we know and love here at home… Of course if you have recipes which you make using the mixes I shared then please share with us…Sally and I would love to know what you cook…

Green Sauce… A wonderful dressing for fish or chicken… made withtahini

Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp white miso
• 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 4 tsp Tahini
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp honey, preferably raw
• 2 cups cilantro leaves with tender stems

View original post 1,307 more words

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A “Smoked Watermelon” Roast! Incredibly Creative Cooking Recipe! Disguised Chinese Desserts Too!

Wow! This is just awesome…I would love to just try it…I continue to be amazed at the creativity of some chefs…Had to share 🙂

johnrieber

Ready To Have Your Mind Blown? Here Is Some Smoked Watermelon Roast!

A wildly creative new menu items has foodies around the world weighing in!

As reported by The Daily Mail:

A New York City restaurant has divided the internet after it unveiled a smoked ‘ham’ on the menu — which is actually made entirely out of watermelon.

Ducks Eatery, a smokehouse restaurant located in the East Village, caused a flurry on social media after it showed off its watermelon ham on Instagram.

To create the juicy ‘ham’, the eatery smokes the watermelon for eight hours, and then places it in a brine made of salt, ash, and spices for four days.

But that’s not all.

The watermelon is then smoked for another eight hours before it is placed in a pan with rosemary and the ‘meaty’ juices to solidify the taste.

When the watermelon is served to the table…

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Healthy Eating…No more diets…Eat yourself slim…

No more...Diets Healthy eating (4)

Welcome back … Before I say anything else I have kept a food diary this week incentivized by Sally’s little chart…I have had NO biscuits with my early morning cuppa and this is Day 9 PLUS I haven’t had any Haribos for 9 days either…

The result?? I have lost 4 lbs this week and that is eating normally and just cutting out those two pictured above… Have I missed them…

No, actually because I replaced them for 3 days with a custard Apple rather than making ice cream with them which was my original plan I decided to eat the fruit as it was and it was really nice…

Custard Apples

I will say I don’t eat anything I don’t like and if I am cutting down on something or cutting it out I do not replace it with anything like tasteless rice cakes or anything else which tastes like cardboard because THEY promote how good they are to help you lose weight…

I replace it with something else which is better and healthier but which I enjoy eating…

My second treat instead of haribos was 4 small ( just one bite) sized sun-dried tomatoes which I love and an inch square of feta cheese which I love with tomatoes.

Feta cheese seems to be a healthier choice. One ounce (28 grams) provides:

  • Calories: 74
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 1.1 grams
  • Riboflavin: 14% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 14% of the RDI
  • Sodium: 13% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 9% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B12: 8% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 5% of the RDI

It also has decent amounts of vitamins A and K, folate, pantothenic acid, iron and magnesium.

What’s more, feta is lower in fat and calories than aged cheeses like cheddar or parmesan.

One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar or parmesan contains more than 110 calories and 7 grams of fat, while 1 ounce of feta has only 74 calories and 6 grams of fat.

So the little square of feta I enjoy is doing me no harm and better for me than cheddar.

I still had my sundowner every night and lost 4 lbs... To me I didn’t go hungry I ate what I fancied just cut out those 2 biscuits a day and haribos and I am not talking a big bag as they do child sized little bags here with about 10 little teddies per bag but it is still processed and added sugar and colourings…

That little chart of Sally’s gave me a wake-up call which was well needed. If you missed last week here it is … Courtesy of Sally and if you missed her post then I have added the link below.

fat-accumulation-table SALLY

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/smorgasbord-health-column-health-in-the-new-obesity-research-fat-accumulation-table-by-sally-cronin/

I also printed off Sally’s food shopping list and worked through it vitamin by vitamin and chose the foods which provided that vitamin or protection and made my own list of what I should be buying.

Then I drilled it down that out of the 40 items I took from Sally’s shopping list I always bought 22 of those items, next I looked at what I do buy but less often and that equated to 13 items which either I could only buy when they were in season or foods which I just don’t eat as often not because I don’t like them just because they are not always available or I prefer something else. The remainder I either cannot get here or are very expensive to buy as imported goods.

But overall I think I eat a pretty varied diet I just need to exercise a little more… I have ordered my pedometer and am waiting for it to arrive and I also need to keep an eye on those processed foods a little more rigorously…

The bottom line for me…

No-diets-No-excuses

Who do you cheat??? Yourself!

But overall a good week …How was your week.?.. Did you keep a food diary? Was that little chart helpful? I am happy to print your story if you feel you have found the best way to eat for you and have some tips that you would love to share then please do…

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

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 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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Retired No One Told Me!..Weekly Roundup… It’s all about the Flavour…

Welcome to my weekly roundup …you know the procedure by now..comfy chair, a drink relax and enjoy!

lady relaxing kindle-1867751_1280

My first post week was one which bought back memories of a lovely holiday in Malta and their lovely National dish of rabbit stew which in turn made me remember my granddad and my uncle Ken…Both of who worked on the land and taught me much when growing up…The rabbits were mostly poached(shhh) and his ferret definitely not a pet but that is life and how it is…The rabbit stew, however, my mum and Nan used to make..I loved it!

Enjoy recipes and I think I will be making my first octopus dish as Jovina’s recipe sounds and looks glorious…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/cooking-the-mediterranean-island-countries/

Then it was my regular Tuesday No more Diets …Healthy Eating… I started keeping a food diary as I had decided no more biscuits with my morning cuppa…Day 6 and No biscuits I sent Lily home with the biscuits so as to avoid temptation…How did all this come about? I read the lovely Sally’s post and perused the chart she provided and was shocked that those two biscuits could have such an impact so I duly weighed myself and started my food diary…

The plan??? Keep the diary and weigh myself every Monday( no hopping on and off the scales)…Well…Today is Sunday and the lure of the scales just too much…4LBS… OFF!

 

You two are so dumped from my diet…

I will also be truthful and did dump the Haribos only little packets of jellies but nearly every night… 2 things and 4 LB in 6 days…

Thank you, Sally, for getting me refocused …Hugs! xxx

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/healthy-eatingno-more-dietseat-yourself-slim/

Wednesday is the day I can indulge my passion for cooking courtesy of Sally and this week it was my favourite recipes …The recipes I make the most instead of buying them…

Healthier, it saves me money…A no-brainer really and it takes less time to make them than it takes to get in the car, negotiate the traffic, find a car parking space and then queue at the till and you still have to drive home…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-cookery-and-food-column-with-carol-taylor-fajita-spice-tahini-peanut-butter-hummus/

Following on from Fruity Friday and the red Bananas I discovered along with some things I didn’t know …That all red bananas are not naturally red…The ones on the bunch are but not the pretty looking red bananas in a dessert…They are red because they are cooked in Lime water?? A trip to the local market with my daughter in law and we found the red paste…Spoiler Alert!

Small cooking bananas

Today I will be cooking the green bananas and turning them into a red dessert and all will be revealed on Friday…..

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/what-is-lime-water-nam-pboon-sai/

It was then the turn of one of my archived posts about the tradition of charcoal making down on the farm which the lovely Sally once again showcased for me …Such a generous lady is our Sal xxx

charcoal-pit

The tradition of making charcoal here in rural Thailand.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-travel-thailand-down-on-the-farm-making-charcoal-by-carol-taylor/

Date time…I should be so lucky as sung by Kylie… Stuffed with blue cheese they are a wonderous thing or wrapped in bacon… I love those beautiful patterned Tagines, don’t you???Fruity Friday Dates (1)

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/fruity-friday-dates/

Lastly …Are you still with me??? Do you need to take five, top up your cuppa ???

Lastly, I took you on a journey through the 5 tastes of  Thai cuisine the ingredients which make up those tastes of Spicy, Sour, Sweet, Salty and Bitter…

fresh cut limes-1239267_1280

How you don’t get a starter, main course and then a dessert here… Even in a restaurant that serves western food Thais don’t get the concept of individual courses as their food is about the whole meal and how the flavours compliment each other how if you have a hot curry you will get a mild but tasty soup and stir-fry…

Which is why a Thai recipe is a guide as chillies vary in heat, fish sauce can vary by brand, depending on the time of year the taste of limes vary which takes me back to what I always say to you TASTE and TASTE again build your flavours to suit your palate and then you may be able to say I can cook Thai Food …

It has taken me 10 years and I am still learning…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/08/04/thai-cooking-sweet-sour-spicy-salty-and-bitter/

I hope you have enjoyed this roundup if you have please share or pin to your favourite board or media…Thank you xxx

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

 

Thai Cooking…Sweet, Sour, Spicy, Salty and Bitter…

 

I think Thai food incorporates some of the best flavours in the world…Not laden with thick mayonnaise and cream which mask the taste of the other ingredients but lovely fresh food flavoured with herbs and spices which showcase the true essence of Thai food how the herbs and spices combine and as we all know who has cooked and eaten Thai food that the secret of a great dish is getting that right balance.

Thai cuisine is a marriage of old eastern and western influences combined in something which is uniquely Thai… a dish can be fiery and chilli hot or by comparison quite bland but there is always that balance that harmony which comes together to say this is Thai food at its best…

It is why I always say TASTE and TASTE again start with a little and add an ingredient(s) little by little… everyone has a preference to certain flavours …As you know I love chilli and fish sauce so maybe I use a little more than some who may prefer more lime for example …It is all about the TASTE…and Balance.

Sweet…

There are different types of sugar produced in Thailand from white and brown sugar, palm and coconut sugars.

Palm sugar comes from sugar palm tree or Palmyra while coconut sugar comes from the coconut palm.

Both sugars are produced from the sweet, watery sap that drips from cut flower buds. Palm sugar usually has a darker colour, a more fragrant smoky aroma and a more complex flavour than coconut sugar.

Palm and coconut sugars are usually used in curry dishes but considerably more in Thai desserts.

I use palm sugar mostly as it has a milder sweetness and goes well with foods which contain coconut milk…Coconut sugar has a more intense caramel-like flavour which I use when baking banana bread.

Dark, black soy although strong in taste and salty there is an element of a sweet molasses flavour… Used sparingly it enhances the taste of stir-fries.

Thai Basil has a sweet but strong aniseed flavour which I love and as I really love fresh herbs if a recipe says 2 sprigs I would use 4…I love Thai herbs…

Sour…

The sour flavour is predominant in Thai salads, soups, dips, and some drinks, usually, it comes from the tamarind which I love … lime juice,  fragrant Kaffir lime leaves, Lemongrass and white vinegar.

fresh cut limes-1239267_1280

Tamarind that brown fruit imparts such a lovely sour/sweet flavour I just love the tamarind eaten raw or soaked and the juice used in a recipe ..just love it!

Spicy…

Flavour usually comes from fresh and dried Thai chillies, black and white peppers, garlic, and ginger. This taste of Thai food, spicy, is seldom missed in Thai cooking. Level relatively differs from personal preference.

Thai chillies or birdseye as they are often called are used in many Thai dishes like Thai curries, in salads…green or red or just eaten raw…Yes, raw I don’t go that far unless it is in my salad but many Thais just eat the whole raw chilli quite often the men here in my house have a competition on who can eat the hottest raw chilli….I do not participate I love chilli in my food but why would I just want to chomp on a chilli ????

Chilli plant- hot- spicy- Thai chillies

White peppercorns are used here for heat quite extensively more so than black peppercorns which are mostly used in western dishes.

Garlic is also used frequently and added to the oil first before stir-frying quite often the garlic and the chillies are added first.

Fresh coriander has a very strong smell and taste and the leaves and the roots are used in many dishes or as a garnish.

Bitter…

The bitter flavour in Thai food does not often exist in most Thai dishes. However, the bitter flavour comes from a few kinds of vegetables and fruit which are believed to have a medicinal benefit.

The bitter gourd is commonly used in soups and stocks or in a dish called Khiewchanta…

Thai food-raw prawns-spicy-dip

Thai raw prawns with spicy dip

 

Which is made with uncooked prawns with a blow your head off chilli dip. It consists of very finely chopped white cabbage, finely sliced and halved…arranged round the edge of plate……..Fresh prawns, cleaned, deveined and soaked in Soda Water…..Fresh mint leaves and finely sliced garlic.

Salty…

Salty flavour usually comes from sea salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Fish sauce is considerably used in Thai cooking while different kind of soy sauces are mostly used for soups and stir-fry dishes and it may be used instead to one’s personal preference or for Thai vegetarian cooking.

Sea salt is more commonly used in Thai cooking as a preservative for fish and eggs or it is used to help grind other spices sometimes when making Thai pastes.

I am really lucky as I get my salt fresh as we live close to some salt flats …

Salt-farming-northern Thailand

Lighter soy sauces are also used to balance the salty flavours as is shrimp paste which has an incredibly pungent smell and is often dry roasted to develop the taste…Used in curries and fish dishes it actually tastes better than it smells …It took me a while to get used to this one …

Unlike western foods which are often served in courses a Thai meal is served all at once as the balance of spice, salt, sour and sweetness are not only considered in individual dishes but the meal as a whole it has to have balance.

For example, if you have a really hot curry then this would be balanced by a soup and a mild stir-fry. Thai cooking is instinctive the taste is learned by instinct as chillies can be hot or a little milder, your limes may be really juicy or not so which is why I say TASTE and TASTE again as a recipe for Thai food is a guide and cannot take into account individual ingredients which may vary…

I hope this has been helpful and you now have a better idea of the complexities of Thai cooking…

Connect to Carol( Moi)

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

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

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

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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